Testimonial From Matthew Brown
September 2, 2013
This is just a short note to say 'Thank You" for everything you've done for Matthew and for us.
Your dedication to our boys, not only with soccer, but with their studies and their development into young men of integrity, discipline and diligence has been exemplary and we have been beneficiaries of that dedication.
We were proud to take Matt to school and to see his dorm and the campus of Spring Arbor University. The Winstar Soccer program, your direction and coaching staff, has made it possible for Matt to experience this next level of education and soccer. Winstar definitely prepared him to succeed.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making Matt’s dream of playing soccer and studying at an American university possible.
We know that Matt will keep you updated on his progress, and don’t be surprised if you see us drop by to see the Winstars boys practice.
Deane, Veon & Matthew Brown
October 21, 2012
You operate a first class academy program.
Congratulations to all the athletes and their scholastic achievements!
Testimonial From Anthony Shaw
October 17, 2012
My name is Anthony Shaw and I am a former Oakville Winstars team member. I recently read the testimonials written by players who played for coach Bob Graham from 93-96. I myself went to Wright State University, graduated lived and coached in the United States and recently moved back to Burlington. It would be my honor to add a testimonial to the impact that Bob Graham and the Oakville Winstars has made in my life.
Testimonial From Tony Tapia
May 27, 2011
I am sure this a big surprise to you and actually this is an email long overdue. I have always wanted to speak with you or send you an email, but I have let life take me for a ride and sometimes I don't pause to talk to people and thank people like you. I have never forgotten what you did for me back in the days, almost around 15 years ago. You gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing in the States. And, you didn't do it once, but twice...if you remember I ended up transferring from UNLV to Winthrop University thanks to you. My life took on an incredible turn of events from the moment I went to Winthrop University, I went through a difficult period with an injury which never allowed me to play professionally. However, after my time in Winthrop I came all the way over here to Valencia, Spain where I am writing to you from. May I tell you nowadays I am still playing at the amateur lever in Spain and building my own soccer club, and basically just trying to teach morals, values and building character through the sport I love.
May I tell that you that my family has always been so grateful for what you did for me and have never forgotten either. I have told so many people over here my life story and they think its absolutely incredible that opportunity to play in the States. I will never forget my experience, I met so many close friends that are still my friends today and I met people that actually changed my life. Honestly, I'm not very good at expressing my feelings, but sincerely thank you so much for believing in me, having confidence in me and giving me that chance. Please forgive me for letting so many years go by...I didn't forget, its just that sometimes we go down some tough roads and just rather be alone and isolated for some time. I'll be in Toronto in late July early August if you have time to have a drink.
I am really happy to see that you're still doing with others what you did with us. There was a big group of my generation that you helped get to the States and I'm glad to see that you are still working at it and helping others.
Really would like to see you when I get into town in the summer so give me a number that I can contact you.
Take care. God bless.
ps - here are a couple of links to my club
Testimonial From Riccardo Forno
I am very proud of Riccardo, having coached him and his brother and become very good friends of his family, it is very special and humbling to see him now as a Lawyer. I was able to help him receive a full scholarship at George Washington University, which is a wonderful university and he was able to earn his BBA, 2003, magna cum laude. Please see below, a wee testimonial he did for our academy and for me.
Academy Director - Bobby Graham
January 24, 2010
It was great seeing you again during the showcase tournament. It amazes me to see that you still have the same drive and passion regarding your kids and their opportunities as you did 10 years ago when you were preparing us for tournaments and showcases. I remember not always being happy about the way you conducted things and about how much commitment you demanded from us players, however, I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am that I was able to be coached by you for those important years leading up to college. The lessons you taught me and the discipline you instilled in us as a team was an important part of my success at The George Washington University and continues to be an important part of my success as a working professional. The 4 years I spent at The George Washington University were truly the best years of my life and it set the stage for me to be able to achieve my professional aspirations.
During my interviews with various law firms the fact that I went on a soccer scholarship was something that each law firm placed great value on and it was the focal point of every interview I had. At the time going on scholarship was an athletic aspiration, however, I had no idea how much emphasis employers place on hiring student-athletes. For this I have you and Jimmy to thank.
Bob, I thank you again for providing such great opportunities to me and for allowing me to achieve my dream of playing soccer in the US. I have never forgotten what you did for me and my family and will always be grateful to you for helping me with regards to my scholarship. I wish you all the best in the future with your academy and look forward to seeing you again!
The George Washington University, BBA, 2003, magna cum laude
University of Ottawa, LLB, 2008
Riccardo Forno has a general corporate commercial law practice with a focus on private equity and venture capital transactions, corporate governance and securities matters.
Riccardo joined Bennett Jones after summering and articling with the firm.
Testimonial From John Vrablic Former Player with the Oakville Soccer Club
January 11, 2011
It has been great to catch up with you after so many years. I have fond memories of playing for you. I wanted to thank you for the time you spent coaching me and what I learned from your coaching helped me to accomplish playing for the Canadian Youth National team at the u-16 and u-19 level!
We had a great team back than, I think we had 2 or 3 players from that team that played on the National team level! I miss those days of playing as a young boy and riding around in your mini! I myself now have 5 boys of my own that are on there way to become good players as well. I am also coaching for my boys and helping out in my local community and am enjoying reliving the passion of youth soccer through my coaching.
I am also learning that one of the biggest things to teach as a coach goes beyond soccer and to teach the boys how to be a good person, responsible, a good sportsman which were all things I remember vividly you taught me.
Thanks Bobby and good luck with your Academy. We will have to get our respective teams together at some point to play each other. Maybe I can have a team enter the Robbie this year?
John Vrablic in 1984
Tax, Investment/Insurance, Pension and Succession Planning For Reps
4618 Bellerive Way
Avon OH 44011
September 26, 2010
How are you doing? Just wanted to touch base with you to see how you were doing. I was going down memory lane the other day, after I put on my old Oakville shorts while I was at home doing some things around the house. So I decided to look you up and there you were, inspiring young men and helping them reach their potentials in both soccer and life.
Man those were some good times that we had playing for you. Not only did it provide an incredible opportunity and open the door to really let our talents take us anywhere we were willing to go, but it also taught us many things to be successful away from the field. But best of all, it brought us some ever lasting friendships. Even thought I was from 3 hrs away, you made it work for me and you saw something in me and believed in me, and I appreciate that very much.
My youth was like a dream to any kid who loves the game of soccer and again I thank you, and really admire that after so many years you still have the passion and dedication to help other kids like me out there who are trying to reach their goals.
And that is only the beginning, because after I played for you and made it to my first goal of getting a scholarship, the best 4 year of my life followed playing for the University of Louisville. It is an amazing experience playing in the NCAA Division 1, and I would do it again in a heart beat. And even after that, when I went on to a trial to an English 1st division team (Grimsby Town Football Club), that was really my dream coming true.
Now Bob, I know that you are a modest man and would say that it was my hard work and my talent that got me there, but without you I know that my life would have turned out very differently and I would not be sitting here today, with the amazing memories of all the incredible experiences the wonderful game has brought me.
I never really got a chance to say this to you, but I always felt it and it was time. Hopefully someday, we can meet for a drink somewhere and have a chat, it would be nice to see you again. From the bottom of my heart thank you!!!!
Take care Bob!!!
September 25, 2010
Hope you are doing well. I was just thinking about you and wanted to send you a quick message.
I am playing for the Montreal Impact now and got signed about 3 months ago. I am doing well and everyone likes me here, I have been working my butt off. I am feeling good and playing well.
I just wanted to still thank you for starting my soccer career for me and giving me the chance to fulfill my dream of becoming an true professional player. No one thought I could do it but you gave me the chance and I have much appreciation for you.
I have attached some pictures and when I get back I will come talk to your boys again and come to some practices.
Technical Director - FC Dallas
Bobby Graham is, without doubt, one of the foremost pre-eminent youth soccer ambassadors Ontario has produced. His commitment to the development of youth soccer in Canada is second to none. I can think of no one, in America or Canada, who has assisted more players in progressing to the Collegiate and Professional ranks.
For over 25 years, Bobby Graham has provided numerous, incredible opportunities for countless Canadian youngsters to showcase their talents at the best soccer events throughout the USA. The sheer number of former players who can trace their academic-athletic opportunities back to Bobby Graham run organizations is testimony to the man’s “Midas” touch. The truly remarkable success rate his programs have achieved throughout the years, both on and off the field, is an indication of the excellent high standards he expects, creates and maintains.
The Winstars Soccer Academy is an outgrowth of that desire for excellence. It is a professionally run organization where it is clearly evident, “they are on the right track and have ‘bottled’ something special.” On the coaching side, they are extremely well organized while constantly preparing and coaching players in a meaningful, competitive environment. On the academic side they are, in my mind, the leading source for soccer scholarship information and advice in Canada.
In my former role, as the Head Coach of Penn State University Men's Soccer Program for 22 years, I got to know Bobby Graham very well and am delighted to count on him as a valued and trusted friend. We share a similar vision of the “beautiful game,” but more importantly, a strong core value in how best to monitor the growth and development of aspiring young soccer players.
Without question, I would recommend the Winstars Soccer Academy to any serious student-athletes and their parents as a worthwhile, positive career/life changing investment. I look forward to continuing to stay in touch with Bobby Graham and enhancing my professional relationship with the Winstars Soccer Academy.
Technical Director - FC Dallas
Former Head Coach Men's Soccer - Penn State University
NSCAA Past President
9200 World Cup Way
Winstars Soccer Academy Player 'Milovan Kapor'
NCAA D1 UMBC Player in Action
October 8. 2009
Dear Coach Graham;
Hope everything is going well with the academy and hope next year there will be even more players with athletic scholarships. As for me, my experience in the USA has been phenomenal. My team, UMBC, is 10-1-0 currently and this is the best start the school has had in its D1 soccer history. I have been lucky enough to start every game of the season so far this year, and with my hard work and dedication I continue to improve. The whole atmosphere of living on campus, and on your own is a new experience, and I have embraced quite well. Say hello to everyone in the academy, and best of luck this winter with the program.
All the best from your player,
October 2, 2009
The pleasure is always mine to see you.
You have impacted so many young men's lives that you have no idea. I still hope that some day, the top clubs in the area can get together and create the league of all leagues.
FIU Men's Soccer
"Playing for the Winstars was one of best experiences I had as a youth soccer player in Ontario. Bobby provided all of us with an opportunity to showcase our talent to scouts from Division 1 schools in the U.S. I remember Bobby took us to Penn State to play against some of the top club teams in the U.S. as well as the ODP Region 1 team. There were numerous scouts there that Bobby had invited, and many of our players were approached with scholarship offers.
My most memorable experience playing for Bobby had to be in 1997 when he took us to the Dallas Cup and we competed in the Super Group against club teams from Russia, the U.S. and Brazil. It gave us all an opportunity to understand the game at a higher level and helped us grow together as a team. Bobby has done so much for youth soccer over the years. I wish him all the best with his academy moving forward. I know that he will help so many more players reach their dreams in this great game.
Thank you Bobby for everything you've done for me."
Your former Winstar player,
Varsity Blues Men's Soccer
University of Toronto
July 20, 2008
Dear Coach Graham
Hey coach, Once again I just want to say, you have helped me in every which way possible and have guided me on towards the right path of my life as a person and in soccer. I will never ever forget you, you are my second father and you have treated me like a son. You are my mentor and my teacher in life and no one will ever take that place coach. I just want to let you know that You are a true person, a great man and the only person in the world that I can say loves the game more than me!
Coach, I will come visit the boys tuesday and I guess I will run my last lap with the Winstars. It sure will be an emotional one. We will always keep in touch, during the past couple of weeks that I have worked with you, I will not forget what you have told me in preparation towards college soccer, I will make you proud, and I will succeed, like you said there will be tough times, but I can do it and with the confidence that you have shown in me over the past two years as my coach, through making me the team captain, and believeing in me, you have made me develop into a better player and person and I will only keep continuing to develop.
Coach, from the bottom of my heart, like the way I connect with soccer, you have become a part of my life, you have instilled more passion and love for the game into my life, and you have brought joyous times throughout my Winstars career. I will never forget you coach, never. We will keep in touch, see you Tuesday.
Your player for life,
Franco Lo Presti
Winstars Soccer Academy Captain
July 27, 2008
Dear Coach Graham.
I want to first of all say thank you for the opportunity in 1996 to play with the Oakville Winstars. I have had 3 coaches in my life who have contributed to my success and you are on the top of that list !!! Allowing me to showcase my talents gained national attention from Clemson, Drexel and UAB. Choosing The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) was a great learning experience and having fielded 6 Canadian Starters on that team opened a lot of eyes to the talent that was in Canada.
My continued success carried into the 1997 UAB Season and after only starting in 9 games out of 17 scoring 9 goals, 3 assists for 21 PTS was good enough for first on team scoring. After the 1999 Season, I trained with Norwich City F.C of the Premier League in England. Again another wonderful opportunity that has helped me succeed in life beyond my wildest dreams. I cannot think of anyone that has developed more US College and Professional Players in Canada.
I truly believe that you Bobby Graham, are one of the MAIN factors in allowing an MLS Team to be here in Toronto, Ontario Canada. This will definetely need to be addressed in the future !!! Thank you for the opportunity to play for the Oakville Winstars and having the confidence in me. You spoke very highly of my talents that allowed me to receive a Full scholarship to a Division I Program.
Now it's my turn to let everyone know, that Bobby Graham is one of the best human beings on this Earth. He will truly help you in any situation with life. His passion for soccer and the way he treats people is unmatched. I wish you continue success with your Academy.
Thank You Again,
Joe Di Nardo
(North York Azzurri, Oakville Winstars, UAB and Norwich City)
April 14, 2008
Hey Bob, thank you so much, it will be a alot of responsibility, at the same time I am up for it, I can direct the team to a certain degree. I hope all is well with you and the program, I feel that you are doing a great job with the up and coming players in Ontario, and your name is well known throughout North America.
Thank you for everything
March 13, 2008
It was great to have you and your Academy here at Mason for the clinic and games. Your Academy exemplifies a first class mentality, a tenacious determination and a professionalism not normally seen at such a young age.
There is a reason your players have had such success when they move on to the next level, and it's due in a large part to the incredible preparation they receive not only on the field, but off of it as well. You and your staff do a great job and we are thrilled we could spend a short time with you.
On a personal level it's great to see that you are doing so well. I'm sure the Academy and it's success are deeply gratifying. You do so much for your kids, it is sincerely appreciated.
All the Best!
Head Mens Soccer Coach
George Mason University
4400 University Dr.
Fairfax Va. 22030
January 31, 2008
Hey how you doing coach, I would like to say thanks for everything that you have done for me over the years, not sure I would be where I am right now without you. You have been a great coach and friend over the years. From training to helping me get to college, everything you have done for me has been first class and I am very grateful for all of it. I know that your academy and you will do very well and help hundreds of more kids become student athletes like you helped me. Our Team made it to the Final Four and I was happy to be part of it.
Sincerely, your player,
Melford James Jr.
Dear: Coach Graham
Hello Bob, It's Me Junior, Your old goalkeeper, I'm writing you this letter
to see how your doing it's been a while since we have communicated.
I heard that you have started your own Academy I hope it is going well and
that everything is running well, I'm happy to hear that.
On my end you know I left UAB last year to transfer to a D2 school called
University of Montevallo, which is about 30 miles south of UAB so I'm still
in Alabama. I did great this pass fall, I started every game and did very
well, got many awards such as:
~4 time defensive player of the week
~All conference first team
~The South Region first team
~All Conference Tournament Team
I had a very successful year and I'm happy where I'm playing now, I'm in
florida right now spending the summer playing PDL trying to stay in shape
and be ready for my final year of college ball this fall. The team is doing
ok and i feel myself getting better as a person and a Goalkeeper..
When I'm done with this season I was planning on trying to go to Europe to
play, maybe if you have any connections or know anyone looking for a
goalkeeper or anywhere I can get a trial to tryout for a team, maybe you
would be able to assist me, I have people here trying to assist me as well,
but I would like your assistance also please, if you can.
I also might play here in the US in the USL or maybe MLS, but my real plan
would be to go to Europe. I'm planning to attend the USL Combine which takes
place in Florida in December, hopefully I get invited or get accepted into
I just wanted to say thanks for all your help on getting me to where I am
today, without you I'm not sure I would be where I'm at right now with
college and also soccer, so thank you very much Bob Graham for all your hard work
and determination and effort you put into believing in me and helping me
get to the next level it is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for believing in me.
Hopefully I will hear from you soon, life is good here I'm almost done my
degree and Soccer is going great.
Melford James Jr
"What Bobby Graham is doing with the Winstars Soccer Academy is unparalleled - no coach has developed more US collegiate and professional players in Canada than Bobby. He is the most credible reference to US college coaches in Canada, and is someone that I always talk to in identifying players. He is everything that is right about youth soccer, and is a valued friend."
University of Evansville
I will not forget my time with the Winstars Soccer Academy. This academy has pushed me to the next level and I will always be thankful for that. The Winstars Soccer Academy is the best soccer academy in the country and there is not one person in this country who can compare their accomplishments to those of yours. I was the first player and first captain of your Winstars Soccer Academy and this will always be one of my greatest accomplishments. I can only hope that we have left a good enough legacy this year for future Winstars players that will follow in our footsteps. You have sent over 200 hundred players to the United States and I truly believe this academy will increase that number dramatically in the years to come. The term scholarship is synonymous with your name simply because you have made it a reality for a number of players, including myself, to achieve their dreams. For this I will be forever grateful. Best of Luck in the future and with the future academy teams.
Bobby Graham is an icon in our local soccer community.
Bobby has been a
great ambassador of the game, working countless hours to develop and
expose our student-athletes to incredible opportunities. The transition to
an Academy format makes it much easier and most appropriate to see the
best players in our community.
Good Luck Bobby and thanks for everything.
Carmine Isacco , Head Coach,
University of Toronto Men's Soccer Team
I still remember the good old days, training was very intense and rewarding at the same time. Playing in the Dallas Cup was a memorable experience that I will never forget, and a number of other show case tournaments that we were apart of. It helped all of us young players at the time get the exposure needed to take our football to the next level. That level for me was attending the University of Louisville, receiving a number of Full athletic scholarship offers from all over the United States, through the rigorous training you put us through, and the hard work on and off the field devoted to football, it got me free schooling, numerous memorable events in my life, meeting new people, traveling all over. It was wonderful. I was fortunate to be apart of an amazing program, accepting my offer from U of L. I had four great years there, playing under Tony Colavecchia, leading to bigger and better things. I had been invited to the MLS combine, down in Los Angeles, where I performed well enough to get drafted in the 2nd round by the Colorado Rapids. It was one of my dreams that came true.
From there are went on to play and win a championship with the Montreal Impact, and now I am here in vancouver playing well with the Vancouver White Caps, still am training hard to make the transition over seas. I am fortunate to say that playing under a coach like you Bob, paved my path to a University Scholarship, and a professional soccer career.
For this I thank you from the bottom of my heart
(Your player , now Vancouver Whitecaps - A-League and former UofL player )
"Bob Graham has been a friend and an inspiration in my life for over 20 years. He coached our Wexford team to an U-18 national championship in 1990 where I scored the winning goal ... from our own half (Bob fell backwards off the bench he was so excited). From that team, Bob was able to co-ordinate and negotiate scholarships for almost ever player to U.S. schools in NCAA Division 1. That year Bob helped me secure my scholarship with Clemson University. At the time the Clemson Tigers were the #1 ranked college soccer program in the U.S. for most of the season.
I learned many valuable lessons from Coach Graham: 1) Commitment - Bob was committed to his players but required commitment in return. One night he drove from Oakville to Oshawa (where I lived at the time) to drive me to a game ... in Toronto ... because I didn't have access to a car ... . However, he expected even his best players to attend practices in order to get playing time in games. 2) Loyalty - Bob has kept in touch with me several years after he coached my teams in the late 1980s. In the NCAA I crossed paths with 25-30 players who played for Bob's teams and we all agreed that he was one-of-a-kind. 3) Balance and Perspective - At Clemson I had an injury that threatened my career in soccer. Bob advised me to focus on my studies and continue to rehabilitate my injury. Eventually I moved on from soccer into my career as a Professor at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.
In my youth I played for the Ontario Provincial team, 2 national championship teams and teams that won the Dallas Cup! However, over and over again as I came into contact with coaches from other American college teams ... the only name they ever seemed to recognize in Canada was Bob Graham!
In summary, any player may benefit from Coach Graham's mentoring. I remember playing a game in the NCAA Division #1 and noticed that one of my teammates (whom I had lost touch with) was the captain of the other team. This particular player did not even start on our Wexford team but through Bob's guidance and training was able to continue to develop as a player to one of the highest levels of soccer in North America. Bob has a unique ability to take players of any level ... to another higher level of their game. It was a true Testament to Coach Graham's peer mentoring, commitment and loyalty to all of his players ... starters and second-string alike."
(former player at Wexford SC. National Championship , Gold Medal Team , Former Clemson and University of Loyola Baltimore Player)
"2001 was an amazing season for me! Coach Bobby Graham and our team
Jimmy, made it an unforgettable experience. Even though the 2001 season
only year with the Woodbridge Strikers, it is my most memorable. We knew
day one that this was a serious team and the coaching staff meant
Winning the League Championship, the League Cup, the Robbie and the
was incredible and the result of hard work and excellent coaching.
soccer scholarship at the University of Hartford was the icing on the
Bobby and Jimmy, I can't thank you enough for lighting up the soccer fire
again and bringing the best out of me. I will never forget your support
encouragement. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and I am
confident that many more Canadian athletes will benefit from your support
commitment to soccer excellence".
University of Hartford - Player
I was very fortunate at 16 years of age to play for Bob Graham on the Oakville Winstars Squad. Bob was an excellent Coach who not only taught us the important skills of the game , he also taught us professionalism , respect , discipline , and teamwork.
Bob opened up opportunities for me that not only took me further in Soccer but further in Life. Bob has a great rapport with the USA University Soccer Coaches and he is forever giving his players new experiences to challenge them.
Bob Graham has been a major influence on my Life and I would recommend him as a Coach to any aspiring soccer player.
Co-Captain Oakville Winstars
Drexel University Graduate
Over a Five year period , Bobby Graham coached a representative team with the Wexford Soccer Club. During this period he had many outstanding achievements. Important titles were won , including the Canadian National Championship , Ontario Cup and many tournament championships were secured. In addition numerous players acquired University Scholarships in the USA.
All these achievements were largely due to his organizational and Coaching abilities. Soccer is a relatively simple game and yet not many people have enjoyed his successes.
Teaching the technical part of soccer only represents half of what a successful coach requires. The other half is made up of many factors; relating well with other people , The desire to be a winner , Determination , Hard work , and understanding the organizational part of both the Club Soccer and Ontario Soccer.
In summarizing , Bobby rates very high in the Technical area and also has exceptional organizational skills required to run a Successful Soccer Team. The Wexford Soccer Club's experience with Bobby Graham was excellent in all respects.
We wish him well in his future endeavors.
Wexford Soccer Club
Having known Bobby Graham for over 20 years , I am happy to comment on my association and impressions of him. I first met Bob through soccer events down here in the USA and have had a strong association with him since then , both professionally and as a friend. From the beginning of that association I have always had the up most respect for him as a person and as a colleague. He is a solid professional and well respected in his field.
I know Bob to be a tremendously hard worker , very dedicated to what he does and an individual who is very caring and concerned about those he is associated with. He is sincere , supporting and committed to making things work in whatever endeavor he is involved with. Through my association with Bob he has assisted numerous individuals in obtaining a university education and move on to become a solid citizen through soccer.
The number of individuals he has had a positive influence on in this area is more than significant. Bob is a strong character , always does a thorough job and pays attention to the details. He is a very trustworthy individual and I value my association with him. As a result Bob is well respected by the intercollegiate community down here in the USA and if I had a full time opening on my staff , I would hire him without any reservations ! As an educator and as an intercollegiate coach , it is refreshing to have an association with Bobby Graham.
Our profession needs more individuals like him.
Dr. Tom Martin
Head Soccer Coach
James Madison University
I would like to take this opportunity to provide my support to the Oakville Winstars coached and managed by Bobby Graham and Charlie Sciberras. While I have only known Bobby and Charlie on a personal level, for a short time , I have nevertheless watched with admiration their successes in building and developing some of the very best youth soccer teams in Canada.
Numerous players have come through their teams , have excelled to not only National levels , but also Canadian and USA University soccer programs. In some cases their graduating players have competed successfully at the professional level.
Both Bobby and Charlie are highly respected by their peers in the youth soccer environments of Canada and the United States. By continually placing their own personal self interest , secondary to the well being of their players , they have been able to assist a number of them in procuring soccer scholarships south of the border.
It is little wonder then , why they are so highly regarded by many USA College Coaches. Without question over the past several years they have been responsible for nurturing some of the best youth soccer players in Canada. I have had the pleasure of watching the team train and practice. Once again I saw an outstanding group of players with tremendous ability and even greater potential. If they are allowed to stay together as a team , they will undoubtedly develop into fine players both individually and collectively as a unit.
In a country where soccer is feeling some definite growing pains particularly at the youth level , it is gratifying to see a group of individuals , both coaches and players , who exemplify the high standards that we have to achieve , if we want to compete as an International soccer nation. In my opinion, the Winstars team should be seen not so much as a threat to a league parity level but more importantly as a role model for all other teams to emulate.
Current York University Coach
I was very pleased to hear of your new Winstar Academy. Over the past 15 years you have sent many quality student athletes to colleges in the US. I have had over a dozen of your players during my time at UAB. These players have been apart of five conference titles, four trips to the NCAA Tournament including one trip to the "Elite Eight". Each of these young men has helped us build a tradition of excellence. I know that this new venture will help many more players benefit from your knowledge and experience.
I look forward to recruiting the next generation of stars from your academy. I also look forward to helping you in any way I can.
Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL 35294
I have had the privilege to be coached by both Bob Graham and Charlie Sciberras while playing for the Oakville Winstars. I played for both of them for 5 years where we went on to win numerous championships including being a National finalist. They helped me further my soccer career while assisting me in earning a full athletic scholarship to the University of Louisville. There is no other person in Ontario that can help showcase your talent to University coaches throughout the US. Just from the Winstar team he helped over 18 players earn athletic scholarships. The time spent at the University of Louisville were years that I will never forget. Since graduating, I have played four years professional soccer in the USL DI and now I am currently a high school teacher. These two individuals have continued to be a huge part of my life and I will never forget what they have done for me.
I had the opportunity to play for the Winstars under Bob and Charlie when I
was 17. It was a great experience, one of the fondest I have in my soccer
career. They were instrumental in my development and the reason I continued
playing after youth soccer.
Through their experience and knowledge they
helped me become
a better player. Their reputations always attracted the top
players in the province, and this provided a competitive environment in
which to develop and train. It was always like being in a professional club
because of the demands they put on us and it prepared us for more difficult
challenges in the future. It also made our team very competitive and provided
us with the chance to win major youth tournaments and exposure to college
and professional scouts. And it is rare in soccer for coaches to judge
players both by their character as well as their ability, and the success of
so many former players in all walks of life is a testament to this fact.
and Charlie's passion for the game was inspirational as well as contagious.
Canadian players may not always believe they can use soccer to further
themselves in life, but Bob and Charlie gave youth players in Canada the
opportunity and courage to further their careers and play soccer in the
States and abroad. The slogan on the homepage is true, there is "a reason to
believe". I will always be grateful to them, and wish them both success with
their new soccer academy.
(Former Winstars Player)
I just wanted to say congrats on your new academy. I would just like to
say that I played for you for a short time but you had a tremendous impact
on my soccer career. I played with the Winstars and eventually recieved a
scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where I not only
became a Division 1 All-American but I also one time made the Dean's List.
I also got to experience a Conference USA championship and a berth in the
"Elite Eight" in the NCAA Tournament. After my days at UAB were done, I
was selected to the College Allstar game and then I eventually went on to
play Professional for the Richmond Kickers and then the Toronto Lynx.
Now Ii am playing professional in China. But no matter when my career ends, or
takes me, I was blessed to play soccer for a long period of time and earn
a University Degree. But with out your help and exposure none of this
would have been possible. So I thank you, as do many of my life long
friends that I made playing with the Winstars, because with out your help
and knowledge I would have been very limited in my quest to fulfill my
So thanks and goodluck in all future endevours. I also
thank you for following my career closely and always sending emails or
traveling to watch me play thanks.
Always one of your player
I has the pleasure of playing for the Oakville Winstars for roughly 4 years. These were probably 4 of the greatest years of my life and they came at such a young age. Bob and Charlie are 2 individuals who strive to get what is best for the kids that they coach. They put long hard hours into coaching and they do it for the love of the game. I was fortunate to get a full scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. This would not have happened if it wasn't for people like Bob and Charlie. I also got to chance to live out my professional career until an injury ended that.
Playing for the Winstars is not just about the soccer. We consider ourselves a family and we still do even today. We have attended some of our old teammates weddings and have seen each other grow up from young boys to young men. During my time at the Winstars my father passed away when i was 15 years old. My teammates were there for me and so were their families. However, Bob and Charlie were not only my coaches they became like fathers to me. Because of them I got the chance to live out one of my biggest dreams.
One message that I know Bob and Charlie will pass on to the great young men of tomorrow is that when you play for the Winstars you are not only playing for your current teammates but you are playing for the hundreds of teammates that have passed through the system before you. This message was passed on to us from Bob and Charlie.
Soccer in Canada has grown a lot in the past few years or so. However, when you reach a certain age soccer dies down here in this country. Bob and Charlie are 2 guys that make your dreams come true as they have for hundreds of kids before. I know that if i had kids playing soccer in Canada i would only let them play for 2 people, and that is Bob and Charlie.
I just wanted to say to both of you that i could never re-pay you for what you did but i will tell you guys that you are 2 amazing people and you will always have a place in my heart. I also want to tell my former Winstar teammates the same. You guys made playing the game i love so much more fun and you guys will always be considered my brothers!
Go Winstars Go!!
This is to thank you Bob for allowing me to be apart of your dream back in 1986. I remember you telling me that you were coming here to Scarborough, Ontario from Oakville, Ontario, because you seen that the Wexford soccer team my son played for were players you thought could go on and play at University\College level and follow a dream at becoming a professional soccer player if they worked hard for it.
Well Bob you were right. from that day on I believed in you because the Wexford soccer team, the Winstars soccer team, the Woodbridge soccer teams, and even players that weren’t on our own team, you tried your best for them, through Universities and College contacts and going to the USA Universities and Colleges so the coaches could see the players, going to some of the best youth tournaments in USA and Canada, having successful showcases for coaches to come from the USA and Canada to see players play.
I always said the proof is in the pudding. There are countless young soccer players since then who have gone to Universities and Colleges and are professional soccer players.
I’m looking forward to helping in our academy
I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for Bob Graham and the rest of
his wonderful staff. They gave me the guidence and support that I needed
in the years that I was preparing for university. Not only did I get
maximum exposure to many division I schools in the States playing for him
at Woodbridge Soccer Club, but he also prepared me for the steps that I
need in order to be sucessful After obtaining my scholarship. Time
management, leadership skills and all other life skills were learnt while
enjoying the game of soccer at the same time.
Bob and his staff have the
winning formula when it comes to sending players off to advance their
playing career, weather it be college ball or the professional route. I've
enjoyed many fun trips with his team, from playing in the Dallas Cup super
group to playing against many DI soccer teams. I have built many
friendships with teammates on these teams and it is always great to play
against your old club teammates at top universities.
My college teammates
always ask me how I know so many different players at different schools
whenever we play against them. I respond that we all played for the same
coach back home. To see soo many familair faces in a foregien country
shows how sucessful Bobby's teams have been in the past and I know that he
will continue this trend for generations to come.
Kwesi Hakim Klass
Woodbridge Soccer Club
I had the privilege to be coached by Bob Graham during my tenure with the Oakville Winstars (1993-1996). It was Bob who introduced me to the next level of competitive soccer. Thanks to him I earned a 4-year soccer scholarship at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA (1996-2000). I would never of had the opportunities offered to me, athletically and educationally, if it wasn’t for Bob and I am forever grateful for his commitment to excellence.
His passion towards the game of soccer is evident through the many players he helped earn collegiate soccer scholarships in the USA. Bob’s dedication and sacrifice for his teams over the years are truly exemplary of what coaching standards should represent.
Paul A. Saliba
First and foremost, I would like to thank you not only as a player but as
a person. You have been a constant help, support-figure, and a man to
admire. Your commitment is unquestionable. You are a modern advocate for
amateur sports in Canada and all of your hard-work and dedication has
impacted on a vast amount of youth. Your level of expertise is only
matched by the relationships that you form with your players.
It has been
a pleasure to know you personally, I have always been fond of your
coaching and passion for the game. Those qualities are hard to come-by and
a real testament to the person you are within.
Coach Graham, or Bob, as we the players knew him was the technical
director at our club. Soon he became our coach, and the championships
started rolling in. He not only pushed us to greater limits, but also
expanded our horizons when it came to our futures. When we embarked to
Dallas in 2003, a lot of our dreams came true. Even though we didn't win
the tournament (our only loss came to Tigres the eventual winners), we
certainly grew as a team and a lot of us received athletic-scholarships to
many schools in the United States.
My future has been shaped and improved
by this man, I will forever be in debt with gratitude to you Coach Graham.
I hope one day, that we, as all your past players will be able to make you
proud, and be a reflection of the man who you taught us to be.
(Current member of the UAB Blazers, 2006)
Congrats on the Winstars Soccer Academy! I look forward to having your players come to Indiana University and help us win another National Championship. Your players are always well coached and prepared for college soccer.
Michael A. Freitag
Head Men's Soccer Coach
Bobby Graham is truly one of Canada's greatest soccer ambassadors. In the 20 plus years that I have known him, Bobby has done so much to expose youth players in Ontario to exceptional soccer opportunities. A competitor and winner, Bobby Graham has been instrumental in helping so many talented Canadian student-athletes achieve so much on and off the field. The coaches and staff that Coach Graham assembles are first class and committed to the development of young players in the Toronto area and the Winstars Academy has the hallmark of the Graham 'Midas Touch'.
Head Soccer Coach
The Penn State University
Congratulations on your return to the promotion of soccer in the greater Toronto area. You have always provided the best effort possible for the young players under your care.
I, like so many university coaches, have turned to you for advice on players in your area.We have also attend numerous events, and showcases that you have organized and facilitated for the sole purpose of assisting the coaches in their recruiting processes.
Of greater importance is your recognition of young people and the potential opportunity for them to gain a quality education and play soccer in the U.S. So many areas outside of the U.S. do not have the leadership and knowledge to assist youth players to move to the next level. You have a real understanding of the necessary abilities to compete as well as the knowledge to counsel and advise the player and parents of the road to a successful experience at a U.S. institution.
I certainly would not have had such success had it not been for the players in the Toronto scene. Some 20 years of communication with you and your clubs has brought success to our program. Needless to say each of those players would be quick to express the value of having someone like you guiding them along. These players have to thank you for what resulted in an excellent educational and soccer experience at Drexel University. Even more special is the degree achieved, and the lifetime opportunities that are afforded them through their Drexel education.
It is great to have you back in the soccer environment of Toronto along with your long time special friends that have worked with you and so often assisted me while visiting your events. Again, I sense a feeling that the players of the Windstars program will be given a real opportunity to consider Drexel and many other universities in the U.S.
All the best with your future events, I await those details, I will be there!
“I had the pleasure of playing on a great team with Woodbridge SC and a great coaching staff with Bobby and Jimmy. Bobby and Jimmy were able to turn around a good team to a championship team and the facts prove it with the players he coached and I played with whom went on to play collegiate soccer. Bobby’s preparation for the team was held not only physically, but mentally he prepared us to meet the greatest challenges that could help the team succeed to the next level. Our progress as a team and as an individual playing at Universities as well as the Dallas Cup prepared me personally for the next level playing against the elite players of the U.S and world. Having the opportunity to play Division I soccer and attending a prestigious university such as The Ohio State University was an experience I will keep forever. As a student-athlete I was able to play college soccer, play with great teammates, but also receive and earn a degree that as helped me as a professional and have the opportunity to coach college soccer. All I can say is Bobby as set high standards for each student-athlete he has coached and if one as the will and commitment to play through that then the sky is the limit because Bobby will help you get there to the next level. Bobby and Jimmy thank you for all the great years and memories and good luck with your future with the Academy.”
Y Sports Zone
A Canadian amateur soccer dynasty of International proportions.
by Anthony J. Mifsud
It is a rare occurrence for a Canadian team to be able to consider itself among the world's best in the game of soccer. Clubs like A.C. Milan, Leeds United, Boca Juniors of Argentina and Real Madrid are common at all levels of international play, and exclusivity has always been as familiar to the teams that dominate the sport as the names themselves.
However, when you are able to assemble a squad that can compile as impressive a record as the Oakville Winstars have over the past three years, both domestically and internationally, such a feat becomes a little easier to imagine.
When the Winstars traveled to Dallas, Texas late last March for the seventeenth annual Dallas Cup, they were aware of the magnitude of the tournament, one that has become unofficially recognized as the Under-19 World Club Championship. This was their third tour of duty at the renowned competition since their inception in 1993.
That the Winstars were invited back to the Dallas Cup was no surprise, as a year earlier they made it all the way to the semifinals in Dallas before finally bowing out to Costa Rica. What is most impressive, however, is that they were welcomed for a third time in three years, this time as part of a 16-team 'Super Group"
Past winners of the super group division read like a who's who of world soccer: Tahuichi of Bolivia, Moscow Dynamo, West Ham United, two time winners Real Madrid, and last year's champion's Sao Paulo of Brazil. The Winstars were keeping some elite company indeed, and it was a challenge of international scope that the team truly relished.
It's a great challenge and I look (onward to it; said Winstar coach Bobby Graham prior to the tournament. "I've been to the semi-finals of the Super Cup once before, in 1990 with Wexford (another traditional Canadian powerhouse in domestic amateur soccer) against Moscow Dynamo and the feeling in the stadium was incredible."
An early 4-0 loss to the Italian powerhouse, A.C. Milan, could have easily set the tone for the Winstars In elite super group play However, the Oakville team fought their way back from a 2-0 deficit in their second match against their hosts, the highly-touted Dallas Rockets, to earn themselves a 2-2 draw, A subsequent 5-0 drubbing of Costa Rica In their third and final round-robin contest met the goals differential needed to guarantee a spot in the final eight, a rare distinction for a Canadian entry. A heartbreaking 2-1 loss in quarter-final play against the Boca Juniors of Argentina, in which the Canadian side hit the post twice and crossbar once in the last ten minutes of play, closed out the tournament for the impressive side.
Last fall, the Oakville Winstars were also able to capture the Washington, D.C. Capital Cup, one of the most recognized Under19 tournaments in North America. At that event, they defeated Greensboro, North Carolina 4-0 in the tournament final. Since then, the 'Stars have also won the East York Tournament and the prestigious International Robbie Tournament, defeating the aforementioned Wexford team 1-0 in the final match at the Canada Day Weekend festivities.
This year's stats are just as impressive, as the Winstars are currently in first place in the Ontario Youth Soccer League, and are again preparing for the cup final against North-West Azzurri in October.
The team's prowess is reflected by the interest they have generated amongst U.S. college coaches who have signed no less than six Winstar players to full scholarships at NCAA division-one schools. In fact, two noteworthy defenders, Geoffrey Allard and
Paul Saliba, have recently been signed a tandem to deals estimated at $20,000 a year by Philadelphia's Drexel University. "We've always had to face teams which had better talent than us and that is v have always emphasized disciplined teamwork," remarks coach Graham have always been selective of our players recruiting kids with talent of course, b kids who exhibit good discipline, kid families who Stress a good work ethics and disciplined background, as this generally reflects itself on the field".
Coining the phrase "talent wins but teamwork and intelligence wins scholarships," coach Graham has been instill these qualities in his players to a Canadian amateur soccer dynamics international proportions In the process.
WHEN THE NCAA CAME KNOCKING,
THESE BOYS ANSWERED THE DOOR!
Drexel University , Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
James Madison University , Harrisonburg , Virginia
(UAB) University of Alabama at Birmingham , Alabama
Charleston Southern University , Charleston , S.C.
(UAB) University of Alabama at Birmingham , Alabama
Virginia Tech. , Blacksburg , Virginia
University of Louisville , Louisville , Kentucky
Drexel University , Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
Winthrop University , Rock Hill , South Carolina
College of Charleston , Charleston , S.C.
(UAB)University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama
University of Louisville , Louisville , Kentucky
West Virginia University , Morgantown , West Virginia
Drexel University , Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
Wright State University , Dayton , Ohio
Wright State University , Dayton , Ohio
(UNLV) University of Las Vegas , Las Vegas, Nevada
University of Louisville , Louisville , Kentucky
" A Winning Tradition "
Note: These players are all playing at the NCAA Division 1 Level