Recruiting in Canada eh?

Discussion in 'Women's College' started by Kannegiesser, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. Kannegiesser

    Kannegiesser New Member

    Jun 8, 2006
    Very interesting read from McCormack '01 Yale:

    Up Against It: Why our Soccer System Fails
    April 9, 2010 - By Ciara McCormack

    Like most of the BC soccer community, I was extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Roman Tulis and found myself tearing up when I came across the news. Although I had never met him before, I was friends with many of his players, both male and female. His players always possessed supreme technical ability and everyone spoke so highly of his methods of teaching, his passion, and his integrity in the game. Through his obvious passion for the game and the belief it could be done better, I admired the way he didn’t put his energy into the politics that envelop the game in Canada but instead embarked on building opportunities for players that backed his strong passion for and knowledge of the game. He quietly did his own thing and let the accomplishments of his players speak for themselves.

    In the same manner that Roman saw a deficiency in the system and took action to add another option for the benefit of the players, a group of us twenty-something elite female players started the girlsCan Western Canada Soccer Showcase, a professionally run College Showcase for female players in grades 9-12. While on one hand, we have some fantastic stories that have come out of the first three years of the Showcase, this year again elucidated some very real problems that exist within the soccer system in BC and Canada. I believe these problems need to be highlighted and changed in order to move soccer forward in a real way in this province and country. I will highlight the history of running this showcase over the last three years to show just one tiny example within many others, of the type of resistance people face when trying to sincerely change the soccer landscape for the better in this province and country. In giving my experience, perhaps it will serve to uncover the answers that I always have had as a player as to why we always seem to be falling so far short of our potential to be a true soccer powerhouse.

    As simply put as possible, I played a main role in starting the girlsCan Western Canada Soccer Showcase in 2008, because I had a fantastic experience playing university soccer at a school that fit me perfectly. This was due in large part to my dad who had been extremely diligent in researching the process. Since that time, many girls had approached me for help in grade 12, some Provincial team players - others not, but all who were very talented, and desperate for help in getting connected with a college. Many did not realize that second semester grade 12, especially for schools in the US, was too late to begin the process. I also started the showcase because I loved the idea that the opportunity to play at college seemed to level the playing field and took out the politics that often permeates the game. Essentially, you could be a Provincial team player or someone who simply kicked the ball in the backyard for 5 hours a day, it didn’t matter; if a coach thought you were good, you would get an opportunity. Lastly, many of my friends who were college coaches always lamented to me about how they knew there were good players in this part of Canada, but there was nothing in existence similar to the professional showcase events that were run in the US. In other words, there was no vehicle to see these female players play on a large scale.

    With these four points in mind, and yet having absolutely no experience of running any kind of a similar event but fueled with many good memories of my own college experience and thankfulness for a father who educated himself on the recruitment process, I decided to embark on building such an event for high school female players in Western Canada, in Vancouver, BC specifically. My main perceptions initially on the greatest challenges were how to go about booking fields, acquire the necessary insurance, and get enough college coaches up to Vancouver. What I did not expect was the kind of resistance I would get from the system itself. It was a lesson on an unhealthy structure of power within a fractured system that almost knocked the showcase down before it had the chance to start.

    My first glimpse came within an hour of us sending the first email, in late 2007, advertising the inaugural 2008 Showcase. We made it clear in the initial flyer that we were not affiliated with anyone. We did so to underscore the purpose of the showcase, which was to welcome all players and make clear that no bias would be shown to anyone regardless of their soccer background, so long as they were playing at an elite club level. Within an hour, we had received our first taste of resistance in the form of a response to an email we had written to a BC Provincial team coach asking him to pass the information on to his players. Instead of an email response from the coach himself, we received an email from a board member of BC Soccer, cc’d to approximately ten other members of the BC Board asking us how dare we solicit their support given that our event clearly stated we were not affiliated with anyone. The long winded email was haughtily signed off with an instruction to read an attached pathway to player development. I felt as though we had innocently and naively thrown a pebble into a lake and yet instead of having an expected ripple from that stone toss, was hit in the face with a tsunami. We responded immediately to the email and spent over an hour constructing that response, including clearly outlining that we were not asking for their support as such, just if they could pass on the information to their players, letting them know of the opportunity. We wrote respectfully, point by point, trying to explain in detail that we had simply identified a gap in the system and, as former college players ourselves, we were simply embarking on the task of filling that gap. This painstakingly constructed email was responded with a curt one sentence response from the BC Soccer staff member that he did not have the time to read the response. We were told that if we wanted to, we could schedule a meeting the following week at their offices.

    This two hour-long meeting a few days later, was eye-opening to say the least and immediately brought to light some of the reasons why our system is the way that it is. There were some interesting points that came out of this meeting. One that comes to mind is a statement by this BC Soccer staff member saying “let’s be honest, no girl outside of the Provincial team is going to be good enough for a scholarship to a university - maybe an off chance of a Super Y player“ (we completely disagreed). Another statement coming from this BC Soccer staff member was “well this college showcase idea is something that we had in the works in the next couple of years so there really isn’t the need for you guys to run one” Our response to this was “what about all the girls in grade 11 and 12 now who are going to miss the chance while BC Soccer gets the idea together. Furthermore, why not take advantage of the immense amount of contacts we have in the college coaching system?” The only conclusion I arrived at was that the system was set up in such a way that in order for BC Soccer to assert their power, they had to have the positioning so they could maintain their authority. In other words, if you made the Provincial team, it was because you truly were the best player.

    It did not reflect well on their player selection methods, if players such as Nahiomy Ortiz (played for Colombia in the 2008 U17 World Cup, including a 1-1 tie against Canada, the same year she was cut from the Provincial team) or Meagan Price-Leibenzeder (never made a Provincial Team before receiving a scholarship to the University of Maine where she was recently named Conference All-Rookie) were successful since they were not a part of the “player development pathway”. Take also the example of TSS Academy. TSS currently has over 15 grade 12 players who have recently been recruited to college teams in both Canada and the US. Of these players, not one of them was ever selected to the BC Provincial team. It was only through the efforts of organizations and individuals outside the “development pathway” that many of these players were given an opportunity to play college soccer. Of course the idea that there would be other methods to climb this pathway would take power and relevance away from BC Soccer’s assertion that their way is, in fact, the only way.

    In the meeting with BC Soccer, we also addressed the problems that we, as elite female players, identified in this “player development pathway.” This included the fact that for men and women, the pathway model is the same. This does not make sense on many levels. For one, I don’t know many females who have been able to make a living from the game.

    I think any female will tell you that the financial realities of being an elite male soccer player versus a female player are substantial. Furthermore, if the Canadian National team is at the top of this quoted “player development pathway,” I think you’ll find that if you survey all the members of the women’s National Team, I guarantee that most would say their college experience was the most important part of their development as a player. With that being the case, omitting university soccer as part of the “player development pathway” on the female side of the game is rather absurd.

    Fast forward two years later and we just finished our third year of the Western Canada Soccer Showcase - with 24 teams, girls involved from six provinces, many fantastic stories, and almost thirty universities from all across Canada and the USA in attendance. One would think that after three successful years we would have dispelled any notions that there wasn’t a place or a need for this type of event and yet the barriers and the resistance are as high as ever . At this point, there is still a chance that a 4th year of the Showcase could be threatened. For one, the Whitecaps have begun their own college showcase this year. One would think under normal competitive circumstances that the existence of the Whitecaps event would simply better focus our efforts on making the Western Canada Soccer Showcase as the best it could be. Unfortunately, the system and the power it yields makes us realize that despite our success, the continuation of our event remains precarious.

    The fact is that the Whitecaps, a private commercial enterprise, are within the coveted and often-quoted “player development pathway”. How a private, for-profit organization can be placed in this model immediately strikes me as troubling. As an athlete, one thing that I covet is competition. It has pushed me to work harder on my game, and through this refinement, become a better player and person. Competition makes me accountable, and makes me think creatively as to how I can become better. By basically handing the Whitecaps a metaphorical guaranteed spot in the starting eleven, it does everyone a disservice. It is also disrespectful to established, successful groups such as the aforementioned Roman Tulis Soccer School, TSS Academy, and many other groups that have quality people involved and have had many players succeed through their programs. As a player, I can definitely vouch for the necessity for players to have options - because that gives the power to the players to choose the environment that best suits them. If the BC Soccer slogan is “dedicated to development” then it’s logical to assume that the control and opportunity to put ourselves in an environment that best suits our needs should be in our hands. It should not be in the hands of an organization that forces these decisions upon us.

    So as it turned out, rather than being able to focus solely on running a successful event this year, we were forced to continually put out fires due to the simple fact that our event was not within the “system.” Instead of the supposed top players in the province being encouraged to attend this event and have the opportunity to play in front of schools such as McGill, UVic, Harvard and Arizona, we fielded emails from provincial team players who were told by their influential provincial team coaches that they were not allowed to participate in the showcase because, amongst other reasons, there was a “possibility of injury.” These late pull-outs were, of course, an inconvenience, but we placed no blame on the players. We understood as players ourselves that the coach holds the power in many situations. On elite teams, in particular, very few will stand up to this sort of thing for fear of jeopardizing their relationship with the coach and ultimately their position on the team.

    In addition to individual players, teams wrote us explaining how they were being pressured to join the Whitecaps showcase, and were debating pulling out of their commitment to the Western Canada Soccer Showcase (we only ended up losing one team). Furthermore, the provincial team, knowing full well that our showcase runs historically on Easter Weekend, scheduled mandatory events for players during the Easter Weekend. We received frantic emails from teams right before the showcase telling us that BC Soccer staff members had told them that the showcase was not sanctioned and they were worried about insurance. In fact, our event was fully sanctioned which was confirmed by BC Soccer and yet still a month later we were dealing with reports of an NTC coach and BC Soccer Staff member who continued to spread this falsehood. We also were told that our event was being pegged by a BC Soccer staff member as a “money grab” (last time I checked, the mode of transportation by members of our group was public transportation - not the spiffy BC Soccer white Mercedes SUV’s we see around town). Normally when something is successful, one expects these kinds of negative statements. However, when these attacks are orchestrated by the very people who dictate whether the event can even run - it’s alarming to say the least.

    Despite all this unnecessary added stress and knowing that we had no control over what other stumbling blocks would be put in our path, many positive qualities were seen over the course of the event such as loyalty (emails from teams stating that despite pressure to back out of our event that they loved what we were doing, believed in it, and would stick by us), bravery (coaches and parents standing up to BC Soccer, despite possible ramifications because it was about the players after all), and teamwork (working together with what could be seen as a competitor in TSS Academy who were fantastic in providing their facility and immense knowledge for a pre-event). Having female national team players involved in running the event and the mentorship that they provided to the girls was fantastic. Seeing the seeds of dreams being planted of what is possible with hard work in the classroom and on the field and watching goals unfold in the way of scholarship offers and university opportunities, gave and gives us the fuel to keep on fighting.

    I fully recognize that writing this article may be furthering our chances for trouble in upcoming years as the organization that I am calling out, is the very one whose signature we require on our paperwork for the event to run next year. BC Soccer are the ones that control many of the players who would be at the event. But as a player still myself, and with the girls’ best interest at heart, I am willing to lose the event in order to illuminate the current state of the system. My experience organizing the showcase has been the answer I have been searching for as to why many of the “good” people don’t stick around since these are the kind of headaches that are faced when putting effort into creating something positive in the system.

    That being said, perhaps that is why I cried and felt like I lost a friend when I read of Roman’s passing, a man I had never met. People like Roman Tulis set an example of having the courage to go out of the system for the betterment of the players, and his passion and integrity left their mark on anyone passionate on seeing the game grow in this country. I know that I, for one, will draw strength from his inspirational memory to continue the fight for change in the system and opportunity for choice for the players. Roman’s lasting inspiration coupled with every player out there with a dream and a desire to be better, at the very least, deserves that.

    Ciara McCormack grew up in Vancouver, BC, is the founder of girlsCan Soccer Development and the Western Canada Soccer Showcase. She currently plays for the Republic of Ireland National Team and for Kolbotn FC of the Norwegian Top League.
  2. uscue13

    uscue13 Member

    Nov 11, 2009
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A tad long for me. Abrigged version of what its about?
  3. Soccerhunter

    Soccerhunter Member+

    Sep 12, 2009
    My cut at the abridged version is:

    1. Hometown girl establishes her community and soccer credentials. Appeals to what is "good" in youth soccer by noting recent death of dedicated coach.

    2. Reports seeing a need for a local showcase event for girls.

    3. Works to put on showcase event but is SHOCKED by local turf protection and possible sexism. Relationship with local youth soccer establishment is not good.

    4. Does OK with her showcase event for several years and now is shocked that the local soccer establishment wants to put on a competing event and drive her out.

    5. Puts out article to expose the "bad" political situation. Again appeals to her identification with the "good" in youth soccer.


    Who would have known that even in Canada youth athletics can be a nasty business peppered with oversized egos and insecurity. Stand by for retaliation.

    Good luck!
  4. Kannegiesser

    Kannegiesser New Member

    Jun 8, 2006

    BC Soccer Weds Whitecaps in Closed Ceremony
    Friday, 12 March 2010

    Editorial by Colin Elmes

    ImageOur soccer community here in British Columbia is a sensitive one. Organizations and individuals don’t take to criticism well, so often we grumble under our breath about the deficiencies in our soccer system but are loathe to speak out loud. Some would argue that our reluctance to debate freely or to openly dissent is a Canadian trait. We would rather hold our breath than make people feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this inclination does not help us improve. On the contrary, it causes us to be stagnant, to be intransigent to the possibility of change. Criticism and debate when received openly, allows us to refine, to modify, and ultimately to improve. One of my favourite posters is a photo of bulls chasing Spanish men down the streets of Pamplona. The caption reads “just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it's not incredibly stupid.”

    So in an effort to overcome this Canadian inclination, I would like to point out a few glaring issues surrounding our youth soccer development system. We have been told in no uncertain terms by our governing body that we should always defer to the Player Development Pathway. This pathway puts the CSA at the very top of the pyramid with their national teams program. This is followed below by the Whitecaps with their senior teams. Third in line is the BCSA with their provincial teams, plus the Whitecaps Prospects. The final tier is the community soccer clubs.

    The issue at hand is the decision by our provincial governing body to embed the Whitecaps, a professional soccer club, right into the center of this development pathway. Why is this a problem? This is a problem both in terms of conflicting objectives and exclusive endorsement.

    To begin with, the Whitecaps is a business - in the same way that TSS Academy is a business. As the owner of TSS Academy, my primary objective is to offer a product or service at a price that allows the business to grow or at least to sustain itself. In so doing, the business has to be good at offering that product or service. If TSS Academy was not good at developing players and offering a positive training environment, the business would suffer.

    The same is true for the Whitecaps. Though in the case of the Whitecaps, their primary business objective is not to develop players, it’s to sell tickets. That’s not to say that developing players is not an instrumental part of selling tickets since the Whitecaps need good players to eventually fill the ranks of their senior teams. However, developing players is not their primary business objective. If for example, the Whitecaps could acquire top level players from outside their organization, their province, or their country - why wouldn’t they? Their primary objective is to sell tickets. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with that objective and there’s no question that if the Whitecaps succeed and continue to flourish, it will undoubtedly help develop the game in this province. However, it is foolish and naive to believe that the aims of the BC Soccer Association and the Whitecaps are the same.

    The BC Soccer Association (BCSA) has as its purpose “to foster, develop and promote the game of soccer, in all its branches, in the province of British Columbia.” The association is not a business, it is an organization that emanates directly from the community soccer clubs in BC. The Whitecaps currently support this BCSA objective for obvious reasons. However, for the the BCSA to jump exclusively into bed with the Whitecaps simply because they share some common goals, is highly inappropriate. It is also questionable given that the BCSA is a society partially funded by the provincial government. By engaging in an exclusive relationship with the Whitecaps, they are effectively shutting out other businesses. This, in legal terms, is called “commercial preference.”

    Here is a case in point. The Whitecaps Prospects Program is currently considered to be part of the Player Development Pathway. Essentially what this means is that all community soccer clubs, including their technical directors, are strongly encouraged to endorse the Whitecaps Prospects Program. If the club has an elite player, they are expected to stand aside if the Whitecaps are interested in developing that player. The Prospects Program, however, charges these players a fee to train with the Whitecaps. So while the community club may offer a good training environment or a user-pay program, they are expected to stand aside and let another user-pay program provide this service.

    The Whitecaps also offer a user-pay program for the “second-tier” of players. This program is referred to as their “academy” rather than “prospects”. So should the soccer community be expected to stand aside for this program as well? What’s the difference? I’ll tell you the difference, one program has better players than the other - end of story.

    In other words, the Whitecaps Prospects Program is no different than TSS Academy, no different than the Roman Tulis School, no different than any user-pay academy through the club. Now one may argue that they are different because the Whitecaps offer a superior training environment but that’s simply a matter of opinion - just one business arguing that they have a better product than the competition. What is truly different about the Whitecaps Prospects Program is that they are endorsed exclusively by our governing body, the BC Soccer Association. Imagine if the FA in England were to exclusively endorse Manchester United and to instruct all elite young players to train at the Manchester United Academy. There would be outrage across the soccer community - not to mention the other private businesses that train young players.

    At least professional clubs like Manchester United allow their top young players to train for free - just like most every other professional soccer club in the world. The reason these clubs don’t charge money for their academies is because they’re trying to develop these players into senior players who can, in turn, help them SELL TICKETS. Again, this is the primary objective of professional soccer clubs.

    At minimum, what are the parameters of this exclusive relationship between the BCSA and the Whitecaps? For example, can the Prospects Program balloon their U12 boys age group to 60 players - all of whom are paying a fee? Does the program have to end on a certain date during the year or can it run all through the summer? Why isn’t the BCSA mandating that the Prospects Program be offered free of charge in order to be part of the pathway? Players do not pay for the National Training Centre. Why are they being forced to pay for the Prospects? In other words, at what point does the Whitecaps Prospects Program simply become a user-pay academy under the guise of elite player development as identified by the BCSA Player Development Pathway?

    This is not to say that private businesses in our soccer community should be reviled or mistrusted. I have no doubt that the Whitecaps earnestly believe in developing young players and developing the game in this province - so does TSS Academy, so does most everyone involved in coaching young soccer players, whether they be paid professionals or volunteers. It’s silly to believe that charging a fee somehow calls into question one’s motives. For example, Dynasty Electric in Delta, BC manufactures and sells electric cars. Do they care about the environment? Of course they do. Do they charge money for their cars? Of course they do. The issue is not the motives or even the efficacy of a private business training young players in this province. The alarming issue is that our governing body has exclusively placed a single professional soccer club at the heart of its development model. The BCSA has elevated one private business above all the rest, an organization that is not even in the primary business of developing players. It’s questionable at best for the BCSA to give any private business that kind of monopoly. And even if one has no issues with this decision, where was the due process? At minimum, where was the Call for Tenders? I’m sure there would have been quite a few businesses interested in bidding on that contract.


    Colin Elmes is the Director and Owner of TSS Academy in Richmond, BC
  5. Kannegiesser

    Kannegiesser New Member

    Jun 8, 2006

    British Columbia Soccer Association

    Suite 510 – 375 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 5C6
    Phone: 604-299-6401 Fax: 604-299-9610

    Associate Membership – a New Way?

    A Discussion Paper

    The following is a discussion paper which provides an overview of the evolution of soccer in British Columbia and its impact on the nature of membership in the Association. The concepts and points presented in this paper are meant to inspire reflection on the issue of Associate Membership rather than represent a definitive statement on Associate Membership.


    Over the past two decades the face of soccer in British Columbia has changed. We, as the Soccer Community are facing not only the professionalization of the game, with the increase of professional staff at the Club, District and Provincial level, but also the introduction of ethnic diversity. In the 70’s and 80’s, and even the early 90’s the only way our youth played soccer was to join a club, as a member of a District, and leagues were created by those same Districts. More often than not the team coach was a willing parent who would agree to take some basic training. This is no longer the case with the previously noted local professional staff and significantly more Coach training. The 90’s saw the introduction of the Regional Centres (PacSport, replaced by the District Development Centres in the early 2000’s), followed quickly by the introduction of paid professional coaching staff and administrative staff not only at the District level, but also at the Club level in the major urban centres. It was generally recognized by the Soccer Community that only by using professional staff could Soccer in BC make the next major step. The situation was further complicated by the increase in ethnic populations whose first love was not for Hockey, but for Soccer. This change in demographic has helped bring soccer very much to the forefront of sport not only in BC, but in Canada. A recent article suggested that Canada’s game within 10 years will no longer be Hockey, but we will have a society that lives and breathes soccer as is the case in many other countries around the world. (Montreal Gazette, March 12, 2010, Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service) These changes have contributed significantly to the introduction of yet another dimension to soccer in BC; the introduction of professional Soccer Schools. Parents eager to support their children’s athletic endeavours began to seek (and in some cases, demand) additional access to skilled coaches for their children beyond the scope and capability of the Districts and Leagues to deliver. As a result, the private soccer school came into its own and subsequent challenges have arisen between BC Soccer and the private soccer schools in terms of governance, in large part because the membership structure of the BC Soccer has remained unchanged. The question that the increasing participation of private soccer schools in British Columbia begs is: should BC Soccer respond to the presence of private soccer schools in terms of adjusting membership status in order to include private soccer schools? Phrased differently, does BC Soccer want to proceed with its historically-proven membership system, or does the Association want to explore ways to embrace the increasing number of soccer school stakeholders (and the related challenges)? What are the risks of doing or not doing this?

    The Situation

    While there are many dynamics to Soccer in BC, this document only analyzes two, although the impact of any decisions will impact many other aspects of the game. As noted above, this discussion will be centered on 1) professionalization of the game, and 2) the influx of the ethic component in soccer’s growth.The latter point revolves around the desire of a more soccer-centric community as a result of immigration for “soccer nations”. The impact has been a more marketable game, with more and more people bringing more and more diverse options to the spectator fans. It is now almost a constant demand for BC Soccer to offer sanction to games from off shore communities (via the CSA). The interest in specific ethnic group tournaments or inter-ethnic group competition has grown exponentially. The question that needs addressing is our level of support of those options. We can choose to refuse sanction and restrict the use of our insurance, our referees, and our facilities, or we can embrace these new groups and find ways to integrate them into our existing structures. The former point is perhaps the more complex. It is clear that the professional soccer school is here to stay. The desires and the resources of modern parents will ensure that these organizations remain. The complexity of this situation becomes more challenging to align when we realize that the end benefactors of both our own efforts are for the same persons. The players registered in a soccer schools are the same children that are registered in our Districts. The same players who pay for professional coaching are the same players who will be part of our District select teams, our Provincial All-Star teams, and even our National Teams. So, how then do we harmonize this situation?

    Special Interest Groups – Options

    The special interest group is perhaps the simpler of the two to consider. Each and every time a group requests a special event affiliation, in order to use referees, facilities, even players, currently our bylaws do not allow such a thing to happen. There are only limited choices, and often times, these events are supported only by broad and/or creative application of rules. And, the creative application of the rules is overlaid by whether the event is in concert or conflict with BC Soccer’s commitment to development of soccer in British Columbia. In one instance, for example, a group wishes to bring in a high calibre team from another country which will likely draw a great spectator crowd, and also good publicity, and all the group needs is use of 4 affiliated referees. In another instance, a group wants to put on a tournament and the event is in direct conflict with Provincial Cup play downs or another sanctioned BC Soccer competition. How do we differentiate between the two? And perhaps the more challenging question is how do we identify, in any concrete way, the difference between the two? The choice then becomes, either we no longer recognize either event, or, we create a membership class that allows discretion on the part of staff, board and Districts to make sound judgment, and to require these groups to follow the BC Soccer rules as members, rather than a group of non-members that renders our rules unenforceable. The choice not to allow these groups to participate eliminates the conflict. It keeps the situation simple, and negates any potential for improper situations to arise. At the same time, the choice to allow a group to join as an associate member has its advantages. First, that group would need to pay a fee that compensates BC Soccer for use of its resources – a fee that would allow the development of an operational profit to offset costs of operations. Second, any group identified as an Associate membership would be required to bide by our Association bylaws, rules, and regulations. This begs the question of whether the risk is worth the gain.

    Professional Soccer Schools – Options

    As stated above, this is perhaps the more complex issue. The professional soccer schools will not likely disappear. The financial resources are available to the parents, and the desire to increase their children’s skills is well known. This presents two options the first of which is to ignore their existence, and require them to run outside of the jurisdiction of organized soccer. The second option is to engage them as Associate members or as a yet unnamed class of member. The gains in this group are not unlike the special interest groups. We can require these members to pay an appropriate fee to balance the draw on BC Soccer resources, and we can enforce – as a basic requirement of membership – the adherence to our rules, which requires any activity to be sanctioned by our primary youth members, the Districts. This places the decision-making powers squarely in the hands of the Districts, and BC Soccer. A side benefit of meeting the BC Soccer requirements may be of value to our functional members – the players and their parents – in that this option would evoke standards of operation for those schools. (At this time all that is required to open a soccer school is to find a facility, and place an ad in the local paper. Parents for the most part are ignorant of qualifications, and the programs that are set out by CSA, and BC Soccer.) Associate members of this class will be able to state that they hold such affiliation only if collectively we accept they are in fact qualified to guide our youth players. The dangers inherent in accepting this group as members is the movement of children away from our existing leagues, potentially diluting our existing programs. For example, while a simple approval process to allow a “travelling team” to attend a summer tournament is easy enough to do, it creates a challenge for attending tournaments during the height of BC Soccer’s playing season, typically the winter, on the coast. The difficulty we have is that once we open the door to allowing summer season tournaments during offseason, we may potentially limit our ability to say no during the playing season. And, we also create an additional challenge of fairness because in British Columbia, we have the equivalent of two playing seasons within the province. Can we allow this new class of member just a highly restricted access without leaving ourselves open to charges of discrimination, or restriction of trade? (The claim could be made that since we allow one tournament access in July, that such an access should be allowed in May, or it would be discriminatory.) Will opening the door to “travelling teams” be the thin entering wedge” with Soccer Schools and Academies demanding more and more access to our events? However, the risk of not engaging them also presents challenges. Is it possible that with all the schools that now exist, leagues could be set up between the various schools? There is currently a national association of professional soccer schools. Is it in the best interest of the future of soccer to allow this national, for-profit group to become the regulatory body of its own ilk? (Of course, since their motive is profit, their own competitiveness may be a limiting factor for such actions.) The risk can be mitigated by refusing services such as use of registered referees, access to our tournaments, and/or, granting access to our Provincial and National Championships. This action can most certainly be taken, but again, it is not without risk.


    Is it better to embrace a new factor, and attempt to regulate its growth or to let the new factor flounder? There is no definite answer as both choices carry with them inherent risk and benefit. The dilemma we face is that it is time to make that decision, and we must then be prepared to live with the consequences. Of course any decision made can be changed; however, as the saying goes, “it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle”. If we allow these new groups to enter our community, we invite the potential opportunity to work with them and thrive together. We also run the risk of increasing complexities which then can become a greater threat from within. If we chose not to allow them to join us, what actions will they take? Will those actions present an even greater threat in the future, or will they succumb to our greater numbers and our direct ties to FIFA and fall into step with BC Soccer. The real question here is do we include or exclude? Once that decision is made, our focus can then shift toward how to deal with the challenges and opportunities of implementation as we move forward.
  6. RegionIIFutbolr

    Jul 4, 2005
    Region 2
    Here in the last few yrs, more and more Canadian female players have been attending Shattuck-St Marys (SSM) boarding school in Faribault,MN for the soccer academy. The Canadian Natl team have been pulling players from the SSM program in the last few yrs as well. Chelsea Stewart Vanderbilt, Amy Harrison Tennessee, Vanessa Legault-Cordisco Evansville just to name a few.

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