The Ocean City Nor’easters and Oaklyn United FC have announced a partnership between the clubs that sees Oaklyn United FC of the Eastern Premier Soccer League become an official development team for the Nor’easters.
The Nor’easters are one of the winningest and most storied clubs in American grassroots soccer history. Founded in 1996, the Nor’easters count more than 110 professional players in their alumni ranks including 33 MLS draft picks. Currently competing in USL League Two, they remain a divisional powerhouse, winning the Mid-Atlantic Division title in 2022 with an undefeated 11-0-3 record.
Oaklyn United FC is a grassroots community soccer club based in Camden County, N.J. with a player footprint that spans the greater Philadelphia area. Founded in 2018 as a recreational team, the club has become the area’s fastest growing lower-league organization and now competes in the Eastern Premier Soccer League (EPSL).
Thanks to this partnership, Oaklyn United’s EPSL team will serve as a place for players to continue to build their skillset under the guidance of premium coaches including Nor’easters head coach Matt Perrella and assistant coach Cam Christine, who will take up those same titles with Oaklyn. Oaklyn United founder Alex Lewis will remain manager of the EPSL team.
The partnership is already paying off; just last week, Perrella led the Nor’easters to a statement victory over perennial powerhouse West Chester United in the first round of the 2023 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Included in Ocean City’s match day roster were several players who also feature weekly in Oaklyn’s EPSL team. Oaklyn United goalkeeper Brady Hochman was one of the stars of the night with a standout performance in goal.
Leaders at both organizations noted the possibilities this partnership creates for players to reach higher levels of the sport via the Oaklyn-Nor’easters development pipeline:
“The Nor’easters are the most prominent and successful pre-professional club in New Jersey; players deserve access to our brand and the opportunity to showcase themselves,” said Perrella. “Youth clubs in New Jersey should feel confident that their best players have a great club to send their older players to with a serious track record of proven success in getting players into the professional ranks.”
“We’re incredibly proud to make this partnership official, and even more grateful to Giancarlo, Matt, and everyone at the Nor’easters,” said Lewis. “We’ve always wanted Oaklyn to become the ‘bridge’ to the elite level for players from a wide range of backgrounds. Thanks to this partnership, it’s mission accomplished.”
This connection offers a pathway for players to develop in the American soccer lower league landscape. Fans can keep an eye on some key players while Oaklyn United play in EPSL this spring and Ocean City play in USL2 this summer.