BCPL off the ground

OK, it’s been awhile since I closed the door on BCPL coverage here, let’s see how it goes now that the league is in flight…

After all the angst of defining the league followed by the angst of the franchise application process followed by the angst of hiring coaches and then the angst of team selection, the BCPL finally got down to the business of the real angst of how these teams look in action.

And it looks pretty good based on the first week’s results. While I spoke to one semi-prominent naysayer who thought the standard at the U13 girls games he saw was not good at all, I think overall a lot of things have fallen into place.

In the ‘good’ category, there were not that many blowouts. That’s the most obvious marker in setting this league up as a credible destination for the province’s best players. The 8-0 loss suffered by Doug Schultz’s South Fraser U16 boys was characterized to me as not really being anything like an 8-0 game with it being 3-0 until late. Although I’m not sure if I’d be less concerned about five late ones pinging in than an overall score of 8-0. The 8-1 on the Island that the Fusion U14 girls posted against the Wave is a concern. I’ve been told that cost has been an issue on the Island and many top players have opted out with this age group being one example.

But the Okanagan were competitive with Metro Ford. Granted it was at home but still they won three games against the Coquitlam power house.

Fields at South Surrey were apparently immaculate and aside from Mountain’s aforementioned drubbing of the South Fraser U16 boys none of the teams that are really stacked with Provincial team players crushed their opponents. That’s a great sign as it was one of the overriding concerns heading in.

The bad? Not much really. Some logistical concerns about the new Trillium fields in Vancouver as a facility but those were minor.

If the mini season can have six more weeks like this I think most people will consider it a success.

Comments welcome. Keep it reasonable. Harsh, anonymous criticism will likely not make it into the comments section or if it does won’t last long. It’s important to give this venture some breathing room. It’s already had a more public upbringing than Drew Barrymore and we know that wasn’t the smoothest ride for the little ET star…

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44 Responses to BCPL off the ground

  1. TM says:

    First let me say that I’m a strong proponent of the league but my read of the weekend results was slightly different and biased by the fact that I follow more of the boys side.

    Of the 4 U16 games 3 were not close games (at least in the score sheet): 5-1,5-0, 8-0.
    The same pattern was repeated on the U17s, of the 3 games 2 had final scores of 5-0 and 6-2.
    The U18s were closer but 1 of the 4 games ended up in an 8-0 blowout.

    Having said that, it seems that the younger age groups were more competitive than the older ones, which may lessen worries for the future of the league.

    Thoughts?

    • Colin Elmes says:

      watched 4 games, standard was ok, 3 games had some good patches of play, one(in support of the semi prominent naysayer) was quite poor. Game presentations were good, all four games on grass, fields at South Surrey were immaculate(yes Gregor borrowed my word). There were some games won by teams who on paper were not expected to be of standard. Some of these games by 3-4 clear goals.

      I dont believe anyone will have a read on this until this circuit of games is almost complete.

  2. JoeR says:

    I took in 2 games on the weekend my daughter’s U16 game and a game at the U17/18 Girls level. First from a game standpoint the “upgrades” of the league being more professional (the walk-on, the national anthem) is something that is not really new, and was being done in the Y-league. What was nice was the medical/physio staff there to attend to the girls. The level of play was good. But this leads to what I heard at the sidelines being asked in both games what is the difference between this and the old metro. The response numerous times said and agreed by parents on the sidelines was cost.

    One of the biggest points of contention seems to be the new substitution rule. Many parents at both games were upset with the fact that this rule came in after we had all signed up and paid our money. And there are those that I heard say they might not have joined had they known there kid may only get 10-20mins a game Many are upset with the fact that if a player comes off 20mins into the game that they were not able to go back on. I think the substitution rule would be more palatable to parents if it was more in line with the Y-league rules where if you come off you can’t go on again in that half but can return in the second half. I did see one parent go to talk with Steve Allen to bring this concern to him and he said they were not the only one to do so. The only other concern cost wise that I heard was around the fact that there is only 7 teams at the U16 girls level and since there is no Victoria would this mean a reduction in fees since there is a reduction in travel

    All in all a successful start to the new league but there is still work to do and I hope the league does take a poll of the players and parents on what our opinion is and most importantly listen to us as we are the end consumer in this.

    • Colin Elmes says:

      Ah yes Steve Allen. Good to hear that he was out to watch. I was in Abbotsford ( where I asked) and at South Surrey Athletic( where I didnt) and did not see anyone present from the BC Soccer world on opening day. Please advise if there were any more sightings.

    • Gregor says:

      I would really like to hear from someone on the Technical Committee for their take on why this sub rule was implemented. I have to admit I can’t see an upside to it but there must have been some rationale for adopting it.

      I welcome any comments from those close to that decision to post here or email me privately so I can better understand it.

      As someone who coached Y League for five years I even found the sub rules there a bit restrictive for young players but if Joe’s saying that would be improvement on the current rules, there’s definitely some cause for concern.

      • TM says:

        I know that the sub rule is a hot topic with parents but frankly I don’t know what the fuss is all about (especially from fellow coaches). It may take a while for players, parents and coaches to get used to it but I don’t think the rule per se is detrimental to player development.

        The problem IMHO is more of a “cultural shock”, as the “old” rule has been there for a long time and all other popular North American sports (football, basketball, hockey) allow for unlimited substitutions. On the other hand, everywhere I know outside of N.Am. (granted I can only talk about Brazil, Portugal and Spain, others countries I’d have to research) once you move to 11-a-side you are constrained to limited (most often 5) subs, no re-entry. Unlimited subs are the norm only in 7-a-side (U13 and down).

        Obviously, I can’t talk for the Technical Committee but maybe they are trying to align the league rules with the best practices from the soccer world at large?

  3. Bruce says:

    I thought the standard was promising. It was “ok” as Colin stated, which a reasonable start. Still a lot of players and coaches getting to know each other and in the end I think the mini season may work out better than having a full season to head into.

    So far my son is happy and I’m happy, but the league and the clubs still have much to prove re value for dollar and generally getting their act together. A lot of the league principles and objectives a pretty vaporous.

    Some of my more immediate concerns.

    What on earth are these players going to do during their 3+ month break? Most of these players go stir crazy during the 4 week break between SYL and the start of the fall season. Over 3 months off is too much. The mini season is more mini that I’d like.

    I don’t think the sub rule is suitable for youth player development. The SYL version of the rule is pretty spot on. The BCSPL version does not properly support in game injuries & does not allow coaches to address on field problems and then allow player to attempt to correct them.

    How many games will there be in the regular season? I’ve heard rumours that there will only be 14 games (1 home – 1 away per team). I expect 24+ matches. Metro teams are playing around 18. With the longer season and the bigger bucks, more games should be in order. So often the league cost has been justified because it is effectively the combination of an offset winter season plus SYL. Lets see it then.

    There seems to be a belief by some that BCSPL training is all anyone would ever need. That 5.5 hours/week of physical activity will keep these players at an elite level. Many of the BCSPL players were training around 10 hours / week (metro + 1-3 academy/prospect sessions + SAQ) plus other school activities prior BCSPL. I’ve not seen anything written down, but I’ve heard there may be issues with players going to external academies or playing school sports. That’s fine for the Whitecaps residency players whom are being supported by the team and are training 12+ hours/week, but preventing athletes from engaging in athletics would be an issue for me.

    Time will tell. Assuming my son sticks with it, then I will too and partake (think lab rat) in the experiment.

  4. Colin Elmes says:

    I was watching both U13/14 boys games Mtn v South Fraser. There were two very small players playing for Mtn that were very good technical players(particularly #2) and saw the game very well. They were struggling to get stuff accomplished because of their physical stature. If they had been on the U13 field they would have had a greater chance of expressing themselves and would have ramped the standard up there considerably. If the Brazilians can make decisions to play smaller technical players down at the youth level to protect them and let them flourish why cant we?

    • Bruce says:

      I think it gets back to a favourite theme here and that is clubs/coaches in this province seem to go for the quick fix and immediate wins. Kids 11-12 going through early growth spurts are either dropped entirely or put on defense – “they have no touch” – and then no one ever helps them get their touch. Kids 12-14 that haven’t grown yet are dropped, because they “aren’t strong enough on the ball and can’t handle the physical aspects”. Sometimes I’m surprised there’s anyone left to play the game. Dedicated, intelligent, and athletic youth players need to be given an environment were they can still train at a high level (with high level players) while they work through their own physical development. I would love to see an alignment of clubs and training through the multiple tiers. Sadly I don’t see it. Maybe CMFSC has something like this, but I don’t live in that neck of the woods.

      I like what Mtn did when selecting those teams. Each boy seems incredibly dedicated and all are skilled. The boys in that game will adapt. Too many touches. They need to learn that they can no longer just dribble through 3-4 players. It’s very unlikely they’ll run in to any “bad” players and they are at a strength and reach disadvantage.

      • K says:

        Re: “given an environment….” You are absolutely correct Bruce. I am pleased to be given the direction to do this with my group last yera and again this year. Stress free, technical-first development model. Note – winning isn’t necessarily a by-product…which doesn’t make all the parents happy.

  5. X says:

    So far what I have seen in terms of the games is pretty much what I have come to expect in the past couple months. They look pretty good overall.
    To be frank, I think back in March, many, including myself to a degree, had visions of all players on all teams being at a truly “elite” level and that we’d be seeing this amazing new game being played at some amazing new level.

    Looking back now, this was unrealistic as there are only so many of these types of players out there.
    What we have are most of the best players playing together, we don’t have all of them…yet. When we do and when these teams have been playing together for a period of time, I believe the product on the field will impress.

    We’re very happy with our club and new coaches and with the added value we’re seeing since stepping into BCSPL.

  6. pv says:

    Colin asks if there were any more BCSA Director sightings at BCSPL games on Saturday. There could not have been because the BCSA Board had a meeting from 9-4 in Richmond on Saturday.

  7. Jim says:

    Members of BC soccer were out at South Surrey

  8. Mark says:

    Post removed by request of author

  9. Ras Island says:

    From what me see – da coaching has improved alot. Guyz who would never coach Metro are this year involved in the HPL especially on Vancouver Island. I know the results from Island teams where not good…….however de games I saw on Sunday were definately better style of soccer, where kids were being asked to play properly rather than dis winning at all costs lump da ball upfild.

    • Stuck in Bridge Traffic says:

      I saw a U16 girls game where the team that played kick and chase won and a game where it was clear the coaches were more interested in winning than in player development.

      • K says:

        I wouldn’t assume it was just about winning – maybe the girls haven’t been together very long and thus haven’t learned build-up with each other yet? Though at u16 you’d have hoped the previous coaches they had would have taught them that?

      • Stuck in Bridge Traffic says:

        It was absolutely clear the mandate was to win and player development was secondary. In fact, the girls (who have not been together long) were playing a nice build up possession game and for the most part doing so working the ball up and down the field TSS style (most have trained there). There were some missed opportunities, a crossbar or two, some rust on the timing of the runs into the box, fitness issues, stuff you’d expect in the first game of the season.

  10. K says:

    Confused. In the first post you said they played kick and chase but in the response you said they played build-up. Which was it?

    • Stuck in Bridge Traffic says:

      One team played K&C and won using that style. It was meant to be an ironic comment on how with HPL things were supposed to change but they have not.

      The team playing possession lost. The losing teams’ coach made some player decisions which clearly indicated, without a shred of doubt, that winning was paramount over player development.

      Clear?

      • K says:

        Yes, it’s clear. Just to defend myself – you didn’t then point out in the second post that the team you were saying played possession lost the game. I realize you said the kick and chase team won….#nitpicking.

      • Stuck in Bridge Traffic says:

        LOL re-read the thread. I mis-read your post and just now realized who you thought was the k&c team. *sigh* Tend to that when I get emotionally tied in knots fretting over the kids – tunnel vision. I’m sooo p.o.’d atm.

  11. Ras Island says:

    has anyone gone to watch training sessions to see if things have improved. Games will take while to show change. That is where this debate should begin…

    • Gregor says:

      That’s a good point. I’m guessing either BCSA staff or Technical Committee members will be doing this but training standards are hugely important.

      I’m wondering if any of the clubs has thought about doing video analysis of games and having off-field sessions to show players some things that need work. I’m becoming a big advocate of using video to help youth players refine technique and understand things like defensive shape, recognizing options in attack and seeing the benefits of off the ball movement.

      • K says:

        Only works if you have a video facility at your training ground.

        Although I too agree with video analysis, what 13 year old wants to watch themselves on video rather than train? How many teams are going to be able to get that 4 night of training together so as not to reduce on-field training to facilitate the video review?

        Great idea in theory.

      • JoeR says:

        There was a comment made at the SU parent meeting by the TD that on SAQ night the coaches were able to book the club house to use for video analysis before or after the team’s SAQ time. In terms of training I have to say not noticing a big difference between what my daughter has had before and what she is getting now. In saying that I don’t see that as a negative, the training she is getting now is equal to training she received at TSS, in Y-League with Gregor, and from some of her previous coaches. The only thing that I am noticing as a vast difference is how involved the TD is in being there during training and SAQs and going between the different teams. Not sure if this is a function of the new league or if this TD is just more involved then past clubs my daughter has played for.

  12. Gregor says:

    All you need is an iPad 😉

    Seriously though. An iPad2 has an HD video camera and can take stills. You can do rough editing on it and then upload directly to YouTube. As I’ve mentioned, YouTube has really good tools for annotating and marking up video. From there, you send a link to your team to watch it at their leisure. No need to get them all together to watch it unless you really want to. Next best option is to then bring the iPad to training and show the YouTube video to them all there while you talk about it. I’m talking 5-10 minutes videos focusing on 1 or 2 specific points. Doesn’t need to take a whole training session.

    • K says:

      Does your track suit have this:

      On it now?

      I am sold though – guess that’s one item my teams’ fundraising may go toward next year!? 🙂

      I am in dark ages. I still use T9. And like it.

  13. X says:

    Joe R, fyi, the TD’s level of involvement there has definitely increased with the inception of the new league / teams. I don’t know about you but I’m quite impressed with the off the field organization as well.

    I’m curious, you stated that;
    “I have to say not noticing a big difference between what my daughter has had before and what she is getting now. In saying that I don’t see that as a negative, the training she is getting now is equal to training she received at TSS, in Y-League with Gregor, and from some of her previous coaches.”

    Am I understanding you right that what your daughter is receiving now is over and above what she received in the past from her club team alone and is now more in line with what she received from her club team, TSS and SY combined? ( give or take of course ).

    • JoeR says:

      X- No what I am saying is the training is in line with what she got on certain club teams or at TSS or in Yleague. Not a combo of the bunch, in essence when I look at the good training she has had from other sources and I look at the training she is getting now they are on equal footing.

  14. Ras Island says:

    just watched South Fraser GU18 this weekend in Victoria. OMG kick and run football. There certainly needs to be standard upon which players are required to compete but not when a coach says, no u can’t or no passing boot it… At the GU18 really. What a contrast from the Voctoria team who almost paid for playing proper football 2-2 tie. Anyone wants to see it…..i have video.

    Maybe if we start posting video that will get the attention of some people to do things the right way

    • Gregor says:

      I know the coaches of that team. Spoke to one about the game you watched. They weren’t too happy with how their team played and the one I spoke to didn’t dispute much of what you’re saying except to say they certainly weren’t trying to get the girls to play that way. It was just one of those days that was as frustrating for the coaches as it was for the players.

  15. Ras Island says:

    Gregor, to be honest I want to commend the coaches for coming out and saying yes it was true but they were trying to get the girls not to play that way. Wish them all the best

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