HPL: D-Day

Here’s the release (no surprises):

VANCOUVER (Thursday, February 17th, 2011) –Eight founding franchises representing more than 80 per cent of the population of British Columbia will form the inaugural roster of entries in the new BC Soccer Premier League announced today by BC Soccer, its Board of Directors and the High Performance League Committee formed to create the new player development initiative.
The eight founding franchises for the BC Soccer Premier League are:
  • Abbotsford Soccer Association;
  • Burnaby/ North Shore;
  • Coquitlam Metro Ford Soccer Club;
  • Lower Island Soccer Association/Upper Island Soccer Association (Vancouver Island);
  • South Fraser Soccer Club;
  • Surrey United Soccer Club;
  • Thompson Okanagan Football Club;
  • Vancouver/Richmond.
“We’re delighted to launch the new BC Soccer Premier League on the strength of these eight founding franchises,” said Steve Allen of Surrey, B.C., the member of the BC Soccer Board of Directors who served as Chair of the HPL Committee comprised of 16 soccer leaders from the club, district and league level in BC. “We’re excited to welcome the eight founding franchises to what will be the top tier of soccer competition in the province and we look forward to working with the franchises and our membership to build the BC Soccer Premier League into something special for the game at all levels.
“Our spirit of intent is to create the best possible conditions for player development and to support Canada’s national team program and strengthen the game throughout BC and across the country,” said Allen. “There is not a better time to be doing that with the support of strong stakeholders such as the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and our membership, especially given the interest, excitement  and energy being generated for the game with the debut of the Whitecaps in Major League Soccer and another MLS franchise scheduled for Montreal next year.”
The BC Soccer Premier League will run a pilot mini-season this fall and launch its first full season in March of 2012, when it will immediately take its place among the major provincial sports leagues in British Columbia. Founding franchises in the new league feature clubs serving players in strong BC sports markets such as Vancouver, Chilliwack, Kamloops and Kelowna in the Western Hockey League and BC Hockey League centres such as Alberni Valley, Coquitlam, Cowichan Valley, Langley, Nanaimo, Penticton, Powell River, Salmon Arm, Surrey, Vernon, Victoria and Westside (Kelowna), along with the American Hockey League hub of Abbotsford.
“The BC Soccer Premier League will have a tremendous reach and local presence built on the infrastructure of the founding franchises and will be right up there with the leading provincial platforms in other sports,” noted BC Soccer Executive Director Bjorn Osieck of North Vancouver, B.C. “As an example, in our inaugural year, the league will cover 12 of 16 BCHL markets and four of the six markets synonymous with the WHL’s BC Division.”
The inaugural roster of franchises was accepted by the HPL Committee and submitted to the Board of Directors on recommendations from a selection panel comprised of Paul Barber, CEO of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canadian Soccer Association U17 national team head coach Sean Fleming and Paul Mullen, Director of Operations for BC Soccer and former executive with the English Football Association (FA).
“This process has created an excitement for the game in our community and throughout the province and we congratulate not only the successful franchises, but all of the applicants for their time, effort and cooperation in putting forward very strong submissions,” said Barber. “With the emergence of the BC Soccer Premier League and the Whitecaps’ launch into Major League Soccer, soccer interest in British Columbia is at an all-time high.”
The HPL committee brought together a series of key player development principles and alignment with competitive platforms across the country. As an example, the playing season for the BC Soccer Premier League, which will feature divisions of play at the U13, U14, U15, U16 and U17/U18 levels, shall be from March to November.
“We thank the HPL committee members, our tripartite selection panel and of course our membership, which has been very supportive and enthusiastic about what this will mean for soccer in BC and over the long term, across Canada,” said Charlie Cuzzetto of Vancouver, President and Chair of the Board of Directors of BC Soccer. “The BC Soccer Premier League is certainly about the top boys and girls players in the province but by creating a new tier of play, it will also help improve the game for all players at all levels.”



UPDATE: Franchises will be announced via press release at 2pm today. Will be posted here very soon after.

I’ll post any updates here today as we get confirmations about who has been given HPL franchises today. Feel free to add anything you here in the comments.

Note: Surprised no one has mentioned (unless I missed it) that picking Sean Fleming to sit on the panel to pick these teams is a bit of a surprise given he’s currently coaching the U17 National team and has been in Florida for a training camp from Feb 5 to 13 and then straight to Montego Bay, Jamaica for CONCACAF qualifying.

The guy must be a speed reader to get through those 11 applications while preparing for U17 World Cup qualification…

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226 Responses to HPL: D-Day

  1. MJ says:

    News on the organization of the “lower” aka cheaper leagues would be appreciated too.

  2. PE says:

    Any idea of what time they’ll be making the announcement??

  3. J Larkins says:

    I agree with MJ – I understood that some formal discussions may have been undertaken recently, perhaps even last evening, regarding the “tier 2” set up for next year. More than the HPL intrigue I must say I have heard more wildly differing perspectives on what is happening to “tier 2”. No doubt a wild spring ahead of everyone.

  4. J says:

    I’m pretty sure this was covered already in prior posts but…did they opt in the end to have all the applicants present for the announcement? If so, I’d like to be a fly on the wall for that.

    • Canadian Spur says:

      BCSA decided to only issue a press release. There will be some sort of event in early March.

      I think they belatedly realized that it was not such a brilliant idea to have the unsuccesful bidders present at the announcement (probably after reading some of these posts)…and who says BSCA doesn’t know what they are doing 😉

      • J says:

        LOL…based on a few “discussions” I’ve witnessed fieldside in the past few months, that is likely a wise idea.

        Not very good PR for the launch of the new league if in the initial rollout meeting the TD from Breakers has the Semi TD in a headlock.

        ; )

      • Gregor says:

        Headlock. TD style…

  5. Canadian Spur says:

    Update on Tier 2 meeting.

    The Metro Select League was approved by the district chairs with maximum team limits as follows:

    U13 – 16 teams
    U14 -14 teams
    U15to U18 – 12 teams

    I understand that these maximums could be revisited on a year by year basis if there happens to be a particularly strong age group. The League promised to have the new league rules out by mid-March.

    I’m still trying to get more info.

    • Gregor says:

      Good info. Thanks!

    • thiku says:

      Assume the calendar is remaining Sept-March?

    • R says:

      When you say 12 teams for say U16, does that mean 12 teams for each Div. or 12 teams total for both Div. 1 and 2 combined?

    • Gregor says:

      So that confirms that there will be limits placed on the number of teams in the second tier. And if there’s limits, it means there’s a specific agency that will determine who is in and who is out. This of course becomes the next big question: who will get to run these teams? Will HPL franchises HAVE to run one (some don’t want to) or will they be given a choice? What determines who gets the remaining spots?

      If the expectation is that these will also be professionally coached then there’s going to have to be some serious questions about the quality of the coaching and the price to play on these teams.

      • Canadian Spur says:

        MJ, Gregor – The teams are at the discretion of the districts so they could be club teams or district teams. There is no requirement for HPL to have an MSL team. I think this is similar to the way teams are admitted into the current Boys Select league.

        R – There is no Div 1 Div 2 in the new proposal so the limit is for each age group but unlike the current boys setup there will be a division for each age fro U13 to U18 not just 14AB, 16AB, 18AB

        I suspect that the majority of teams will be volunteer coached but that will by up to each team to decide. Won;t be league mandated as HPL is.

  6. Canadian Spur says:

    On an unrelated not – Congrats to Colin for getting TSS associate membership at BCSA. You’re now part of the (disfunctional) family.

    • Gregor says:

      Awesome! Now you can go in the Cloverdale Cup! 😉 (note to Cloverdale Cup organizers: got the first 100 emails about your tournament, you can stop sending ‘reminders’ now)

  7. MJ says:

    Sounds like the new Metro/Selects will be Gold+, basically. There will be 2-4 teams worth of former select/metro players and 8-10 teams worth of Gold players to form a 12 team league.

  8. thiku says:

    Probably no one cares enough to follow the Canada National Teams’ schedules!

    Although the u17’s hammered Barbados today….I’ll take any win for our teams at this point.

  9. Paul Chapman says:

    8 franchises will be released at 2 pm.

  10. Gregor says:

    So for club teams who want to play Gold Plus (let’s be honest, this league is far more like current gold than current Metro/Selects) they will need to get approval from their District and then all those approved by the District (which of course means there will still be some District teams) will go to, assumedly, a committee formed from the new MSL Board to decide which groups will get to play in this league.

    I will say right now that if VYSA uses their ‘gatekeeper’ status to ensure that only a District (ie. VFC) team is green lit to go to the final selection phase of the second tier league and they know that Vancouver players are going to have to pay anything close to the $1300 they currently pay to play Metro/Selects to play at this level, I will make sure they hear my displeasure…I find it very, very hard to believe that VFC can staff this with coaches that could justify the kind of price tag I’m hearing.

    • Coach rich says:

      I can’t see $1300 at the Metro/Selects as the players and coaches at that level have moved on up to HPL.

      Further with the pending mergers of West side clubs and now the East side clubs there is no reason to have a District run Metro/Selects club. Another reason to not have VFC is it being subsidized but all the clubs in Van as that money is better to stay in their own clubs.

      • Gregor says:

        The anachronistic subsidization of VFC is on its way out. Will be phased out over two years I believe.

    • Canadian Spur says:

      Agree – This is basicallly the current gold league. VFC, Burnaby Selects, North Fraser Selects etc. cannot really justify their existance if they are not at the top tier IMO. I can’t beleive that there is any way they can offer quality paid coaching when (I assume) that their current coaches will all be applying to coach in HPL. Wat will be interesting to see is if these new MSL teams find a way to work with HPL franchise and gain access to HPL coaching via some form of academy or if they do whatever they can to stay away from the local HPL club (a la North Coquitlam/ CMF)

      • Gregor says:

        It’s the Districts that seem to make the decision on these things. In Vancouver the fallback position of VYSA has always been that the east-west divide in the city means you need a neutral body (VFC) to ensure fair team selection so that players don’t get left out because of where they live.

        They fail to accept that our three clubs on the west side ALWAYS pick our teams based on merit and have taken kids from the east side, when they tryout of their own volition, over kids we’ve known for years within our own clubs if we feel they are better. There is no regional bias and it’s a tired, worn out excuse to use for justifying the need for a neutral body to run first tier soccer, never mind second tier soccer.

      • Mark Berry says:

        Re the comments about Burnaby and others not being able to justify their existence if not at the top tier…

        unlike the HPL approach, Burnaby believes in providing quality coaching at reasonable cost to the player. Not only will Burnaby be viable at tier 2, there is every reason to believe that a good percentage of the talent will remain at tier 2 either because they don’t want to pay HPL fees, or because they can’t.

        Some of our coaches have applied to HPL, and some have not. The “paid” coaching side of it is irrelevant – we are at the top of the table across the board, and do not pay our coaches or have a technical director at all. Believe it or not, some quality coaches do believe in community service rather than expanding their pocketbook.

        There also remains the possibility of a tier 2 club such as Burnaby making an effort to compete with HPL franchises for the talent, on the basis of offering parents quality coaching at fair rates.

        More parents than you realize will opt to put the money into their child’s college fund instead of spending it to chase the pro dream that works out for that one kid in a million…

    • Canadian Spur says:


      My point, which addmitttedly I didn’t articulate very well, was that I didn’t see the need for district clubs that aggregate talent at levels below the top tier. I beleive we might be better served with talent remaining in a full service club based environement. Now that the BCPL has come into existance I feel that the continuance of the district based teams catering only to the narrow (relatively speaking) band of tier 2 players only adds to the fragmentaion of youth soccer. I would rather see the amalgamation of clubs that is starting to happen to create stronger, full service entities that can (hopefully) make efficient use of both paid and volunteer resources rather than spread these same limited resources over a multitude of competing entities.

      • Mark Berry says:

        Thats fair enough, and in a perfect world the correct approach. The problem is that district politics in some areas – including Burnaby – make that impossible. The changes that would be required in our area would be met with a big middle finger from the folks in our district at the lower levels…

  11. Gregor says:

    Paul’s just emailed me and said he’ll post it here as soon as he gets the release.

    Busy, busy day traffic-wise. Should’ve signed up for Google Ad-Sense…;)

  12. J Larkins says:

    I am still trying to think through the implications of all this – and maybe I continue to miss something in all the back in forth – so correct me if I am wrong:

    Metro/Selects will be an independent league managed by districts (the existing eleven? – are some districts fielding more than one U13 team?) completely unaffiliated (not even halfway) with HPL and therefore not in any way run by BC Soccer or the Board of Governors of HPL.

    Season will run September to March – which I presume means tryouts in March/April. For U12 entering U13 I guess that means an ambitous kid (or parent) will have an HPL tryout, then Metro/Select tryout, then Gold tryout and this will need to be coordinated. Given the differing seasons, are there potential conflicts between a Metro/Selects team selection and movement in and out of HPL?

    Gold players, and their parents (for the boys side at least) are used to games and travel within their district. So for a District 4 Gold player you would see travel perhaps as far as Squamish but not out to Surrey, Abby or Coquitlam. So this will be a change for many at the current Gold level who move up. Parents of girls are more used to this but is there really a demand from ex-Gold parents to start traveling this fine province in search of weekend soccer for their “good-players-but-not-likely-to-make-a-living-or-fund-an-education-out-of-soccer boys”? I have seen Gold teams with less ambition, and more “other sport” conflicts than some Silver teams.

    Gold is mostly local, inexpensive and volunteer coach based. Metro/Selects is (mostly?) not – although perhaps not historically that expensive. I see Vancouver FC is advertising for coaches for the 2011/12 season – candidates having a Provincial B license at the very least (Gregor – any idea how many of these creatures are lurking around BC these days?). If HPL absorbs most of the best coaches, which I presume it will, and Canadian Spur is correct that Metro/Selects will be volunteer coach based – how many Gold parents will be clamouring to move their kids?, how much will it cost? and how much will districts need to, if at all, subsidize Metro/Selects ?

    I see there is a market, and perhaps a need for HPL. I get it. There has been nothing but speculation on “tier 2” (district) and nothing but resignation as to what will happen at Gold and Silver (club). As this level is where most of us have our kids play, participate as volunteers – either in adminstrators or coach – I am a bit perplexed as to how little thought (or at least communication) had been devoted to this group of the soccer community.

    If at the end of the day Metro/Select is Gold and Gold is Silver and Silver is – whatever. Then did this all just mean we overhauled Metro/Select into HPL and assumed Gold players and their parents will shore-up “tier 2”. Once the “elite” label is taken by HPL how much buy-in is there – again on the boys side – for a relatively expensive, perhaps mostly volunteer coached, somewhat geographically dispersed second tier?

    I am sure I have it wrong but have yet to hear anything suggesting a plan from those looking at Metro/Select, Gold an beyond.

    Anyway – one minute to the announcement.

    • MJ says:

      All of which then begs the question, would 90% of HPL benefits be achieved by more quality control on the Metro/Select league? (ie fewer teams, consistent coaching), while retaining the existing structure and season for all leagues?

    • Gregor says:

      You can get a list of B License (Prov and National I believe) here:

      On the girls side, those playing gold will have virtually the same travel at next year’s second tier as they have now on the assumption that the Island does not participate in a Lower Mainland based second tier league. My U16 team (Pt. Grey) plays SU, Whalley, PoCo, Langley, Golden Ears, Metro Ford, SurDel in addition to closer to home foes like North Shore, Richmond and Burnaby.

      You get used to it when you coach girls divisional.

      • J Larkins says:

        I suppose that is partly my point – I am not sure boys divisional parents are used to that and therefore I am not sure of the assumption that boys Gold will just move to shore-up Metro/Select. Are we going to see the kind of attrition as we see in girls soccer as boys choose high school sports rather than the increased travel, time commitment and cost associated with tier 2 soccer? I do not think that is the reason for girls attrition but it could be the catalyst for boys.

      • TM says:

        That’s only for CSA Licenses (i.e. National B and A).
        There’s no online list of B Provincial coaches that I’m aware of.

      • Gregor says:

        correct. sorry about that.

  13. Paul Chapman says:

    No explanation for delay, but BC Soccer assures me it’s coming soon.

  14. thiku says:

    Probably haven’t reached all of the applicants yet?

  15. thiku says:

    GY – I was just thinking they might inform the applicants prior to sending out press release. ??? Purely a guess on my part.

  16. Rich says:

    I believe that link only gives B Nat. license coaches. Not B Prov. Coaches.

    Having done the Provincial license a couple of years ago I can tell you that it is in no way a good barometer of wether or not a coach can or should deem themselves a ‘professional’ coach. On my course there was probably only 5 or 6 coaches that I would have been happy with as coaches for my kids. Of those, there were 3 or 4 that I would consider worthy of payment. All but 2 of the 18 on the course passed. Generally it was a pretty good course.

    • Gregor says:

      The first thing we were told at my B Provincial was that “you’ve all passed already so don’t worry about it. If they felt you were good enough to get past B Prep you’re good enough to get your B Provincial”.

      Sure enough everyone passed. Even the guy who couldn’t demonstrate a wall pass and the ‘injured’ guy who never kicked a ball the whole week.

  17. thiku says:

    I wouldn’t call them courses so much as tests though, Rich.

  18. southofthefraser says:

    its up

  19. Joe R says:

    The eight founding franchises for the BC Soccer Premier League are:

    Abbotsford Soccer Association;
    Burnaby/ North Shore;
    Coquitlam Metro Ford Soccer Club;
    Lower Island Soccer Association/Upper Island Soccer Association (Vancouver Island);
    South Fraser Soccer Club;
    Surrey United Soccer Club;
    Thompson Okanagan Football Club;

  20. southofthefraser says:

    No surprises, that’s no fun. SudelPeg isn’t going to be happy.

  21. Paul Chapman says:


    Please find Premier League release below:

    …new initiative to support player development through increased levels of competition for top soccer athletes spans representation from more than 80 per cent of provincial population
    VANCOUVER (Thursday, February 17th, 2011) – Eight founding franchises representing more than 80 per cent of the population of British Columbia will form the inaugural roster of entries in the new BC Soccer Premier League announced today by BC Soccer, its Board of Directors and the High Performance League Committee formed to create the new player development initiative.

    The eight founding franchises for the BC Soccer Premier League are:

    • Abbotsford Soccer Association;
    • Burnaby/ North Shore;
    • Coquitlam Metro Ford Soccer Club;
    • Lower Island Soccer Association/Upper Island Soccer Association (Vancouver Island);
    • South Fraser Soccer Club;
    • Surrey United Soccer Club;
    • Thompson Okanagan Football Club;
    • Vancouver/Richmond.

    “We’re delighted to launch the new BC Soccer Premier League on the strength of these eight founding franchises,” said Steve Allen of Surrey, B.C., the member of the BC Soccer Board of Directors who served as Chair of the HPL Committee comprised of 16 soccer leaders from the club, district and league level in BC. “We’re excited to welcome the eight founding franchises to what will be the top tier of soccer competition in the province and we look forward to working with the franchises and our membership to build the BC Soccer Premier League into something special for the game at all levels.

    “Our spirit of intent is to create the best possible conditions for player development and to support Canada’s national team program and strengthen the game throughout BC and across the country,” said Allen. “There is not a better time to be doing that with the support of strong stakeholders such as the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and our membership, especially given the interest, excitement and energy being generated for the game with the debut of the Whitecaps in Major League Soccer and another MLS franchise scheduled for Montreal next year.”

    The BC Soccer Premier League will run a pilot mini-season this fall and launch its first full season in March of 2012, when it will immediately take its place among the major provincial sports leagues in British Columbia. Founding franchises in the new league feature clubs serving players in strong BC sports markets such as Vancouver, Chilliwack, Kamloops and Kelowna in the Western Hockey League and BC Hockey League centres such as Alberni Valley, Coquitlam, Cowichan Valley, Langley, Nanaimo, Penticton, Powell River, Salmon Arm, Surrey, Vernon, Victoria and Westside (Kelowna), along with the American Hockey League hub of Abbotsford.

    “The BC Soccer Premier League will have a tremendous reach and local presence built on the infrastructure of the founding franchises and will be right up there with the leading provincial platforms in other sports,” noted BC Soccer Executive Director Bjorn Osieck of North Vancouver, B.C. “As an example, in our inaugural year, the league will cover 12 of 16 BCHL markets and four of the six markets synonymous with the WHL’s BC Division.”

    The inaugural roster of franchises was accepted by the HPL Committee and submitted to the Board of Directors on recommendations from a selection panel comprised of Paul Barber, CEO of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canadian Soccer Association U17 national team head coach Sean Fleming and Paul Mullen, Director of Operations for BC Soccer and former executive with the English Football Association (FA).
    “This process has created an excitement for the game in our community and throughout the province and we congratulate not only the successful franchises, but all of the applicants for their time, effort and cooperation in putting forward very strong submissions,” said Barber. “With the emergence of the BC Soccer Premier League and the Whitecaps’ launch into Major League Soccer, soccer interest in British Columbia is at an all-time high.”
    The HPL committee brought together a series of key player development principles and alignment with competitive platforms across the country. As an example, the playing season for the BC Soccer Premier League, which will feature divisions of play at the U13, U14, U15, U16 and U17/U18 levels, shall be from March to November.

    “We thank the HPL committee members, our tripartite selection panel and of course our membership, which has been very supportive and enthusiastic about what this will mean for soccer in BC and over the long term, across Canada,” said Charlie Cuzzetto of Vancouver, President and Chair of the Board of Directors of BC Soccer. “The BC Soccer Premier League is certainly about the top boys and girls players in the province but by creating a new tier of play, it will also help improve the game for all players at all levels.”

    — 30 —
    Contact: Bjorn Osieck, Executive Director bjornosieck@bcsoccer.net 604-376-5772
    Steve Allen, Chair, BC Soccer HPL info@bcsoccer.net 604-889-4970

    Yours in Soccer,

    Bjorn Osieck
    Executive Director

    British Columbia Soccer Association
    Suite 510 – 375 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 5C6
    Phone: 604-299-6401 Fax: 604-299-9610
    Web: http://www.bcsoccer.net

    Privileged information may be contained in this message. It is intended only for the person or organization named above and any other use or disclosure is strictly forbidden. If this is received in error, please contact the sender and destroy this message. Thank you.

  22. J Larkins says:

    The only surprise is that somebody change the name of the league. I suppose that will mean we should stop talking about Metro/Selects and refer to them as Championship sides and Gold as Leauge One and Silver as Leauge Two. Just kidding, that actually would not be that bad of an idea though … get away from the Olympic or the old Participaction motif.

  23. Banjo-man says:

    $2 says another 2 people cut and paste the “winners” here before they look up. 😦

  24. thiku says:

    Congrats to all. I’d be intrigued to know how they selected the 7th and 8th spot and decided against the 3 not chosen. 7th and 8th were really the ones up for grabs.

    • Gregor says:

      The person who drew the short straw and got to make the phone calls to the losing applicants (I’ll keep him nameless) supposedly said it was very close between Abby, SurDel, GE/PM and South Fraser for the last spot. Sportstown were really never in the hunt due to being an academy.

  25. Bob says:

    What does youth soccer have to do with WHL and BCHL franchises? Wow thats a real stretch there…

  26. Banjo-man says:

    So let’s see, reps on the HPL committee had ties to a winning club:
    Dalrymple/Clarke/Foden – SU
    Ciaccia – Bby/NS
    Knight/Nicholl – Abby
    Maglio – CMF
    And guys like Lenarduzzi and Findlay who wouldn’t give TSS the time of day if a clock was hanging around their neck.
    So no Surdel/Peg or Alouette/Fraser representation on the “committee”. Why was it a surprise who the franchises would be awarded to? Based on geography and who the committe was, I would have been shocked if it was any other choice.
    Oh yeh, and the review panel of 3 had 2 gents from the UK that know nothing about the local youth soccer scene, and one national coach who proably spends less than 3 days a year here on NTC visits.
    Quality process.

  27. southofthefraser says:

    Good theory Banjo man but aren’t Irvine, Murphy & Kellins all Whitecaps employees now. You’d think on that theory that those connections could have got Surdel Peg that, “up for grabs” 7th or 8th spot.

    • southofthefraser says:

      Especially when they were competing with South Fraser who you have not indicated have connections in ‘the process’… or is that the exception that proves the rule?

      • Banjo-man says:

        Murphy is in a bit of heat with Surrey FC from what I hear: when you drive a club from 3000 members down to 1200, you aren’t still on their speed-dial from the NAP clubhouse so I wouldn’t expect Murphy/Irvine to go to bat for Sudel/Peg especially with all the “issues” out there now. As “w” commented, Rogers and Connors had Tsaw connections which would have helped the south fraser bid

    • Gregor says:

      Somehow I doubt Barber was calling these guys into his office to get their take on why SurDel Peg should get a franchise but the point if maybe fair that influence in the process extends beyond having physical representation on the initial committee.

  28. Sir Alex says:

    What’s with all of the junior hockey references? BCHL, WHL, AHL? “Methinks the lady doth protest too much…” Apparently the powers that be need to justify Abby, the Interior and the Island with hockey references. How relevant is that to high soccer soccer development? How about a franchise for Trail? Weren’t the Smoke-Eaters one of the best amateur teams ever?

    • Gregor says:

      If you’d offered me 100-1 odds on three amateur hockey leagues being referenced in the press realease announcing these HPL franchises I wouldn’t have taken it. Bizarre.

  29. Canadian Spur says:

    Firstly, Congratulations to the succesful applicants. Putting together the application was the easy part. Now the real work begins…building an improved development platform for BC.

    I challenge each group to work together to get this right. This includes working with clubs not in HPL to ensure that every player is provided with equal opportunity of access to HPL and hopefully there can be some trickle down of the HPL development benfits to all levels.

    Time to put aside the politics and rivalries and do what’s best for the players.

  30. Gregor says:

    Ironically I have to take my 8 year old to hockey now but I’ll moderate comments as necessary on my phone until I have to run a practice at 5pm. Traffic’s pretty nuts right now. Already twice as many page view today as the previous daily high.

    Keep it fair but fair doesn’t preclude asking tough questions and making relevant points even if it makes others squirm a bit.

  31. Orphans94 says:

    Anyone know what will happen with 94’s? No Super-Y, and only a quick 3-month HPL season (assuming they even pick 94’s) then no home for them after November. It’s a disappointing finish to a last year of Metro/Selects soccer. Or I guess there’s always the second tier and get the regular Sept/March year. Will any HPL teams select 94’s? If not, will all 94’s decide to play “down”? That’s not a bad option. Anyway, no one’s painted an attractive or plausible picture for us in our last year as we pack our bags to leave youth soccer.

    • MJ says:

      I would sign up for Tier 2 club soccer, finish in March and let the Grad festivities begin (with all the rubles saved)! It should make the U18 leagues strong. The problems will come for the 1995s if they play HPL because they’ll be teamless in November of their gr 12 year and that’s a lot of players for the Tier 2 to absorb mid season.

    • Phil Hernandez says:

      I think you have the timeframes confused (or perhaps I do). The 94s are those currently in U17. They will be eligible to play not only the mini-season this fall but also the entire season next year (2012).

      Also, depending on whether or not they are early or late born 94s, they are eligible for either U16 or U17 in the SYL.

      From page 12 of the USL Super Y-League Handbook, 2011 Season Edition
      Rule 508 – Player Registration Terminology
      U-12 Player => Players born on/after 8/1/98
      U-13 Player => Players born on/after 8/1/97
      U-14 Player => Players born on/after 8/1/96
      U-15 Player => Players born on/after 8/1/95
      U-16 Player => Players born on/after 8/1/94
      U-17 Player => Players born on/after 8/1/93
      USL Super-20 Player => Players born on/after 1/1/91

      Assusming you meant the 93s, then there was a discussion about this in the Poll thread. For the girls, who aspire to college scholarships, the scouting window has traditionally been in the Nov-Mar timeframe (when BCPL will not be operating). They should be going through this right now on their existing Metro teams. In any event, they will not be eligible for this fall’s mini-season (which is not a shortened 2011 season but an early 2012 season).

      94s, who are entering grade 12 in the fall, have a different potentially more difficult choice to make. If they join the BCPL in the fall, they run the risk of being overlooked by universities because of the scouting timeframe. I believe the universities will be forced to alter their scouting practices to accommodate BCPL as they will not want to miss out on the very best players, but that’s just an opinion. It seems regressive to have to play in Metro in your U18 year to ensure you will get scouted. Then again, who knows how many U17/18 BCPL coaches will pass on U18 players knowing they may leave the team prior to the start of the fall phase of the season (because they have gone off to university).


      • Phil Hernandez says:

        I should have said that “[the 93s] will probably not be eligible for this fall’s mini-season…” I have no knowledge that it must be so.


      • Canadian Spur says:


        None of the current BC Y-League franchises offer U17 programs.

      • thiku says:

        Phil, the HPL is following the Jan-Jan calendar, not the Aug-Jul calendar.

      • Phil Hernandez says:

        Oh. Didn’t know that CS, thanks. Still, the 94s are not shut out of BCPL until the end of 2012.

        Thiku – thanks, yes I know. Wasn’t relevant to my point.

      • thiku says:

        Phil, I pointed that out because Orphan and MJ were asking about BCPL (nee, HPL) age groupings and you responded by providing SYL age groupings. Neither here nor there, I suppose. Any kids too old for SYL this summer can attempt to play Super 20, PDL, or PCSL – even the Fraser Valley Men’s Premier League is creating a summer league it appears. There are options for the kids.

    • Phil Hernandez says:

      Reading is fundamental:

      Orphans94 says:
      “Anyone know what will happen with 94′s? No Super-Y, and…”

      • Phil Hernandez says:

        This didn’t format very well. I was quoting orpphans94 evn though it looks like a separate post.

        Thiku – thanks, I get what orphans94 and MJ were on about. I included the Super Y age groupings becuase he made a Super-Y reference which seemed to be in error – it wasn’t, as Canadian Spur pointed out, although it sort of was in that ’94s would be eligible for U17 SYL if U17 SYL were offered here.

  32. thiku says:

    The most dedicated 94’s should be considering adult soccer (u21, Div 1, Prem) after November. Especially those moving on to university.

    • Setup says:

      Yes I would definitely recommend that point of view… I would think that would be the best route to go… And for those 94 players that don’t make HPL…

  33. Colin Elmes says:

    Thanks everyone for your support regarding Sportstown FC’s proposal and subsequent publication. It was fun bantering with you all during this process.We wish all the successful candidates the best of luck with all these short time lines over the next while. The rubber is about to hit the road……… we will be watching as it all unfolds

    • Gregor says:

      There’s definitely some people celebrating tonight who in the morning will soon be asking what they got themselves into…

  34. thiku says:

    Good luck, Colin! HPL would benefit from your knowledge.

  35. Colin Elmes says:

    The hockey references…. yes a little strange. Arent those hockey franchises “owned” by individuals or groups of people( shareholders agghast…..). interesting that there would be comparison there from the non profit soccer world….

    • Coach rich says:

      Yes, that reference to hockey is way, way out there or so far from the mark.

      Not only are the hockey franchises owned they have a franchise fee that the team owners/BOG determines set for new franchises. Basically the league runs things and is independent of the PSO of hockey.

      The BCSA model is basically a gift to certain NPO’s. If the HPL wants to go the hockey Jr A route they will have problems due to how they were created by the PSO vs a group of owners for sports business reasons. Oh well, like Colin I can put my millions into something else now 😉

  36. FlyingHorse says:


    Why don’t you post an updated map of the HPL franchises, with those that are accepted.

    This map will illustrate how BC Soccer has created a large moat around the Indian community with North Delta, SurDel, Surrey FC and CCFC/Whalley being excluded from HPL.

    • K says:

      That’s quite a stretch Flying Horse. The folks in those communities all have an HPL team within 30 minute drive.

      • w says:

        Vanessa Kovaks, Derrik Bassi, Yassin Essa, Jasmine Mander, Taylor Shannik, Monica Lam Fiest, Nicole Segovia, just a few of the players who played either for Surrey FC, North delta, or Surdel in the last few years. Can any other club boast.

        Great job BC Soccer in not including an area which has been KNOWN for producing top quality players at all levels.

      • Gregor says:

        There are others that can make this claim but the point I think you may be trying to make is that not all the successful candidates can make the same claim that SurDel Peg can.

    • RR says:

      Are you suggesting that race came into consideration?? I hope not.

    • Gregor says:

      Long night but this is taking a turn that I think needs to be addressed. I’m not sure I’m the right person to address it though as I’m not fluent in the politics, racial or otherwise, of Surrey soccer.

      The map I did up was done partially out of personal interest and partially because I knew it would elicit a response on what role geography should play in the handing out of franchises. What I didn’t expect was the backlash I got from people in Surrey over the (very arbitrary due to my lack of intimate knowledge of where the Surrey clubs draw from) borders I drew up to differentiate between Surrey United, Central City Breakers and Surrey FC. Easily the harshest response I got (and the only personal attack) was over this (I didn’t print the email).

      What I quickly learned though was that it was less about HPL turf than it was about rights to usage at Newton Athletic Park. I had a few emails from people imploring me to move the border. I already was surprised at how much this had become an HPL blog and I was really not wanting it to turn into a battle over Surrey facilities so I drew a contested area (sort of like Kashmir…) and left it at that.

      I’ll address valleysoccer’s concerns as well but I don’t feel qualified to draw a truly accurate map of where the Surrey clubs draw their players from so I’m not going to try. I will say that it does surprise me that arguments about inclusion and community are being made yet CC Breakers are clearly a heavily Indo club yet did not support the other heavily Indo club’s bid (SurDel Peg). That may be the biggest reason why SurDel Peg did not get a franchise but, again, I’m not knowledgeable enough of the clubs to really know for sure. I said all along that I thought Abby’s bid was dubious if the ability to compete came before geography and I still think that will be something this new league needs to deal with.

      The decision to put a geographic distribution before proven ability to compete at most or all age groups in both genders is a big risk if you’re truly trying to create an elite league.

  37. js says:

    really ? That’s what this is, good grief

  38. mj2 says:

    Commiserations to the Sur del group but now why not post your proposal just like TSS and give the soccer community something to use in holding the other groups accountable?

    • Gregor says:

      I will tell you now there are groups out there that are going to go to great lengths to ensure their applications are never seen by the public.

  39. valleysoccer says:

    Though I am very reluctant to wage into the comments written by Flying Horse, they are essentially factual. It is disappointing in 2011, we have to write to gregor about systemic barriers to inclusion but if the soccer community could take an emotional step back and be objective they would understand and accept the truth.
    For many years, the greatest development with youth players has arguably occurred within the surrey newton area. Just take a look at the number of whitecaps prospects, provincial and ntc players from this demographic area. However, despite the enthusiasm from the ethnic community, there has been a reluctance or grudgingly recognition of important developoment stakeholder. Why, because most feel that despite ethnic members succeeding in every walk of life in BC (business, politics, representation on various boards etc) their has been an historic policy of symbolically accepting this membership without actually respecting their contribution. It is well known, there are double standards for coaches being promoted as somehow we are just not good enough, and until recently getting a knowledgable person to be elected on the various was unheard of. Individuals were either just symbolically appointed or given minor roles whereas others were promoted quickly and without such stigma.

    Some may suggest this is sour grapes or someone playing the race card. Before such comment is made, people should understand soccer is a global game, one which brings communities together, and helps bridge cultural differences. However, ask yourself just how inclusive is our game in BC. Look at the board of directors at BC Soccer for instance, does that represent the diversity of our game? In 2011, it is commonly known accepting diversity is a positive attribute for any business, especially non profits who work with amateur sport. Ask yourselves, how much outreach does BC Soccer, or its membership really do, despite being one of the most diverse sports for youth membership wise. Many in the ethnic community will view this decision with HPL franchises as another negative setback in creating barriers. Some will say hold on, you can travel 30 minutes to another club or franchise. But we are tired on being the outside looking in, tired of the lame excuses to acceptance, tired of being told we are not educated or competent enough to be board members, and most of all tired of the stench underneath the carpet of excluding our participation “without actually saying it.” This is called systemic barriers to participation and inclusion, something the Carter Report talked in volumes about, but no one at BC Soccer or districts has done little about. Why are all these people threatened by the ethnic community and their growth. It is about power silly and simply that. Go back and see the actions of many of the Award Winners from BC Soccer coming from the Surrey Area, and their actions behind closed doors were always to create barriers, and never acknowledge the community. We were labelled high maintenance, and stereotyped, but it is obvious the race card was being played by the clubs/districts in a clever way without being loud about it. Lets be frank, there are issues within the ethnic soccer, but how the hell are you going to go forward and address these issus in a respectful manner, if you keeping talking down and excluding people? I though was a multicultural game, one which is played in South America, Africa and Asia at higher levels than this country.
    Getting back to the HPL, one of the main recommendations of the Carter Report, regarding inclusion with youth soccer, was for BC Soccer to demonstrate leadership and vision in future projects or board composition. The HPL was an excellent concept to celebrate the diverisity of our game, and regrettably, though the power brokers will never openly admit this and become instantly defensive, this is another example of not valueing the contribution of the Surrey Newton/Whalley/North Delta demographic.
    There were even whispers around BC Soccer, that anyone who aligned with the two predominant ethnic clubs would be seen as a liability rather than an unique opportunity to finally bring others to the table. Please understand these are the facts, which some who are even on the board of the HPL cannot accept. Ask yourselves how many provincial players or champions has South Fraser developed versus this demographic.
    Something during this exercise was sorely missed and smells. But for many of us it is a further testament that youth soccer in our area belongs to a certain powerful old boys club, and awarding these franchises just further empowers there mindset.
    Publicly these individuals will say all the right things, but in a private discussion or decision making process you get to see how inclusive they are or willing to open the doors to others.

    Youth soccer has no room for double standards or exclusiveness and please stop blaming the ethnic communities for speaking the truth or asking for their deserved recognition.

    • Gregor says:

      Again, I have a policy, if you can call it that, of not naming people on this blog who comment if they choose not to name themselves but I’ll say that ‘valleysoccer’ is a very well known person in soccer and civic circles and I first met him a long time ago at UBC. His views are not to be dismissed as a bitter person playing the ‘race card’ as he alludes to.

      For me, systemic barriers to inclusion can be seen two ways. Is there access to participation? No, there clearly isn’t. There are thousands of Indo-Canadians playing youth soccer. Is there access to the highest levels? In other words, is there a glass ceiling? And this is what valleysoccer is presenting as an argument. What proves or disproves this? Do the names presented below by ‘w’ indicate that sufficient Indo-Canadian players have rises (via Surrey FC) to the highest levels that you can say there is no systemic barrier to inclusion? Or is Valleysoccer right in that these players have perhaps risen to the top despite barriers and the systemic barriers can really only be applied to organizations rather than individuals.

      I mentioned in my reply to Flying Horse that I thought the Abby bid really needed to demonstrate its ability to compete but I get the feeling that SurDel Peg are going to focus more on the inclusion of South Fraser SC as that’s the club they were likely most competing with. There’s already been insinuations about some of the influential people involved in this process being aligned with South Fraser and some beating around the bush about the demographic makeup of ‘South Surrey’ compared to ‘North Surrey’. Let’s face it, any contentious decision like this involves a fair degree of influence if you want to get ahead. This is where the decision to not meet the applicants really proves to be a mistake. It was an opportunity to be both inclusive and thorough as well as respectful of how much each group had invested in this process and it was casually brushed aside. Groups had already prepared presentations in anticipation of being called in for a follow up. It really came across as a slap in the face.

      I think it’s fair to say that if groups like SurDel Peg, Golden Ears/Pitt Meadows and Sportstown had been given the opportunity to meet face to face it would at least have mitigated the sense of disrespect some of them may now feel and at best have convinced the panel that their bid was worthy of inclusion as an original HPL franchise.

      The leap to inferences of racism though is a big one and as said before there were elements that worked against SurDel Peg that cannot be ignored. Sharply declining registration numbers at Surrey FC for one and the lack of support from neighbouring Central City (another heavily Indo club) did not help them.

      I don’t know why Central City chose to back a longshot like GE/PM over a neighbouring club that they have a strong cultural bond with but they did and to ignore that as a factor in the decision not to award SurDel Peg a franchise is highly relevant if one is to infer that this was a racial issue.

      • SOCCER SURREY says:

        Central City tried very hard and did everything they could by putting aside any differences with SFC but their new President (appointed couple of months ago) said that Central City was “poison” to their bid and they don’t want them included in the application. I was in that meeting. He was so arrogant and confident that they will get the HPL that Central City had no choice except to join someone who welcomed them with open arms. CCFC now CCB (Central City Breakers) are very happy with GE/PM group and will continue to work with them
        in future trying to develop players at grass root level.

  40. valleysoccer says:

    With all due respect, I am NOT suggesting in any way there was any overt racism in the decision making process. I personally have been fortunate to served on various committees from a multicultural perspective, and have studied this field with considerable research. This includes recieving the National Race Relations award for chairing a Task Force on intercultural inclusivity. As such, I do not use words such as racism, without some fact, as it is a term which is regrettable loosely used and sometimes without merit. In my opinion this is rather a case, of once again an amateur sport not understanding or recognizing its decision making process needs to be reflective of its diverse membership whether it is demographic or ethnic based.
    Simply terming this as racism is actually an excuse to escalate an sensitive and not focus on what has been neglected with the announcements. Youth soccer is the most diverse sport in BC, yet one of the most archaic in its thought process and cultural sensitivity. Most are aware in the Surrey Newton area, of how clubs even changed agm dates, or awarded questionable coaching assignments due to the threat of the perceived “ethnic invasion.” When you look at other amateur sports such as football, basketball and youth hockey, soccer is last in terms of embracing diversity. This is a fact, and mainly due to the reason that many in powerful positions in youth soccer have a “certain archaic mindset” which is not up with the times of how other businesses or sports integrate diversity.
    My comments once again are not personal, but a position based on real experience, fact, listening to the offensive comments of many of these leaders and also seeing their actions firsthand. There are threatened by the ethnic composition of youth soccer in certain areas, and believe the only way to address this is via iron fist and a narrow vision which has no relevence in today’s society.
    I give you another example, I attend the NCAA convention in the USA every year, and there they celebrate diversity by recognizing the various cultural components of their membership. They understand outreach is required, and bring others into the umbrella with sincerity. Many years ago you never saw hispanic or african american players or coaches being promoted or recognized. But the americans recognized this is your “new player” in various regions and revamped their vision and attitude. There staff and board composition is very diverse and believe me it is not by accident but a recognition that in the past “they neglected to include this segment.” In BC or most parts of Canada, we are stuck in our old ways and historical anglo though processes that “we know best or otherwise there is the door.”

  41. valleysoccer says:

    I accidently hit the send button and my closing thought, is when we actually forget or neglect to bring everyone into the tent, the sports loses out. The sport also does not maximize its potential. I would like nothing more to see along with these new pathways and HPL’s, also a new refreshing openness with our soccer leaders. This is however not the case and only leads to further polarization and lack of trust. Once again, this is not over racism, but rather more a case of ignorance, lack of cultural understanding or appreciation of diversity amongst the decision makers, and not taking adherring to the recommendations of the Carter Report in BC Soccer being perceived or actually being more inclusive in the area of diversity.
    Soccer is a great sport for kids, and it is truly a shame that its administration is sorely lacking foresight or acknowledgment of this area whereas in every other facet of our society it is a given.
    I am sure the critics will roll up their sleeves and attack my personally or suggest I am to blame, but the facts speak for themselves, and I am not naive on this topic as some have suggested in the past. I do not want special treatment etc as will be suggested but recognition on merit and a level playing field.
    Please do not distort the facts as it is time proactive leadership occurred which will create more harmony rather the old style iron fist and retribtution for those who have the courage to speak out of line.

  42. Colin Elmes says:

    Sportstown FC has no disrespect for this process. We, like others I believe, will be given an audience with Allen and Mullen( disappointed no technical person in meeting !) next week some time to go over our “scorecard” and get feedack on our presentation.

  43. NEXT TO GOD says:

    To further what Flying Horse said about the “moat”

    The whole HPL process was flawed. The “Chairperson” is the same one who as Chair of a large Girl’s District refused to sign off on the Indo Canadian Tournaments for the girls while the boys (SMSA) has never refused to do so.

    The same Chairperson tried at a BCSA AGM to have the Indo Canadian Tournaments pay a fee per player for their Summer Tournaments.

    Through all the process he had secret meetings with groups and informed them they were in, sounds transparent to me.

    As ValleySoccer has stated this is a big issue and not finished yet

    Hold onto your seats, it will be rough!!

  44. valleysoccer says:

    my question to BC Soccer and the districts who were involved in the Carter Report, what was the purpose to engage in this public display with Sport BC and the provincial government, when you never had any sincerity or desire to ever implement any of the recommendations provided by an objective third party. An individual highly respected by Sport BC who was one of the best deputy ministers in the province was asked to chair this task force and provide direction for positive change.
    Was this just an public relations excercise to find a “clever tool” to find a way out of a difficult situation, as many allegations had been rightfully exposed. How many of the current board of BC Soccer have ever read the Carter Report and why not. Were any of the recommendations of the Carter Report even considered by the various committees of the HPL and why not. Or is it just a case of “we know best and always will,” and allow this report to collect dust.
    So on one hand the various stakeholders ask for good faith to engage in a process, which included sport bc and the provincial government but in the end, as usual failed to deliver change or proper implementation in order to ensure their power within the demographic area remained.
    Wow what a great way to build trust with your membership.

  45. Coach rich says:

    I don’t know what is going on in Surrey but why do we have to call these clubs ethnic clubs as it just makes things worse?

  46. SOCCER SURREY says:

    I agree with Coach Rich. These are not ethnic clubs.

    • crazy times says:

      Maybe not ethnic clubs, but large percentage of the area in Surrey is Indo Canadian for sure and I would imagine that translates into soccer membership.

      Personally I am not familar with the inner workings as some seem to be, but if
      any of this true its not good.

      It also seems like now is the time for Surdel Pegasus and CCFC to put their differences aside and work together.

  47. J says:

    not to fan the flames, particularely as it doesn’t really affect me either way as far as I can see ( and I do live in Surrey ) but there is at least one youth team that I’m aware of that by ALL definition would be deemed an “ethnic team”.

    Does the ethnic divide / diversity affect how the HPL selection process went down? I dunno.

  48. crazy times says:

    The question is should it?

    If there is a geographic sensitivty, why not ethnic?

    My preference would have been to take the best 8 bids PERIOD.

  49. J says:

    Hmmmm…..deep question.

    My answer is No, it shouldn’t. The best all around bid should get the franchise.

    Re geography, besides the Island and Okanagan, how big was geography a factor really here in the lower mainland anyway?

    There were only so many applicants bidding for the local 6 franchises….I could see more argument re the geography issue if there were a higher number of bidders who lost out on a franchise, example; if there were like 25 applicants, then one might be able to site ‘this franschise in Surrey should have got one over NVan’ and ‘this franchise in Maple Ridge should have got one over that one in South Surrey’.

    What I am saying is that I think geography played ‘some’ part but wasn’t the primary criteria. With only 9 local bidders and 6 franchises being awarded, the limited numbers in the end could almost unavoidably ‘appear’ to be geographically based even if they were not.

    Not sure if I’m making my ideas clear…


    • crazy times says:

      I would say a geography played a role.

      From those who I have talked to from various clubs, Abby was/is weak but got in because of the geography. (sorry Abby people, just reflecting opinions that I am hearing).

      It’s hard to really know without seeing the bids.

  50. Sir Alex says:

    Getting back to the 2nd tier and focused exclusively on U16 Girls – which will likely be indicative for the other ages and genders:

    Metro – 11 Teams
    Gold 1 – 12 Teams
    Gold 2 – 11 Teams

    Assuming each Metro team carries 18 players, that’s a total of 198 girls at this level.
    Assume that each Gold team carries 16 players, that’s a total of 368 girls at this level.

    Going forward
    7 BCPL Teams (not including the Interior to make the comparison relevant)
    Assuming that each BCPL team carries 18 players, that’s a total of 126 Girls

    The difference between the current Metro situation and BCPL is 72 girls (currently playing Metro) who will be playing at tier 2

    Tier 2
    With the limitations listed earlier in this post, U16 will be limited to 12 teams and assuming that each of these teams will carry 18 players means that 216 girls will participate at tier 2.

    The player cascade:
    126 BCPL
    216 Metro/Selects

    224 Former Gold players now demoted to … Silver?

    Is it just me, or does it seem punitive and short sighted to limit tier 2 to only 12 teams?
    We’re curtailing the access to play at the second level, we’re still enforcing district limitations and closing borders (3 out-of-district players only per team) and we’re expecting to develop players to feed the BCPL?

    Since this forum seems to be an active place for the exchange of suggestions and ideas hopefully the district chairs will reassess the limitations placed on the 2nd tier. I think that in the short term (2-5 years) the negative stigma – and when I say negative stigma, I mean for gold players who consider themselves more than rec soccer players – will cause many of these players to drop out of soccer or at least not devote themselves to soccer.

    Hopefully the discussion will get back on track regarding being open and inclusive when it comes to where players can CHOOSE to play.

    • Canadian Spur says:

      Agree with you Sir A. I don’t think we need these limits on tier 2, particularily, as you rightly point out, with the disctrict boundaries and rule 23 remaining in place. This is even more pronounced on the boys side due to smaller districts. If we are limited to 12 teams and there are 11 boys districts (assuming Upper and Lower Island are participating) then we get one tier 2 team per district plus one more. I am sure there are several districts that could filed more than one competitive MSL team. This is going to create a lot of dissention at the district level as they get to approve who gets in and who doesn’t. With a BCPL club like CMF effectively contolling Westminster District, what happens to Port Moody or North Coquitlam’s current gold teams. Will they now be limited to Tier 3. I’m sure the same kind of example could be made in other districts that I am less familiar with. How will clubs react when they are told that not only did they not get a BCPL franchise but now you can’t have a a team in the MSL either?

      Why not remove the limit and tier the league after Thanksgiving as is done in some cases now if the concern is the compettitiveness of a tier 2 league with unlimited entries.

      Using the same U16 age group on the boys side, there are 12 Select A teams (i’ll assume that the Select B teams are U15 aged for now) and 28 gold teams. I won’t bother doing the math but as you can imagine the impact is even greater than on the girls side.

    • Gregor says:

      The 224 players left out of BCPL and MSL would just stay in gold (or Div 1 according to the proposed BCCGSL changes for next season that replaces Gold, Silver and Bronze with Div 1-5….there’s another thread for conversation right there).

      Those 224 players neatly form a 14 team Gold/Division 1 division (16 players each). Gold’s not going away. It won’t be a drop from MSL to Silver. The reality of course is that it’s a Gold 2 league as the better gold players have moved to MSL and the better Metro players have moved to BCPL.

      Also, maybe not the best example to use because there’s no BCPL U17 division so these U16 girls next season will be trying out for a U18 BCPL team. Wondering if MSL will mirror BCPL this way or if they will continue to run separate U17 and U18 divisions.

      • Canadian Spur says:

        MSL plans to continue with separate U17 and U18 divisions from what I have been told.

      • Canadian Spur says:


        you could end up with some very strong “gold” teams due to restictions on number of MSL teams combined with rule 23. Players with the abilty to play at MSL level could be denied the opportunity as a result of these restrictions. The risk going with unlimited number of teams is of course weak team and watered down competition in MSL.

        Pperhaps a compromise would be to increase the out of district player limit fom MSL teams.

  51. MJ says:

    Branding is everything. As in other provinces it could end up as T1, T2 …. Even if we stick with the same names, T3 will be Gold (although it reality it will be Gold-)

    One factor that might muddle things up is the number of top players that choose not to play HPL, making the “lower” levels quite competitive.

  52. Soccer reporter says:

    A few comments in regards with Newton being left out. Lets be honest every person who is to blame should own up and take blame for it. No question that the ethnic comunity got shut out in this process. It is time for the whole indo canadian comunity to take a pause and reflect on why it’s leaders always cry after the fact. Why couldn’t they agree to work toghter. I see someone here posted the fact that CCFC was called poison and this person happens to be present in that meeting. Why would someone do that, If that happed was flying horse part of that meeting. If so than why blame BC Soccer.
    If that is not true than the CCFC boys should have made it work with SFC.
    The fact of the matter is that this news is going to leave long lasting impact in the soccer circles of BC
    BC Soccer has basically announced that there is one less of those so called Super club in BC.
    The two clubs in NEwton should smell the roses and find a way to work togther. Club internal diffrences can we sorted out on their own time but on the bigger picture they should have not given BC Soccer the perfect answer which they provided now by not working togther.

  53. FlyingHorse says:

    I agree that in the long run it’s healthier for the two clubs to work together. A good example is how the Coquitlam Club(s) and Metro-Ford shacked up several years ago. Before that it was not pretty …

    In Surrey the landscape is a bit different and perhaps more difficult. For the betterment of the players and Surrey Soccer community at large I’d love to see a good working relationship between the two clubs. Baby steps though …

  54. FlyingHorse says:

    With regards to BC Soccer effectively shutting the Indian Community in Delta + Surrey out of HPL, this is a very bad decision IMHO.

    “valleysoccer” has basically called it as it is. BC Soccer and the 3 different committees (HPL Committee – 15 members, Pre-Screen Panel – 5 members, Selection Panel – 3 members) only had one visible minority – Jeff Clarke. Tell me how this looks as an outsider looking in!

    Personally I am and will encourage our stakeholders at SurDel Pegasus to take the high road.

    However, the community is riled up – let’s just say that the phone calls I’ve received and been privy to in the last 24 hours do not bode well for BC Soccer and this ever-changing HPL Selection process. Has BC Soccer posted an appeal process yet? That would be a massive step to diffuse the powder keg.

    • Gregor says:

      Colin has indicated they are going to sit down with the unsuccessful applicants and go through the process and their applications and give them feedback.

  55. FlyingHorse says:

    Colin is bang on – We got that promise from BC Soccer at SurDel Pegasus as well. Of course there was no date set (???).

    But then again we also got the promise to have an opportunity for a presentation. That rug got pulled out from everyone even with a planned date for the presentation.

    So do I share Colin’s optimism that this “feedback session” will come to fruition? Hmmm …

    • Canadian Spur says:

      I never got the sense that there was “promise” of applicants being able to make a presentation, only the possibility ofbeing asked. To echo Grogor’s thoughts I think would have been a good idea to have the presentations to help remove the cloud of suspicion that the succesful applicants were predeteremined. (I wonder if any used the back of the napkin application that Colin alluded to in another thread 🙂 )

  56. crazy times says:

    that’s a reasonable point about an appeal process. The soccer community needs this to be right.

    Why not let a 9th club in and have a criteria that affords BC Soccer the right to reduce the number in a year or two based on predetermined performance indicators?

    That 9th spot should be conditional on a new proposal from Surdel Pegasus AND CCFC.

    Lets be honest Surrey has the player base to handle it.

    Just a thought.

    • Gregor says:

      If you want to bring it down to just a numbers argument, It’s pretty hard to justify three franchises in Surrey when Vancouver and Richmond (about 10 000 players) and North Shore/Burnaby (not sure but probably also around 10 000 players) are getting one franchise.

      Others, like the four groups mentioned above, all felt they could compete without being ‘encouraged’ to put in joint applications.

      • w says:

        Is it?
        U13 Gold: (u14 next year)
        1st Place: SBAA
        3rd Place: SFC Peg
        4th plce: Surrey Utd
        6th place: Semi

        U14 Metro(u15 next year)
        1st place: Surrey Utd/Guild
        2nd Place: SurDel
        6th: SLT United

        U15 metro(U16)
        2nd Place: Surrey FC Revolution
        3rd Place: Tswassenn
        7th Place: SBAA
        9th Place: SEMI

        U16 Metro:(U17/U18)

        4th place: Semi
        7th: Surrey UTD
        10th: SurDel

        U17 Metro: (u17/u18 )
        3rd place: Surrey FC

        Your telling me that South Fraser would be more competitive than Surdel Peg?!!

  57. crazy times says:

    How many players are in Langley, Surrey, Delta?

    Are you saying that someone encouraged partnerships? Who would that have been? Surely not someone on a committee that was maintaining political distance 😉

  58. Coachrich says:

    A solution for those clubs that got left out is to change their bylaws and become academies. Or create academies that service their clubs members. Then these new academies can create their own academy league.

    There are academy leagues in Ontario and the academies (SAAC members) are OSA members. Also, in the USSF structure, 1 of the 4 youth national pathways is a academy pathway.

    Just because BCSA decides to do something with one group of the soccer community doesn’t mean the others have to disappear. The concept of free market and soccer development is all above who has the better program for a certain client. TSS, Tulis and others success speaks to this.


    • Canadian Spur says:

      Coach Rick,

      Creating a rival league is not a solution. That just creates greater division. We need solutions that bring the soccer community together, not drive them apart.

      • K says:

        Agreed. However, if an Academy can provide a good environment why not be allowed to join current leagues?

      • Canadian Spur says:

        K, I have no issue with academies joining the current leagues, although the distinction between academies and clubs starts to get a bit blurry at that point.

  59. Outside Looking In says:

    As somebody not involved with the process whatsoever and just a parent of a girl playing soccer at a high level, I must say that this entire situation is baffling at times.

    I am still confused as to why the new HPL league is a much better alternative than the current ‘highest’ level of soccer was in our area. I understand in theory how combining teams together can improve the competition and allow for a higher level of coaching to be reached. However that would make more sense if you were talking about 24+ teams merging down into 8 powerful teams with say 16-24 feeder teams pushing the players at the HPL level each year. I simply do not see enough Metro teams to worry about consolidating them down to an elite eight and here’s the reasons why.

    1. Not every parent is made of money. Many of us have multiple children in multiple activities. There is only so much income that we can put aside for kids’ activities and a $2000+ registration fee will definitely rule out some of those ‘top-level kids’ in certain areas of British Columbia. With travel expenses and other fees that come up during the season, I am sure you are talking about a bill that will approach $5000 for one child to play the sport. Metro was a more affordable alternative for the players to compete, learn, battle hard and thrive against their fellow talented peers.

    2. Other Sports: Here is where I believe this new idea is a very poor one. It is a fact that kids that are awesome at a certain sport often are capable of playing and doing well in multiple sports. Now maybe I heard incorrectly but if players joining HPL are forced to choose between this and football, baseball / softball and any other sports that conflict with the time line, another percentage of these best kids will be lost. You can have a child that is fantastic at soccer yet enjoys one of the other sports more. You are forcing that child to fore-go the highest level of soccer to stay with the other sport.

    3. Traveling to other districts. Another part overlooked with this entire process is the percentage of players and parents that are loyal to their own clubs. Sure many players / parents will always go and try out in order to make Metro / HPL elsewhere but there are some that will stay with their own club whether their top team is Metro or Gold. You will also be missing out on those players

    4. Teams staying together. This one here is massive. By failing to have some of the biggest Clubs out there uninvolved with the HPL, I am willing to bet that entire teams out there will stay together, play at a METRO level instead, sign up for the top US tournaments to stay sharp and be at least the equal of the so-called top-tier.

    Factor in all those points and I really struggle to understand the point of this entire venture. As I said I have no stake in this other than the plight of my daughter. I asked her what she thought about this stuff and she simply said

    “Dad, I just wanna play.”

    That is from a girl on a successful team in the top category of her age group. It is the parents and executives bringing the drama and such to the table. The kids ‘just wanna play’

    Just my two bits. Love reading through this and I do have a little better understanding of what this is all about now.

    • K says:

      Some interesting points. Can I take a crack at them?

      A) Why merge the teams? Some suggest metro/select is watered-down. But more-so it is about ensuring the players at the highest level are all receiving adequate attention, training, exposure etc. BCPL is about more than just giving these boys and girls a good youth league to play in. I could go on…

      Re: #1 – Yes, this is a difficult reality for some. The number of kids in SYL and the added numbers that tryout for SYL might suggest there are enough talented players with financial means. I’ll leave it up to the clubs themselves and/or the league to provide potential solutions for those unable to afford it but are talented enough to participate.

      Re: #2 – This one really bothers me. Kids who are “elite” in soccer but actually only play at the elite level because they happen to be good enough AND it doesn’t interfere with their other interests. Well, frankly, boohoo. I don’t know any adults that can have their dream job in winter, and their other dream job in summer. Make a choice. Well, unless your child happens to be Neon Deion? It’s a lesson kids need to learn and one parents fail to teach far too often these days. “Giving them everything I didn’t have” can often backfire….if not managed properly. To me this phrase refers to education, house & home life, friendships, family etc. Not “play all the sports you want….”

      Re: #3 – This is a reality with metro/select as well. I’d be surprised if every metro team had the 5-player out-of-district max. Lots of Gold players are good enough for metro but remain in their home district.

      Re: #4 – It’s possible.

      You also have to keep in mind the change of calendar so BC will actually send relevant teams to the club national cups in November. Reasons for BCPL go on and on…

      • MJ says:

        Outside looking in– I tend to agree.

        Metro watered down? Usually there’s a weak team or 2 in each age group. If they were removed the total number of teams isn’t much different than HPL. Perhaps a more judicious entry process would fix that.

        It’s easy to say that if you don’t want to play year round you shouldn’t be here, but it remains to be seen what the demand is, relative to $300 Metro/Gold play and a chance for other sports and summer vacations. BCPL literature suggests a 40 game schedule, that’s a big jump from the current 20 or so. You are also excluding kids from school sports too given the physical demands of this league.

        Although the interest in Super Y is used as an example for BCPL demand i think if you look closely, there’s a lot of Metro players that skip this option (and expense) especially at the older ages. There’s younger kids and gold players filling Super Y rosters.

        I don’ t understand the argument of the benefit for the BCPL to match the rest of the (currently frozen) country– what does winning Club Nationals have to do with development? In fact, the lure of Nationals will lead to more recruiting/poaching..

      • K says:

        Hi MJ – I should have noted – my opinion is not from an authoritative point of view. Just how I see it. I am open to being proven wrong. I know in my neck of the woods kids are very excited…Eastern Fraser Valley.

      • Outside Looking In says:

        Thanks for response K. There is only one answer here that troubled me greatly. Making Kids choose a sport is correct? Seriously? Do you realize in the States where the sports programs are clearly miles ahead of our own in the schools that the best athletes LETTER in 4+ sports.

        That said, my point wasn’t that you are making them do it but rather you will lose a percentage of those players that will not choose soccer over the other sports…

        Summing this up, you have a finite percentage of top-level talent. If a percentage decline to play due to cost, another percentage due to sport conflict, another percentage due to club loyalty and finally team loyalty, I am wondering how strong the new league structure will ultimately be.

        I know our parents were never approached for a parent/player feedback in regards to this pretty huge change in the landscape. I hope somebody got the feedback somewhere at the parent/player level before going through with this.

        That said, it is obviously going to happen and has created a buzz of sorts which is never a terrible thing.

        Best of luck to all involved. Will be an interested year of soccer coming up.

    • Mark Berry says:

      I cannot overstate how strongly I agree with everything “OutsideLookingIn” has said…

      • Mark Berry says:

        Oh and as for getting parent feedback? They didn’t even bother to attempt to get feedback from the existing clubs and districts, never mind the parents… this was closed shop and railroaded from the start…

      • K says:

        Mark – every district chair (and board?) was met with.

        Outside – You took my position too far and too sternly. Playing multiple sports is great!!! I of course played many many, as did my brother, and dad. I can’t state that clearly enough. My position was merely regarding elite. I actively encourage my players to join multiple sports and even named specific sports that would help them with their soccer-specific development. I was also saying if it comes down to it, than yes, these are the kinds of lessons parents must teach their children.

        And re: the Americans – I wouldn’t say they are particularly ahead of Canada. We just set the record for most Gold’s at a winter Olympics and we did it with 10% of their population. Too many times folks look at the States and say “they have won so much more.” The problem there is percentages are not compared. We can’t possibly think we’ll always have as many elite athletes or “wins” as they do – they outnumber us 10-1. What USA does much better than us though is spend comparatively much more to support their athletes, and they also trumpet successes far better than we do.

    • Gregor says:

      Don’t forget that right now in Metro you have kids who are in Prospects playing in the league and next year they will be pullled and not playing BCPL. Pulling approx 20 impact players from each age group will also take away from the league being substantially stronger than Metro/Selects is right now.

  60. John Z says:

    Thanks Gregor for hosting this discussion. I’ve been watching/reading it constantly and it really is a ‘live-wire’ site for very important BC soccer issues – for parents, players, coaches and *sigh* administrators.

    ‘Outside Looking In’ was spot on about other sports. School sports – track, etc … this
    will be tough for our young athletes in high school to choose. How many chances do you
    get to compete in big high school track meets? Will you have to give that all up to compete at the top level of soccer? Probably yes it looks like.

    On the HPL franchises … perhaps the 9th franchise isn’t that bad of an idea? A weekend bye every 9 weeks may be a welcome relief to help get over injuries and have the odd weekend open to other sports. If the odd number is such a big problem, perhaps there is a diplomatic solution to the difficulty in Surrey.

    Why don’t clubs join up after the fact? I expected BCSA to politely suggest to certain franchise applicants – to join up and succeed rather than be left out in the cold. So, do it! This is really quite simple and then everyone wins. SurDelPeg join ( pledge resources, coaches, facilities, etc.) to the South Fraser bid – joining Ladner and Twas.
    CCFC/Breakers join up with Surrey United. Golden Ears/Pitt Meadows join up with Coq.Metro-Ford. Make it happen and create three outstanding Super Clubs (franchises) that all players and coaches can benefit from. Why not? Sure it’s not easy, but it is simple and logical. The resulting 3 – Super Clubs would be overflowing with talent, professional coaches and resources. Simple solution … yes, maintaining playing opportunities for all players whatever their backgrounds or affiliations, check … working together to focus on ‘players’ … (player first model) … check … maintaining a highly competitive level for soccer … check, everyone happy … well, bury the us vs. them and work together … then maybe people can focus on the game and development and not on the politics. I guess it’s too simple to really work … or is it???

    Take it Surrey Super-Clubs and run with it … the resulting teams could end up being the strongest in the country.

    Last note – for Mark Berry – everyone should remember where the best female player in the world comes from – yup, Christine Sinclair from Burnaby!

    And to Colin, very impressive bid! I was hoping Sportstown would join up with the Vancouver/Richmond bid to really blow their socks off – top level pro-coaches and facilities that could add to the Van/Richmond franchise. Maybe it can still happen?
    Also, please note in Gregor’s blog banner photo – V is proudly wearing her TSS jacket!

    Let’s focus on the players!

    • K says:

      John – Re: the 3 clubs not selected being encouraged to join with selected franchises. Wouldn’t the top players from those 3 be seeking a spot with a selected franchise anyway? Most likely won’t the coaches as well? I also tend to think too much is being made of these “alliances.” Kids will go and play wherever they see it is best for them and their family, and not where their local club suggests is best for them – there are exceptions to all rules obviously.

  61. Colin Elmes says:

    K. Coaches wont be “seeking spots in HPL” from Sportstown FC. We have enough going on with TSS at this moment.

    9th franchise. it would make a mockery(further) of this process. and then who would it be?

    If Surdel Pegasus was one of the chosen 8 would they be supporting a 9th for South Fraser? or the other two for that matter?

    This is like player performance selection being the significant criteria for playing time on a team. Parents support this at the elite level until their kid is the one sitting out and then suddenly they have a problem with your philosophy…..

  62. Outside Looking In says:

    K… respectively, you cannot take the ‘winter’ olympics and compare us to the United States when it comes to the development of athletes. Winter Sports for Americans ranks somewhere between bowling and lawn darts.

    Have you been down to an American soccer tournament and seen the amount of money and time they are willing to throw into those events? And that is soccer which is not even on the radar when it comes to the big USA sports (climbing but still not holding a candle to football, baseball and basketball). Americans and their governments are not afraid to throw hundreds of millions of dollars into the training of their athletes and that is why they are ahead.

    Unfortunately, in Canada, training of the top athletes is becoming a case of the haves and have nots. If you have money, we’ll open the door for you and let you in to train with the best. If not, well there is always the next tier.

    You will NEVER develop all of the top players in British Columbia until it is made more affordable for all of the players. I see this as a step back putting BC (and more importantly) Canadian soccer on the map. Even more kids will be unable to play at the highest level (whether not quite at the top-128 player rank (small number of players when you factor in 48+ coming from weaker areas of the province [sorry Okanagan, Vancouver Island and Abbotsford – just my opinion], money or other factors). I worry it will be the HPL that will be watered down while the 2nd tier remains somewhat strong.

    Finally, do not underestimate the rivalries already out there on the soccer map at the age of 12, 13 and 14 years old. Players and parents are proud of their teams and their clubs and have feelings for both. Leaving those for a former rival will not happen for many of those players in my opinion.

    Anyways as I stated already, good discussion at the very least. Myself personally, I am going to leave the decision of what to do next year in the hands of my girl. She has already told me she wants to stay with her team / friends so if the majority of the girls on the squad agree, she will be with them no matter what ‘level’ that is deemed to be.

    • K says:

      OK – You’ve taken what I said and gone way off track with the intent of what I was suggesting. Note – “suggesting”. Feel free to email me to discuss further.

      I am not disagreeing with you re: Americans and financial support for their sports. Merely suggesting one can’t directly compare USA and Canada. A more appropriate comparison might be Australia….who definitely support sporting ventures far better than does Canada. Just basing this comparison as being more appropriate on population and then also considering financial standing of the country.


      Again, playing multiple sports is very healthy. BUT, I have a different perspective. If a kid is excellent at two sports, and they conflict, the kids has to pick. It’s a life lesson and it’s important. To me. Same in that they have to prioritize school, family, and social development. Anyway, back to BCPL.

      • K says:

        Oh, and of course have to balance how much activity a child gets. Too many sports can also be harmful. Physiologically. It’s a fine balance between life and sports – each family needs to find its own unique and appropriate balance. No hard and fast rules.

  63. BL says:

    Outside looking in – you should be running a club, district, or ideally BC Soccer.

    One major problem in this process is that the stakeholders engaged (at the important levels of the process) all share the same mindset; the same view points solve the same problems, the same way. Additionally, the leader of the process has his own political agenda and wanted/needed certain outcomes.

    This is further evidenced by the point previously brought up re: representation on the committee and the ultimate selection of clubs.

    I actually agree with the concept of concentrating the talent and providing better training and competition, but if that isn’t acheived because of cost or clubs (OK, ABBY, Island) that don’t have the best players, what’s the point?

    BC Soccer has expected the applicants to dig deep to produce their bids, which I bet all clubs did a reasonable job and learned along the way, but has BCSA done to improve their end? They didn’t really follow their own process (which was/is a moving target) and nobody even knows on what basis the bids were evaluated.

    This Surrey situation is a classic. The reason it’s a mess is that there was no prereleased scoring system and absolutely no transparency. I think one or two people decided, likely before the applications went in, how it was going to pan out. Now you have a club on the outside stirring things up (and I can see their point) but it’s not improving the soccer landscape.

    What was a good concept is now farsical.

    What would be interesting is to send all 11 bids to someone completely independant (other Country/Province) and get them ranked purely based on content. If you did this with a few different people you may see that the process in BC was flawed, whether intentional or not.

    My child will continue to play in the best environment, which will be based on enjoyment and coaching. If this happens to HPL that’s OK, but if not no problem.

    • Mark Berry says:

      In response to the suggestion that the Districts were met with…. the reality is that the Districts received BC Soccer’s HPL proposal via email at 11pm the night before the meeting to “discuss” said proposal… At that meeting the proposal was quickly railroaded through, with only Burnaby’s chair asking any questions, and being quickly shot down… if that’s your idea of open consultation, I might point out to you that Egypt is currently looking for a new ruler… perhaps you might apply!

      Someone asked me to elaborate on the process concerns… I could go on for pages, but the Coles Notes version is that BC Soccer kept all HPL / Whitecaps discussions in camera at their board meetings, proceeded to appoint a technical staff heavy / district (elected) rep light committee, rammed the committee’s report down the throat of the member districts, and bullied everyone into voting yes by creating a situation where people feared that dissent would jeapordize their chances at a top tier (HPL) franchise. Brilliant in a sense, but open and accountable? In their dreams…

      At this point, there is a very real chance that the top two boys teams in one of the metro divisions will choose to give HPL the middle finger and stay at “tier two”… factor in the other reasons for people to decline, and this league could end up being a huge joke…

      • Canadian Spur says:


        Would having your top Burnaby Select teams dominate lesser teams in tier 2 be good for your boys development?

      • Coach rich says:

        Canadian Spur, Is the fact that we are in a user pay system good for development?

      • Canadian Spur says:

        Coach Rick, user pay may not be the best option but until someone else decides to step up and foot the bill, what choice is there?

  64. J says:

    doesn’t all this complaining about this or that bidder not getting a franchise just prove that these people are largely looking at their own interests and that of their CLUB first with less focus being on the player. IE; the whole idea is to put “the player first” right?

    I for one, who has a child who will be trying out for HPL / BCPL was actually not TOO concerned about whether OUR club got one. Don’t get me wrong, we love the club and are supporters of it and we wish the best for the organization as a whole BUT, if our club didn’t get one, I simply knew that we would be going to the next closest ( or best ) club with a franchise for tryouts. “Player first”?

    All or most of the Elite players who currently belong to a club that did not win a franchise will be doing the same, “player first”.

    Now, I’m not naive or think that the clubs who didn’t win their bid should be happy about this and of course they feel they deserve a franchise and should have the right to rep the BCPL and “retain” most of “their” Elite girls but in the end, the Elite players will be served…..somewhere.

    “Player First”

  65. Coach rich says:

    Canadian Spar – “Creating a rival league is not a solution” but that’s exactly what the BCPL is when you look at it’s impact on Metro and Selects. Also, the BCPL is the same people, same clubs, same political status quo and etc that could have made changes to the system years ago. Only diff now is time of the year, a select few clubs and more cost to players being put into a smaller package.

    So far, BCSA’s program is looking better than the OSA “Elite Youth Development League” which was way, way too expensive – http://ontariosoccer.ca/OSACommittees/2009.06.09%20Elite%20Youth%20Development%20League.pdf

    What is missing with the BCPL is making a change to a new league that has club owners that have nothing to do with BCSA or the Caps, they had to purchase their franchise, they are not NPO’s as they are a sports business, they recruit players from the NPO / amateur clubs, the players don’t pay anything and etc. More importantly, they offer a professional/amateur level that is in-between the NPO /amateur clubs and full time professional clubs. This is the part of the hockey model that the BCPL isn’t and can never be due to how it was created.

    • Canadian Spur says:

      If people are going to try to promote metro/select as a rival to BCPL then we’ve lost the plot. BCPL is to be a replacement for Metro/Select as the top tier in BC soccer. I think the disctricts have made a mistake in keeping the MSL structure similar to the old Boys Metro league. If we are going to move BC youth soccer forward we have to stop fighting progress. I’m sure that the BCPL is not perfect but hopefully is an improvement. For any person or club to take the poaition that since I didn’t get in then I’ll dig in my heels and not support it is wrong.

      We need to show leadership and not be reactionary impediments to progress. We still don’t know all the details of the BCPL team programs yet many are saying it is unaffordable. STFC fees were quoted at $1800 and not the $2500 to $300 that many feared. I suspect others will have worked hard tp keep costs down as well. I know of one othe BCPL club that was accepted had their fee at or below the $1800 level. Yes this is higher than Metro Select but cheaper than Y-league plus Metro.

      Is the new structure what I had hoped it would be/thought it could be? no it is not, but I am willing to work with others to make this the best possible experience for the players and not condemn it before it even starts.

      • Mark Berry says:

        The only reason Metro would be promoted as a rival league is by people who realize that not everyone can afford the fees of HPL, even at the $1800 level… Everyone is entitled to have their child play at the highest level possible regardless of ability to pay… In splitting the “haves” from the “have nots”, its BC soccer that has really “lost the plot”…

      • Canadian Spur says:

        We already have a split between have and have nots…Look at the wide range of fees for metro and select. Some programs charge fees in teh $250 plus kit range while others are well over $1000. When you add in rule 23, I know there are players who can afford or wont pay the current fees at thier district club. What we don’t know is how these BCPL franchises will treat hardship cases? Did they budget for this. I doubt they will advertise that they did to prevent too many people asking for consideration. In our club we consider many hardship cases each year and I don’t recall a player being turned away because of financial hardship. I don;t know waht others do but we certainly do our best to make sure there is a place to play for every child that wants to play.

      • Canadian Spur says:

        As another example…what does it cost to participate in the provincial team program. How many top players choose to not even tryout for the provincial team due to cost…As i said, we already have a divide between haves and have nots.

  66. valleysoccer says:

    dear all
    in reading some of the comments and the emails/phone calls I have been getting, I would like to make it very clear, it was not my intent to “stir the pot” and fan the flames. I just wanted to articulate some points which I have been very consistent on for the past many years regarding the need for our soccer leaders to be progressive, and outreach more. Recently I was short listed for the CEO position for Colorado Youth Soccer, and flown to Denver for my interview. One of the first questions asked by the panel, which included the Senior Vice President of the Nuggets, and former President of USA Soccer, was the question of diversity and how to outreach the sport proactively to the various ethnic communities. Now this was Colorado, much less multicultural than our province, but the vision of their leaders was very futuristic and inclusive. Later it saddened me, we do not display such vision in our province as their so much potential

    This was the only intention of my comments, and I only hope and ask for the sake of our kids, the various stake holders in Newton/North Delta/Whalley can somehow put aside their differences and move forward. I understand this is a very passionate base for football and many unique issues which can be stressful but more importantly some leadership has to occur to put the players first and this requires teamwork and respect for each opinion and stakeholders.
    Wish them all the best, because this region has other social issues affecting the kids, and soccer is a great vehicle for keeping them focused in a positive way.

    • Mark Berry says:

      Canadian Spur – having our teams dominate at tier 2 is the worst case scenario – HPL doesnt get the top talent, and that top talent’s development is ruined by not getting the appropriate challenge… I’m completely with you on that… I also agree that we already have a have / have not system, for the reasons you stated…

      The problem with HPL is that for a club like mine, we have been providing competent, quality coaching to players at a cost that is affordable to most if not everyone. HPL forces players that want to continue at a high level away from affordable options like the Burnaby Selects, and into far less affordable options in the HPL franchises… That is why there may well be pushback from the existing Metro League clubs, or at least individual teams. Pay $2500 to go play for some “professional” coach no one has ever heard of? Or pay $500 to play for the coach you’ve been with and enjoy playing for…

      The issue isnt sour grapes about not getting a franchise – our area did get a franchise, for instance. The issue is that BC soccer is not going force us to fore-go providing a program that provides far more bang for the buck just because all the “technical” people in this province want to pad their bank accounts…

      • Gregor says:

        I’ve already written something on this blog about how there are definitely ‘professional’ coaches around here who are essentially getting by on an accent and a nice tracksuit. In terms of insight and ability to instruct, I agree that there are some overpaid professional coaches and some very underappreciated volunteers (note: while I am a ‘professional’ coach/TD, I’m also a volunteer coach who runs my daughter’s U16 team).

        The problem is that it doesn’t really matter if it’s one or the other running these high level teams. I just watched a boys Metro team warm up on the weekend and the coach of one team that shall remain unidentified (I think I need to say it wasn’t a Vancouver FC team because several people saw or talked to me at a Vancouver FC games on the weekend and will assume it was) spent a full five minutes talking absolute gibberish. Just nonsense.

        The level of coaching has to get better. Period. Whether it’s volunteers or professional coaching. There has to be more effort and resources put into creating a generation of coaches coming through that are much better than what we have now.

  67. Colin Elmes says:

    Plain and simple, we do not have the appropriate technical people within our grasp( volunteer or paid) to support this new league. Our coaching fraternity is just not sophisticated enough at this time. We have really no idea what is necessary to develop truly elite players because frankly we have never been in this scenario.

    Mark Berry- I will gladly show you my bank account. We all must get past this issue with “professional” coaches and user pay situations. It is entrenched here in North America. Particularly in this “non profit” sector which soccer currently operates in.

    The Junior hockey model is the only way to move away from this you pay , you play situation- and those franchises are privately owned, by shareholders etc with a proper business model, billeting and sponsorship.

    You cant have non profit mixed with non user pay situations that demand the most sophisticated coaches available. It just wont happen

    • Coach rich says:

      Well stated and finally someone who gets it. Cheers 🙂

    • Mark Berry says:

      Colin, I have absolutely no problem with the for-profit academies lining their pockets with as much money as they can extract from willing parents. Anyone who has the financial ability to provide their children with the specialized coaching academies such as TSS or Roman Tulis offer are free to do that, as are you free to make a comfortable living doing it.

      The point is that your services are optional. Those that can / want to afford them do so. Those that can’t / wont do not.

      HPL takes away that option. Many will want to play at the highest level, and on technical ability will belong. However, their parents will either be unwilling or unable to part with the thousands of dollars the HPL franchises are all asking for.

      In short, forcing parents to pay soccer school premiums for their children to play top level soccer is fundamentally wrong, and counterproductive to boot.

      As for getting away from non-profit and non-user pay, I direct your attention to the select league standings, and ask you to explain your thesis that our merry band of volunteer coaches “just wont work”…

  68. Colin Elmes says:


    I always enjoy the descriptive language that gets used by some in the soccer community to describe the business I am in. Particularly “lining their pockets” and “extract”. Again Mark, I can show you TSS’s financial statements if you would like. Like our HPL proposal, I can extend the transparency here as well.

    Not sure what you mean by merry band of volunteer coaches? Is this you saying that the standard of coaches in what I am guessing is Burnaby soccer is providing ELITE level coaching free of charge because the teams in your area are at the top of the table? Sounds like a result driven observation. Have you read the Wellness to World Cup?

    I am saying the table is not elite, never has been, and likely will take some time for it too be because soccer here in the lower mainland does not understand what elite really is.

    We are a small fish in a very big sea Mark. Until we realise that nothing is going to get done. And comments like you made about the current leagues and being the big fish in the small sea are exactly one of the reasons why.

    As I said earlier, the user pay model is entrenched currently in North America. I wish we could offer these services for free. I represented our province back in the early 1980’s and did not pay a dime(actually received a pair of Adidas soccer boots for my efforts!). That is why I suggested a different model all together(as has Coach Rich several times) to tackle this issue.

    • Mark Berry says:


      IMO, Priorities with any youth sport must be as follows:

      1) Are they having fun
      2) Are they developing
      3) Are they succeeding competitively

      Our results do not prove good development. However, where the clubs paying the “professional coaches” routinely get their asses handed to them by a club that employs volunteer coaches, I would respectfully suggest that the HPL approach hugely overestimates the value added in paying thousands of dollars for the luxury of said professional coaches.

      I would go further – some of our volunteer coaches are just as qualified as any of the coaches getting paid at other clubs. As you well know, being in competition with other soccer schools, the laws of supply and demand apply to youth soccer as with anything.

      We do not need to pay coaches thousands of dollars to coach a youth soccer team. Many excellent coaches will do it for far less. HPL will have overpaid coaches coaching players with the richest parents. What a step in the right direction…

      You would think that someone from BC would come to us and ask us how the club with the smallest player pool, no paid coaches, and no technical director is at or near the top of the table across the board. Perhaps there is something, anything, in our approach, that other clubs might learn from. Perhaps we can learn from other clubs, and improve our product as well.

      What do we hear? Canada is ranked one hundred and something in the world, so the select clubs must be doing a poor job. Garbage.

      Incidentally, re wellness to world cup. I read it, and promptly round filed it. Training 8-12 parts for every 1 part of competition? Good luck selling a bunch of 12 year olds on that… That document would work brilliantly for Ivory Tower FC, but in the real world, it is of limited utility…

  69. Canadian Spur says:

    Just a further bit of information on the new MSL tier 2.

    The league reduction in teams from 16 to 14 from U13 to U14 and from 14 teams to 12 from U14 to U15 will be accomplished by simply dropping the the bottom 2 teams in the table. District/clubs will have to be very careful in chosing who they enter in MSL and should encourage clubs working together to ensure that strong teams are entered. 1 stong team will be preferaable to fielding 2 weaker teams as the risk of “relegation” could leave a district without any team at MSL

    I also understand that Lower Island may not be particiapting in this league.

    • Phil Hernandez says:

      Hi Spur…there is a discrepancy between what you just said today and what you said four days ago:

      U13 – 16 teams
      U14 -14 teams
      U15to U18 – 12 teams

      Can you clarify? Or did I miss a post somewhere in between?


      • Canadian Spur says:

        Sorry Phil, I guess I wasn’t clear. The team limits mentioned before are correct.

        U13 – 16 teams
        U 14 – 14 teams
        U15 to U18 – 12 teams

        What I was attempting to describe was the mechanism by which the league will determine which of the 16 U13 teams will survive and move on to U14 in the next season. Effectively the 2 teams at the bottom of the U13 standings will be “relegated” and not be accpted in the U14 MSL league.

        Hope this make a little more sense.

    • Everton#1 says:

      Any word on transition from U-12 teams to U-13 and how they deem which teams are Tier 2? Still District based as I thought HPL wanted limits on Tier 2 across the board as quality feeder programs for HPL, sorry BCPL or whatever it is being called as of today.

      • Canadian Spur says:

        I don’t have any real sense as to how they will select the 16 U13 teams each year other than teams recommended by the district have to be approved by the MSL Committee which will consist of 1 representative from each participating district.

        BCSPL won’t really have much of a say in the process as MSL is being run independant of BCSPL.

  70. K says:

    Will districts be supporting BCPL teams being entered into MSL?

    • Canadian Spur says:

      I think Club based BCPL franchises (CMF, SU, ABBY) will be supported by the Districts. Multi-District BCPL Franchises/Partnerships may not want to enter teams in MSL. District teams like Vancouver FC, Burnaby Selects, North Shore, will likely continue to be supported by their respective districts. Ultimately each district will have to make its own decison so there is no definitive Yes or No answer to this.

      • Phil Hernandez says:

        Again, seeking clarity.

        I know I must be reading K’s question wrong but I can’t quite decipher it: is K asking if the Districts, within which a BCPL franchise was awarded, will be entering a team into Tier 2?

        And what do you mean by “support”, Spur? Fields? Dollars?


      • Canadian Spur says:

        I read K’s question to mean (K correct me if I’m wrong) “will Districts be pushing for/requiring/expecting BCSPL teams to enter teams in MSL”.

        By support I mean recommend for acceptance in the league. It is the districts who will determine who can enter the MSL so a team needs the blessing of their District to get into MSL.

        I did not been to imply any form of financial.technical support.

      • K says:

        Yep, just wondering if BCPL teams will try to enter teams into MSL and since MSL is district-based will the districts allow BCPL teams entering. BCPL teams playing in MSL would be their “reserves” or “2nd tier teams” I obviously.

  71. Late to the Game says:

    This will sum it up …

    In speaking to a current U-15 metro player on the weekend, the player informed me that she would not be playing soccer next year. I asked why and she indicated that she could not afford the new HPL fees. She did not see the Metro/ Select option as viable in her district. I observed the same player play on the weekend and it is an unfortunate loss for soccer in BC.

    • Canadian Spur says:

      Sad commentary but the player’s parents should be encouraged to talk to BCPL teams to see what their policy is for players who for financial reasons can’t commit to the cost of BCPL.

      If this doesn’t work, MSL should be a viable option in all districts (except Okanagan and South Island which are not part of MSL)

  72. K says:

    Why would MSL not be an option in her district?

  73. Late to the Game says:

    Her perception is that on the girls side, the MSL will be very watered down and is not what she is looking for. Unfortuantely, players and parents do not have enough information to fully assess alternatives, including funding support. In this case, the player is an elite athlete in several sports and will likely select the other sports to pursue.

    • K says:

      I would suggest she just go and tryout. If she makes it see where it goes from there re: financial options. No point in not trying….

  74. islandsoccer says:

    Speaking to the point about ‘for profit training’. I am familiar with one such organization in Victoria and I suspect it is similar for the others in BC.

    This one Internationally A licenced Head Coach has never ever turned away a player because they could not pay, and I suspect many will bend over backwards to find a way to include talented and motivated players, be it through sponsorships, creative co-funding etc. I also know of clubs (such as the one I am at and our district) that have ‘hardship’ funds. No one likes the stigma associated with it and we refer to it as ‘club sponsorship’ reviewed annually, it is just part of our annual budget. Most districts or clubs have in the past received some sort of grants. It is (IMHO) their responsibility to never turn away a player (regardless of level) who wants to play. As for the ‘for profits’ the type of player usually attending is motivated so if that player helps raise the level of all then some ‘sponsorships’ should be built into their business model. Just my opinion…

  75. Coach rich says:


    Although we compare NPO to NP the fact is that the soccer community is all the same whether it’s an academy or what we call a club. The fact is that both are cost per program.

    Until the soccer community is able to provide a pro/am club model like Junior A where players are scouted to a team/club, pay no fees, get expenses paid related to the sport and are still eligible for college, our sport is missing the most important link in development that connects the amateur to pro ranks.

    Right now we are expecting players to succeed to higher levels in a player pay model of programs in entities that have no club culture other than their name. We offer programs and that’s it. If we were a amateur club, we would have annual dues and program dues so families could grow up in clubs with a culture/social and their programs. Maybe a clubhouse with a field, family room, bar and etc. No we offer programs and that’s it. Interior clubs and the rest of Canada are further ahead of us as they have to develop indoor facilities and clubhouses due to the weather and larger catchment areas. I believe locally NSGSC is moving in the right club direction with their bubble.

    On the pro/am side we have no one and we won’t as along as the PSO, the Districts and the Caps have their hands in everywhere. We need investors who are owners like the hockey model. End of story

    Also, we have clubs who’s program development different from one to the other club. Inside the clubs we have programing that is different at each level and team due to the volunteer roots of the coaching pool. Why, we have a wide variety of coaches and admins who come from the volunteer ranks where some are paid and some not to help these players make the pro ranks or college. Thats a huge task given the frame of reference this coaching and admin pool has……this is what I believe Colin is talking about. I take nothing away from these fantastic people as they give the commitment, the time investment and dedication of this pool but they are limited in experience. Experience that has not been at the pro/am, pro or Olympic level/system. That’s a huge difference in the frame of references.

    Hopefully the BCPL with it’s commitment to the LTPD and Charter Club will get the soccer community to be more on the same page. It’s going to be a long road once again but there is promise. Still we as a sport need to feel the void of where we are missing the linkage to the pros. That IMO is going to be something other than the BCPL due to how it was formed. It will be awhile until we get a pro/am level like Junior hockey.

    • Coach rich says:

      NPO (not for profit organization) to P (profit)

    • Rich says:


      I agree with much of what you have said however I wonder how any ‘investor’ is going make any money from Elite Youth Soccer. I just don’t see a market for paying customers to watch this level of soccer to the extent that it becomes a viable business model. It works for Hockey as it is a national obsession and a huge part of Canadian culture. Youth Soccer simply isn’t going to generate that kind spectator base. Corporate sponsorship however may be the way to go…

    • Coach rich says:

      There is a new facility based upon the UK 5 a-side model going up in Pitt Meadows. UK concept is sports club, leagues and entertainment –




    • Mark Berry says:

      Coach Rich,

      And thats really what this is all about. HPL says that the volunteer coaching is not good enough, and that the highly trained, professional coaches are necessary for the elite players from u13 – u18. It forces parents to pay for the privilege.

      I question whether the current level of coaching is really that bad, but the far bigger issue is the cost to the parents. I agree with Colin, and probably everyone here, that if we could find a way to reduce or eliminate the cost (like the Whitecaps will do for whoever makes their youth teams), that would be much better.

      Where I differ is that while BC seems to be content with “gee, hopefully this can be addressed”, I view a solution as necessary for HPL to succeed…

      • Coach rich says:

        I believe it was Colin who pointed out where are these coaches going to come from? The simple answer is the majority of the existing MSL coaches are going to move on up. If so what really makes the BCPL better to justify the cost? What happens to the fees at MSL when the Gold coaches move on up?

  76. MJ says:

    Analogies to Junior hockey are fine, but you’ll have to show a place in Canada where 5,000-10,000 people will pay to watch 16-19 years olds play soccer…….

    • Coach rich says:

      In BC. the BCHL which is Junior A plays in community rinks that hold –
      1000 – 4500 seats
      Percy Perry Stadium has about 1500 seats

      Junior A is the last pro/am level of the Junior hockey system where you don’t loose your college eligibility.

      • Larry says:

        Percy Perry has also just been recently renovated thanks to an Infrastructure Canada grant and an progressive sports & recreation philosophy by the City of Coquitlam.

      • Canadian Spur says:


        Individual Ticket Prices

        Walk-up Single Ticket Price
        Adult $13.00
        Student / Senior $9.00
        Child 12 & Under $6.00

        How much would you pay to watch elite youth soccer?

  77. James says:

    My guess is that 1000 oe so people will be willing to pay anywhere from $1500.00 to $2500.00 for season tickets.

  78. Colin Elmes says:


    I am enjoying the banter. The Wellness to World Cup comment was a poke. Interesting your stance on it though as the Chair of Burnaby Selects, whose District just supported the NVan/Burnaby HPL submission who without a doubt( at least on paper) committed their first born to that document to secure said franchise in this new league. Hope you are not upsetting any of your Board with your comments …. 🙂

    Your comments about the 12 year olds and training to game ratios – all the adults are to blame for this. we want the competition, it is our barometer. it gets portrayed onto these players at a young age and then there is no turning back. Go look at how the rest of the world deals with players this age. I think you would be surprised just how close those ratios are.

    Canadas ranking vs development success at the elite youth level. I think we all share in the issues here. Burnaby Selects must assume a small part in the responsibility that we currently have a National Team respresentation on the boys side of less than 5 % from British Columbia- our demographic here is 15% of all the players in this country.

    This is because our programs are not preparing these players properly. Sure you can blame provincial teams and NTC for some of this, but the audience they get has been woefully unprepared for some time now.

    But you are happy because your teams are in the upper sections of our inferior leagues. Volunteer or professional coaches aside, the job is not getting done.

    • Outside Looking In says:

      In regards to adults creating the ‘competition’ aspect of soccer and any other sport, I see somewhat where Colin is going with this. I do believe that adults (coaches, parents, some trainers) do put the pressure of competitive SUCCESS on the kids.

      However, we put COMPETITION on the kids? Let’s get real here. How many of you at the age of 12 played noon-hour basketball, soccer, football, red rover, british bulldog or after school equivalents. I am just talking about kids getting together and PLAYING amongst themselves and not organized sports. Most kids who jumped in to play those sports played it to win and were competitive as hell.

      Kids who are gifted in sports are for the most part competitive already. It is in their makeup and in part what makes them successful in whatever sport it is they are playing. I don’t disagree that training is critical at this stage for the children. However ask children if they would rather train or play games and see what happens 🙂

      My child has been a part of Academy training for years now and absolutely loves it. If it was one day a week of training through Academy and one game per week she may have struggled to pick which one she enjoyed more. However training often becomes a grind of sorts in any sport and kids at 12 and beyond are wanting to play games first and foremost and games that count.

      Sometimes I feel many adults out there are trying to suck the competition out of the kids. SPORTS day becomes fun day, scores not being kept, etc. Does that make our best athletes better or try to bring them down to the next level to even out the field.

      It is alright to lose a game 8-0. There is no problem with that whatsoever if you are clearly outmatched. What does matter is the parents and coaches pay attention, nurture the players and help them to see what was the difference between the two teams.

      Our turning point of our team was an 8-0 loss in a tournament games years ago. Instead of grumbling and whining about being overmatched, our parents and coaches helped our players to understand what made the winning side thrive on the field.

      There is nothing wrong with competition as I’m sure Colin 100% agrees with. The problem is when parents and coaches lose sight of the fact that it is for the kids, their development, their fun and THEIR success. Support our children and not put the weight of the world on their shoulders.

      Love the discussion. We should get all the parents involved with soccer to log in, read this and join in the discussions as communication can only make things better long term.

    • Mark Berry says:


      I’m not “happy”… I merely suggest that in relative terms, Burnaby has done a decent job with volunteer coaches… I therefore question the utility in paying significant money to coaches that, as Coach Rich has pointed out, will likely be select coaches moving on up to HPL… certainly the case with my club!

      The solution to our competitive woes is to focus our best coaches on the 8-12 age group, not the 14-18 age group… I suspect you wouldnt quarrel with that assertion – although feel free if I’m wrong in that assumption…

      Burnaby District supported HPL on the basis that so long as there was going to be a new elite league, there needed to be an option – and I stress option – for Burnaby players to play in that league without having to travel too far to take part. As it happens, the reception at the Burnaby Selects was much chillier. My carcass was wounded, maimed and disfigured by those that thought I was a traitor to my own club by appearing to support HPL… Frankly my own board would applaud my comments.

      The HPL club board – on which I also sit – would be less enthralled. However, I remain unopposed to the pure idea of HPL; in fact, if done right, I agree that it has the potential to be an improvement on the status quo. In that eventuality, I have no problem with the current setup at the Burnaby Selects being a casuality of the process.

      However, for reasons I have stated ad nauseum, I dont believe its presently set up properly…

      As for the game ratios, I have a hard time believing that a young child would be satisfied with practicing over 90% of the time he is on a soccer field… Bore them with drill after drill and their motivation dwindles (perhaps I’m simply running pedestrian drills, but I doubt it). Engage them with things they like – mini games, scrimmages, and real games, and all of a sudden the lessons start to take because they are truly enjoying themselves. In our quest to teach better, I worry that we lose sight of the psychology of the child athlete.

      The other point here is…. who cares if Canada’s national team isnt doing so well? Do we really care that much about the 1% of players that might make a national team such that we are willing to turn upside down and essentially sacrifice the soccer experience of the other 99%? Does cradle to crave only apply to those that are good enough to cap for Canada on the way through?

      These are questions that are going to have to be answered sooner rather than later, specifically when the various levels of tryouts are thrown into complete disarray by HPL… There will be a lot of angry soccer moms (and dads) in the various clubs, and I dont know that “its better for Pele” will be a good enough answer…

  79. Colin Elmes says:


    Development of 8 to 12 year olds- you are spot on. This is where we fail the most. Our organisation began to address this 3 seasons ago. Sportstown FC was formed and the program received in a number of U7 players in both genders(many of which DO NOT play in the “community”). We then set off to provide players with two events per week( 44 events indoors) from Sept to March( like our community leagues). Accept these events were ALL run by our staff, no volunteers, no parents. When we started it I was hauled into a meeting with BCSA asking me what the hell we were up too. I said that if they could tell me what was wrong philosophically with my full time staff( I think I used Carl Valentine as an example at the time) working with 12 -6 year old soccer players twice per week we would stop doing it. Of course they could do nothing but support it…..
    I also challenged a number of the TDs I know to set up a similar program. Unfortunately( unless they have a child in this age bracket) many of them see this as akin to babysitting and that their resources are better fit in other places. So its left to parents with varying levels of experience with maybe a full time coach overseeing the process. Not good enough to make proper change in my world…..

    Game ratios- I dont think you understand here. Training does not mean just drills or activities- of course they play small sided every session. It is the structured game events that this ratio is pointing too. Come out and watch our program. The kids play small sided, they compete, they express themselves. Again it is us that yearns for the English Premier League set up. They could careless until we make it important for them. Please give me your definition of a “real game”? I am guessing this means a bunch of mini Manchester Uniteds running around?

    Natl team rep-As a Chair of metro selects(and HPL now!!!!)- you should care about what flows up to the top of the player dev model- shame on you!. If you were a board member who’s agenda was about the recreational side of our game then your argument would be fine and you wouldn’t be any were near this blog.

    HPL and coaches- I follow your thoughts here. If you have been coming to this blog since this all cropped up a few months ago you would find that I have questioned where all these coaches will come from to help take these HPL players to the next level of development. I actually quantified it by saying that there is maybe a dozen coaches in the lower mainland that I would personally pay to coach my kids( and have since had several people in the game close to me inquire as to whether they are one of the 12 😉 )

    I am going to watch the “disarray” unfold from afar( as you know) and hope that it all works out. But no one can really predict where all this stuff will be in the next few months. It is going to be very interesting.

    • Mark Berry says:

      I should stress I’m on my area’s HPL club’s board, not the chair…

      “Who cares” was too strong. I’d love to see Canada win the World Cup. The better way to state my position is that I don’t believe we should be sacrificing the good of the recreational player for the good of the elite player. There has to be a way to integrate our approach such that we provide good service for both type of player. So far I see a ton of focus on the latter and very little on how that focus will affect the former…

      Mini games are great for a lot of things – and a step up on the practices of many recreational coaches, as you well know! – but I still mantain that kids want a real game with a real opponent. We may not keep stats at the younger ages – nor should we – but we’re fooling ourselves if we think that the kids don’t care about winning…

      I should also clarify that I dont have a problem in principle with quality coaches being properly compensated for their contributions. Hell, pay em all $100,000 a year! Just don’t go cap in hand to the parents such that all but the affluent are excluded…

  80. Phil Hernandez says:

    “the NVan/Burnaby HPL submission who without a doubt( at least on paper) committed their first born to that document to secure said franchise in this new league.

    Apart from stating that there are no arranged marriages in Colombia and that my daughter has not been committed to anyone or anything, I am not taking the bait, Colin. 😉

    A counter to the lack of PL-level coaches is the “unfurled sail” argument. While I have no hard evidence of this (indeed, many would argue that there is ample evidence of the original argument), I believe it is possible that there are some (many?) MSL coaches who, for one reason or another, have not been able to reach their full potential. There are various factors including club “boards [whose] agenda [is] about the recreational side of our game” or TDs that pressure coaches to train at the lowest common denominator (and then feed the club academies) or rosters that don’t quite allow a coach to teach the skills s/he otherwise would. It happens at every club including district-run metro/select-only clubs.

    Since we really can’t predict what will happen over the next several months/years, perhaps we should cut the men and women who have decided to give it a shot a little slack. Elite level coaches also need to develop – even TSS coaches were not born elite coaches. It may be that there are quite a few diamonds in the rough out there that simply need a different environment to work with. I realize that getting paid places a different spin on this but perhaps we should do a reality check here before we start calling for coaches head or marching at dawn to storm the castle. There are a great many other well-documented real issues that require attention without hammering at one that hasn’t even surfaced yet.

    Just my take.


  81. Colin Elmes says:

    Posted well in advance of PH seeking out the most appropriate coach for his daughter (regardless of HPL Entity)in anticipation of her U13 experience… 😉

    • Phil Hernandez says:


      And while on the surface it may appear that my comments are, to paraphrase, easy for me to say, don’t think for a minute I haven’t already begun to think about this. Just because my daughter won’t be trying out for a PL team until next year doesn’t mean I am covering my eyes and ears. Nor should anyone, (which is really the point of all this dialogue).

  82. Colin Elmes says:

    And I am not an elite level coach. Is there any?

    • Gregor says:

      Sure there are. Just check the standings and take the ones who are all in first place…

      We need better metrics to measure coaching efficacy. But that’s a tough one.

    • Phil Hernandez says:

      Depends on the yardstick you use. Are you SAF’s clone? Probably not. Are you and your staff capable of producing (or at the very least helping to produce) provincial/collegiate/national level players? The evidence seems to indicate that you are. Does that make you elite? Dunno. But I wouldn’t presume to doubt you. 😉

  83. Colin Elmes says:

    ah forget it. lets just look at the standings. Go Whitecaps!

  84. Mark Berry says:

    I realize I have brought the ridicule on myself, but I am not so naive as to think that being at the top of the standings is the be all end all… I merely say that going in the polar opposite direction to an approach that has served our club well, and assuming that it will necessarily aid in player development, is…. curious… In essence, I am not beating my chest and saying “look what good we are doing”…. what I’m saying is “what have we done so wrong?”…

  85. mj2 says:

    It is apparent the misunderstanding of what quality coaches or instructors or teachers are actually doing with soccer players is alive and kicking! If you believe the good ones are running players through drill after drill then you are the perfect product of a defective coaching certification program – you are living in the dark ages. Better still you probably have your full CCC, CCY, CCS and “B prep”. The good ones are using practice sessions to teach players to “play the game”. They focus on working with players in much more open environments than 10×10 or 30×20 grids. Certainly technical or technique practice away from the game and with limited oppositional pressure has its place, but the good coaches, certainly the ones I have observed, are allowing players to play the game during a practice and are giving them specific and focused instruction to help them get better. To hear club officials suggesting kids need to play more competitive games is laughable. Again, the good coaches have plenty of controlled competition within their practice sessions, which by the way are at such a high tempo no time is needed on that old fall back for most coaches …… a fitness session / drill. Yes they work on specific dynamic movements but not on running with no purpose.

    I have argued for quite some time BC soccer focuses on the wrong thing when it engages in player development. What its highly paid employees need to promote is coach development. Not one shot single day or weekend courses, but ongoing support and development. A previous post suggested HPL coaches from different clubs should be working collaboratively to share ideas. Sounds like a good idea but to have a chance this must be done from the start otherwise it will not happen at all.

    A final point I think it getting lost in the mix here is the massive difference between the quality of coaches working with girls teams and those working on the boys side. I think there are several good coaches working on the boys side in what are the current metro leagues. A number of quality still playing players (I know its not a guarantee they are good coaches) are operating in these leagues. I can say with complete confidence that the current quality of those working on the girls side is generally quite miserable. It really is a lottery. Many coaches have on their team a mixture of good, average, and some poor players. All have some decent athletes. Hardly any at all encourage them to try and pass or use good technique. How could they, they cannot demonstrate it themselves and have no vision for what a player might be like in three or four years time. They are great cheerleaders, nice people, but they get giddy when the ball gets kicked and the chase is on! So while the dialogue about some clubs doing ok (Burnaby has been an example) with its coaches, I think it refers generally to the boys side and not the girls.

    I am less optimistic than a couple of months ago about the positive impact the league will have. I have found even the comments on this site to seem more fractured. Stories now exist of coaches trying to hang onto “THEIR” players. Coaches telling kids myths (play HPL and you cannot play in school) that simply do not exist. I hope it works and i will support it but I fear the start will be more rocky that first envisaged.

    • Mark Berry says:


      Although I am one of the “club officials” spouting off, I do have my B-Provincial license and have coached for thirteen years. I do not suggest that this is anything special; only that I am not your typical technically challenged club administrator.

      Youths love to play games. They don’t love to practice. The better the practice, the more they enjoy it – in that I agree with you completely in your analysis of what does / doesnt make a good practice. But they are not robots – they are developing human beings with the attention span of about 30 seconds.

      You reference “controlled competition”. Great stuff, to a point. You cannot “control” youth athletes for 90 straight minutes and expect them to keep the focus needed to derive maximum benefit from the session.

      So much of the game is cerebral. You cant teach a player instincts, no matter how many drills you have in your tickle-trunk. You can’t “stop, demonstrate, rehearse, go-live” every damn situation a player might be confronted with. You have to let them play, in a game situation, and figure some of this stuff out for themselves.

      I am not saying increase the number of games these players play. I am saying that going to a 12 to 1 practice to game ratio, or anything approximating that, is wrong on a level that many at the CSA apparently are unable to comprehend…

  86. Colin Elmes says:


    Adjustments such as 12 to 1 will not happen with the current audience. Their
    understanding of what a soccer experience looks like is thoroughly entrenched. its the new incoming players(again) U5/6 to U8 that need to be cultured in this way. As long as the adults are educated along the way. I spend a significant amount of time with the parents of these types of players and immediately make an intervention when their feedback and cheerleading begin to sound like they are on the sideline of an adult game.

    • Mark Berry says:


      THAT approach could well work. At the youngest ages that ratio probably works because the kids dont know any different and are having fun regardless… Its the HPL level where I would bet players would decide to go chase skirts rather than practice soccer 12 times for every game played…

      In any event, training the parents (such a necessary and annoying part of the battle) and kids with a new, better approach to player development is exactly what BC should be doing with soccer across the province. If they focussed their top coaches on coaching the coaches, and in particular developing a program for the 8 (or 6) to 12 age bracket, then I think we would see real improvement in our overall talent level regardless of what HPL looks like…

  87. RR says:

    Can someone shed some light on this seemingly mystical 12:1 training to game ratio that’s been bandied about? In the CSA LTPD Wellness to World Cup presentation I’m looking at it says 2-3 practices per match. Has there been a recent update to this ratio?

  88. Colin Elmes says:

    again, what is the definition of a game?

    • RR says:

      In response to your tête-à-tête with Mark, and having watched many sessions, I would say that the distinction between “a game” and “a training session” at TSS is a rather blurry one — to the point that even trying to isolate the two is pointless.

      Every exercise (or situation) the players face is an integral part of the game, one that recurrs many times per match. Not only do the players hone their physical skills, but they learn to think on their feet and work out the problem, all in a fast-paced environment.

      Given the competitive nature of the like-minded participants, and the way sessions are structured and led, talking about “a (real) game” is kind of meaningless.

      At least that’s the way I see it.

      • Mark Berry says:


        Agree completely. I would go further and say that in properly run practices do far more for development than games do, not least of which because of touches on the ball.

        We see it that way. A young child likely takes direction well enough that they may not even notice if they ever play a “game”, especially because, as you say, the distinction can be blurry.

        The problem is that once they get to that 12-16 age group, there is a psychological difference between practices and games for them. Perhaps Colin is right that if train them better at an early age we can break the cycle, but I don’t know that we will ever break them of the notion that games are more “fun”.

        Then again, it could just be that my practices are shite, and my view consequently out to lunch!

    • K says:

      Ya, I know what you mean. SSG at training included in definition of “the game.” 12:1 is a wee-bit excessive one must think? Maybe not for the tykes…

  89. mj2 says:

    Mark, in reply to you “You can’t “stop, demonstrate, rehearse, go-live” every damn situation a player might be confronted with”.

    Don’t really know mate. I never swallowed a CSA manual. Gave me indigestion and I’m not sure what going live is. I thought it was always live 🙂

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