BCPL: The curious case of the U18’s

Note to those posting for the first time: Your comment comes to me and I have to approve it. Sometimes I can do that right away either at my laptop or on my iPhone but sometimes it takes a bit of time. Once your first comment is approved you can post (assuming it’s from the same IP address) and it will go straight up on the blog. I still check posts to make sure they’re not personal attacks or malicious but that’s really not been an issue.

The whole U18 dilemma has been hanging out there for some time now. Colin seized on the confusion over how it would work and jumped in with a player-friendly solution for the girls in terms of start and end dates being compatible with post-secondary objectives and parent friendly in terms of it having a negligible cost.

As with other issues associated with BCPL, most of the concerns reside on the girls side. There does not seem to be any pressing issues regarding U18 coming from the boys side.

But there’s still a lot of girls signing up for U18. Surprisingly, it’s not the 1994 players that are abdicating spots on these teams for other options but increasingly we’re hearing of 1995 born players not buying in. At this stage, among Lower Mainland franchises, the status of pure U17 (’95 born) teams is as follows:

  • Mountain United FC: have a solid team
  • Coquitlam Metro-Ford: will not field a U17 girls team
  • Surrey United: as of this morning it seems they have pulled the plug on the U17 girls teams but this is not confirmed
  • Magnuson Mariners (Abby): no word but find it very hard to see how they will field a U17 team
  • Fusion FC: plan to run a U17 team but contingent on having sufficiently strong players try out. 50-50 at this stage given they lost six ’95s to Mountain.
  • South Fraser SC: ran their first U17 tryout last night and had about 19 players. Make of that what you will.

So there are two concerns when you look at the timeline I threw together (download pdf or .xls below). I’ve given each birth year a colour and tracked how they will progress through the divisions until November 2014.

The first concern is anywhere that you see the same colour appear during the same months, that means those players are expected to be on two teams at the same time. This happens when players are in the last three months of the U16 season (Sept, Oct, Nov) as this overlaps with the first three months of the U18 season (starting in September).

The second problem is not structural and not really as important. Given that it seems most franchises will not field a straight U17 team (which really threw a monkeywrench in the plan to run this as a double age group) a lot of U17’s will get squeezed out of BCPL for a year and then, perhaps, come back for their U18 year to join the players their age who already played one season of U18 and the best players a year younger.

The key issue is how do you transition from U16 to U18 given the inherent three month overlap in the seasons and the fact that there won’t be many spots for U17’s in the division.

Thoughts and solutions on this welcome. Even from those of you at franchises who have been told not to post anything here 😉

Excel: BCPL U13-U18 (Sep 2011 – Nov 2014)

PDF: BCPL U13-U18 (Sep 2011 – Nov 2014)

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19 Responses to BCPL: The curious case of the U18’s

  1. Canadian Spur says:

    This is probably why they are talking about abolishing U18 division for next year.

  2. valleysoccer says:

    here’s a suggestion

    Why not invite all of the select coaches at this level to a meeting and have a discussion. Listen to their input and then put forward a draft proposal for review.
    Then when accepted by the coaches have 3-4 open houses in the lower mainland with parents of this age group and listen to their feedback.
    Lastly after this phase, allow some flexibility in your proposal to include legitimate ideas from the parents and proceed.

    Take minutes of all meetings and do not dictate but provide your league constraints when called upon.

    It would provide inclusion of all stakeholders.

  3. Colin Elmes says:

    Brendan is correct. Having U17 end in November leaves almost the same problem for the grade 12 year. This has to be clearly thought through.

    • Gregor says:

      Can we just be clear that no decision has been made to “abolish” the U18 division.

    • Phil Hernandez says:

      And if U18 is not abolished then it would appear that one logical move might be to separate U18s from U17s, and restrict U18’s to a half-season only, since they are not going to want to commit to the second half of the PL season as it conflicts with their first term of post-secondary. However, there would have to be other new agreements in place relating to player identification processes. Having the PL league finish in mid to late November will be problematic for U17s (who will be in Grade 12 at that point) if post-secondary and other institutions cannot be persuaded to advance their traditional November to March player identification activities.

  4. MJ says:

    Don’t forget girls will put a lot of weight in staying together for the social aspects of team, especially successful ones. In my area we have been told Tier 2 is the new Gold, but the good Gold teams are not interested as it would cause their teams to split up because there is a pool of U17/18 Metro players that have been orphaned by the creation of the HPL teams that need to be accomodated. Presumably this is a first year phenomenon.

    More thought is also needed for the U18 season as well. Except for the most dedicated (ie Prospects etc.) it will be challenging to maintain 3 training sessions/wk with school commitments etc. That second season (March – July) will cause all sorts of conflicts with other grade 12 activities. Interesting to see what will work in the end.

    • K says:

      you hold 3 sessions and if kids can come they can come, if they can’t because of school they can’t.

      pretty simple.

  5. islandsoccer says:

    I have to agree with ‘K’, in the end players (and their sponsors 😉 will decide what works best for them. Of course there are a lot of factors, some have been mentioned here already (quality of coaching, players ‘social network’) but then there is the ‘newness’ factor… how much support are these new pseudo-clubs receiving from their partner-clubs (have the practice fields been identified, practice dates/times), organizational support. I suspect in many cases fees will be tweaked into a) an early ‘cycle’ and b) the ‘real’ cycle which starts in February/March 2012.

    On the Island things will sort themselves out, there may be a reluctance to commit initially but by the Fall things will start to take shape..which may be an issue at some district clubs when they start to lose Tier2/3 players. I have to think the traditional close of the January ‘transfer window’ (aka: BCSAs imposed late registration deadline) may see a bit more movement than in past seasons!

    Some clubs are noticing a ‘delay factor’ in their ‘early registrations’ as Gold and Metro parents are taking a wait and see approach till the district (LISA/UISA) announces their HPL trials. Lots of chatter about the lack of teams at SuperY and rumours of the Highlanders waiting in the wings to get into competitive youth play at the Tier 1/Tier 2 level…. which their ‘BCSA associate membership’ status currently would appear to not permit.

    • K says:

      As an aspiring professional club, Highlanders should be participating in local top tier youth soccer – just as the Whitecaps are. Maybe not USSDA…but maybe….

      • Victorian says:

        The Highlanders do not have the coaching staff to actually run the HPL or even a Tier 2 team. The problem is that they have caused a division as the staff there is ex FC Victoria academy and all other groups such as LISA, Clubs, EM Sports Academy and WC Soccer are would never work with them. The division on the Island is incredible. My guess is that there will be no HPL teams from here and Tier 2 will fail as well.

  6. K says:

    You would know better than I, based on your name. My dealings with HFC have been outstanding, personally.

    *side note: Heard the MSL teams were decided Friday. Only rumours which were chosen, so I won’t post them.

  7. Geoff says:

    I attended the U18 boys evaluation at South Surrey Athletic Park tonight. Looked like around 19 attendees, 3 keepers, plus a couple of injured players that came to show their support. From what I could gather from chatting around, there were 3 VFC players, 2-3 Delta/Peace Arch players, and the remainder appeared to be from Surrey Pegasus or Surrey Selects. Skill and quality of play in the scrimmage was good.

    I was a little disappointed in the numbers but after some discussion with other parents on the sidelines, the numbers were easy to reconcile. Bottom line (and to no surprise) – it felt like another tryout for a Selects team but feels a little incongruent.

    I also heard a rumour that the bulk of last year’s Surrey Select U18A team, which was apparently mostly 94’s, has decided to stay together and play Metro this year rather than be involved in HPL. (Just something I overheard amongst the parents.)

  8. Coachrich says:

    picked this up at TTP


    Burnaby BCSPL U16 Roster includes 14 PTP players…. bad for the league?

    Mountain United has posted their BCSPL rosters now. The U16 Boys team has 14 provincial players on the team. What a joke.

    This will destroy the league – it will defeat the purpose for creating it in the first place.

    In high school sports there a rules that determine who can play where. If you want to join a team that is out of your ‘catchment area’ then you get red shirted and are ineligible for league and championship play for a year. Red shirting also takes place in Collegiate and University sports. It is a rule to prevent stacking – to ensure that jurisdictions are balanced. If you switch to another team the penalty is a year of ineligibility.

    In professional sport we see more and more salary caps in place – to prevent an imbalance between jurisdictions. For the survival of the league. To ensure that all franchises are viable. How could the Flames or the Oilers compete with large market teams like New York & Los Angeles without salary caps?

    I don’t believe that 14 provincial team players are in Burnaby by accident. It is far too coincidental. I also don’t believe they are in Burnaby because the program is just that much superior to other programs being offered in other jurisdictions.

    Maybe it was the letter that was sent out by BC Soccer to PTP players? Maybe the players were in collusion to play together to kick everyone’s ass. You know, like Le Bron, Wade and Bosh?

    Either way… it’s not good for the league and if this is what we are going to see taking place then what is the point?

    I don’t believe this is good for the health of the league…

  9. soccerIsGreat says:

    Surrey United U16 boys will give Burnaby a competition .Lots of players from that team decided not to try out for the provincial team. Can’t wait for the match between Surrey and Burnaby.

    And also don’t under estimate the Abby boys. They will have a great team.
    Metro Ford as always will have a great team.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Burnaby finish behind either Surrey, Metro Ford or Abby.

  10. soccerIsGreat says:

    Burnab-bcspl U16 boys team can only beat 4 bottom teams in the league. This team loaded with provincial players, suppose to walk all over the league can’t even score a goal against better teams. I watched the match between mountain and metro ford yesterday, It was all metro ford. Dont know which is true, either this team is struggling or provincial selection was poor.

    What ever it is, atleast half the teams in this age group U16 boys are competitive. I guess this is not a falure for the league. Hopefully it will get better and more competitive in the real season.

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