This whole thing really is reaching fever pitch if the emails, calls and conversations I get and have are indicative of the overall level of discussion.
For the record, I still think this is a very good idea….long term. If we are going to rush to judgement and condemn processes and implementation (which admittedly have been flawed in the former and shockingly poor in the latter) used to get it off the ground it’s going to be one very flogged, dead horse before the first BCPL game is played.
As I’ve said recently to several people, no youth soccer league around here has had to endure anything like the scrutiny that this league is enduring as it tries to get off the ground. Part of that is understandable and good. This is a sea change for elite youth soccer when you consider the elimination of player movement restrictions, the much higher fees being charged, the increased commitment expected and the different playing season. If players and parents are expected to swallow all that then the accountability bar on the franchise and coaching side needs to be concomitantly high. But surely we can remove ourselves from Internet speed for a second and realize that the best time frame for a full evaluation of this league is more like two seasons and not two weeks.
And yes, on the pot v kettle front, I fully realize that this blog has become a lightning rod for this very high level of inspection and that I have fueled that to some degree. It may seem that the daggers are out at my end but truth be told a lot of things I get told and am prodded to post about BCPL do not get posted. I’m trying to stick to things of material relevance and keep this from becoming a perezhilton.com clone.
On that note, here’s a few of those things.
The Metro Ford notice about not fielding a U17 girls team is not what it seems on the surface. There has been a change, again, in how U18 is going to be run. There will be no U17 division. Franchises all have to put in a U18 team that can be a mix of U17 and U18 players. They then have the option of putting a second team into that same division but it can only be comprised of U17 players. Metro Ford has opted not to put a pure U17 team in. What I’ve been told is that the U18 boys division will have a total of 13 teams as a result (ie. some franchises opting to put a second, U17, team in and some not) and the girls will have 11 teams.
So again, Metro Ford opting to not put a U17 team girls team in is within the new structure of the league. That means someone else will have to be the one that takes the bullet for being the first franchise to say they can’t field a team in a particular age group. Safe bet it will happen and safe bet it will be on the girls side. I’ve had two lengthy email reports from parents who attended different BCPL evaluations at different age groups saying they just don’t see how that franchise is going to pull off forming a team despite having the best intentions. They don’t want to post the details and I don’t really want to embarrass either of the franchises by publishing the concerns related to lack of players and lack of suitable players because it’s clear the problem is almost endemic to all the franchises to some degree.
The Whitecaps have officially announced they are in the US Development Academy League (got my wrist slapped for posting that before they put it out in a press release) and that now means they are swooping in for another round of player additions to Prospects. This has messed up several BCPL, Metro and Gold evaluations and we’ve been told that the player additions to Prospect squads could continue through the spring. That would have been a good thing to add to the periodization chart because we’re now looking, at the club level, at having our evaluations continue into June (having started in early March). Messy. I’m already hearing from frustrated parents and coaches about this extended timeline and the change of dates precipitated by Prospects activities.
Speaking of MSL this is going to be the next arena of concern, primarily for areas like Vancouver where clubs are mandated to provide players for a District run team (VFC in the case of Vancouver). I’m patiently waiting for info from VFC on coaches, fees and training facilities for their Metro program but as I’ve said to Jason Jordan they’re going to have a tough sell on their hands if their fees are 200-300% higher and don’t have awesome coaches to justify both the cost and the fact that training will likely be downtown at Andy Livingstone.
Just as the current concern at BCPL is that some franchises can field teams that will be able to compete in their leagues, the same argument is soon going to be applied, not just to VFC, but to several MSL franchises who are hamstrung further by the out of district rule (that will likely be amended to allow five players at all age group rather than just U17 and U18).