I had an email last night from Jaswinder Parmar, a Surrey FC executive and the General Manager of the SurDel Peg HPL bid asking me to put up information from their application that shows they would be competitive with any other prospective franchise.
The Excel spreadsheet he sent me (you can download images from it below) has several charts that compare the number of Provincial team players, NTC players, “Combined Points at Nationals”, Whitecaps Programming players and National team players.
They’ve provided a comprehensive appendix backing the data with player names for the various teams and programs referenced by the charts but asked that I not publish that (which is totally understandable).
This is a highly relevant document given the points I’ve raised recently about what the selection process should be about. For me this is boiling down to a “geography” vs “ability” argument. There’s a stated desire to have the franchises spread geographically across the Lower Mainland to ease potential logistic concerns and ensure accessibility. Understandable but how far do you go down that path before you end up with franchises that do not have a reasonable chance of fielding competitive teams?
I’ve put my picks out there and understandably there’s people that don’t agree with them and people who are upset about them. But really, my opinion and others expressed here are not going to influence the final decision.
I think Surrey FC/SurDel Peg are in a tough place. There will not be three Surrey franchises granted and that’s primarily a function of the stated desire to spread the franchises geographically. Surrey United will get one. Period. That leaves a competition between SurDel Peg and South Fraser. South Fraser is seen as (a) occupying a distinct part of the Lower Mainland. SurDel Peg mitigated this a bit by bringing Delta entities to the bid but is it enough to overcome (b) the perceived stability of the South Fraser clubs, their facilities (Surrey FC is being dragged into a battle for use of Newton Athletic with Central City Breakers) and coaching staff.
I think it’s close between the two but also hindering SurDel Peg is Surrey FC’s significant drop in player numbers the last few years. My thinking is that this gives South Fraser the edge but it’s really the closest battle out there for a spot in HPL despite Golden Ears/Pitt Meadows attempts to dislodge Abby as the de facto Fraser Valley entity.
Beyond that there seems to be more player movement within the Surrey clubs than in other Districts so there’s often multiple claims as to who developed particular players.
But when you see the charts, and I think the appendices support their veracity, there’s a very convincing argument that SurDel Peg would be a very competitive entity if they kept their players.
I commented yesterday that there’s no point in all this disruptive, anger-inducing change if we’re not going to end up with what the desired outcome is: a much better elite league for youth players. We’ve got rid of some of the elements that bound the hands of progressive elements who want to help good players become better like conflicts with other levels of play (Provincial team programs, NTC training, Prospects), restrictions on player movement between clubs and age groups bloated with too many teams. But if the decision making tilts too far towards geographic considerations a lot of this good work will be undone and the league will be compromised.
My picks for HPL have been based on who I think will get franchises, not who the best candidates actually are. So while I have Vancouver Island and Okanagan as locks, that’s down to political concessions primarily. I have Abbotsford in but it’s a concession to geography and that club’s tremendous history in being a ground breaker on so many fronts.
I think these three will struggle to be competitive in most age groups. Even with Abby partnering with Langley, I don’t see them doing well on the girls side. Even with Lower Island working with Upper Island I don’t see a big enough base of strong players.
If I were picking franchises based solely on which groups can bring us to a true elite league that would provide challenging games for the players, week in, week out and assumedly (and it’s a big assumption for all the applicants) get top coaching for those teams, geography and political considerations be damned, it would look like this (alphabetically within categories).
- Coquitlam Metro-Ford
- North Shore-Burnaby
- Surrey United
- South Fraser Soccer Club
- SurDel Peg
Need to demonstrate they can compete:
- Golden Ears/Pitt Meadows
- Vancouver Island
Unfortunately, I think my list of who I think will get franchises will be closer to the actual list than this.
Here is the info from SurDel Peg outlining, according to their numbers but substantiated by appendices, where the elite players in the Lower Mainland are currently playing at the club level. May want to click on them to make the axis labels more readable.