EA SPORTS BC Soccer League Update – October 2012

If you are interested in being evaluated to play on one of our BCSPL teams in the up coming 2013 season please click here and complete the “Evaluation Request Form”

Magnuson Ford Mariners FC – EA Sports BC Soccer League – FAQ’s

PLAYER PROGRAMMING/DEVELOPMENT

Q: Is the BCSPL built with player identification, or player development in mind?

A: The BCSPL will be a significant asset to BC Soccer’s efforts to support the CSA and our game across the country by promoting Long Term Player Development (LTPD) and the player first mentality. The BCSPL will assist in player development by providing a consistent training program and standard of training that is supported by all franchises involved and BC Soccer’s Soccer Development Department and its elite CSA technical service plan. The BCSPL will also simplify scouting for the Provincial Teams Program, CSA, National Training Centre and ultimately, it will help the province’s best players earn berths representing Canada through the CSA’s National teams.

Q: How have the EA Sports BC Soccer Premier League player evaluations been conducted and will this process be undertaken in a more structured way in future?

A: There was no coordinated policy laid down for how club evaluations take place or when. In some cases these commenced in March 2011 and the majority of these have now concluded. Feedback from the first season of evaluations will be discussed amongst the Technical Sub-Committee for review. Following such the committee may make recommendations to the Board of Governors for standardization of evaluations which would be added to the Technical Operations manual.

Q: Assume a scenario where a BCSPL player plays the season from March to November. In February or March of the following year he/she comes back for an evaluation camp, but does not make the team. The player can now attend the evaluation camp for a Metro level Club. However, the Metro level does not start the new season until September. So technically a BCSPL player who does not return because of not having been elected or for other reasons, will not be able to play in a Club from November until September of the following year, a long period of 9 months

A: While this is a valid concern, it should become apparent that the BCSPL will be run in a different manner. This will include more scouting at the Metro level with players being invited up on trial rather than being invited to cattle call type evaluations. This will allow BCSPL to release players or place them with Metro level teams in their region in October and November, with new players being added during January and February. The intention is that BCSPL and its regional partners will work together to move players up and down in a player centered manner that ensures all players have somewhere to play and do not have long spells of no team or training.

Q: There is always a call for certification levels or professional player experience, but very little weight is given to program development and management. Should more weight be given to well-rounded experience, where people involved have a broad understanding of player and program development plus administrative management?

A: The Technical Sub-Committee of the BCSPL has created a Technical Operations manual which includes coaching standards that addresses the certification and competency of BCSPL coaches. As all BCSPL clubs will have a structure including administrative and technical support, their coaches won’t be asked to take on administrative tasks as they’ll be supported in a professional environment.

LEAGUE GOVERNANCE

Q: What checks and balances will the BCSPL Board of Governors have in place to ensure that selected clubs follow the CSA Club Charter, principles and practices in financial matters, equal gender employment opportunities in coaching, qualified coaching and qualified professional administrators, and the standards laid out in the RFP?

A: The BCSPL Board of Governors are creating a constitution that will give the league and clubs a framework to best operate within the rules, regulations, and guidelines of the BCSPL. This will include commitment to supporting the CSA’s Long Term Player Development Plan (LTPD).

Q: Will BCSPL add or remove clubs over time?

A: The league will be run by a Board of Governors (one from each franchise), who will be responsible to look after the best interests of the league. The number of clubs is set at 8 at this time and the Board of Governors could request a change if it can be justified and supported. The BCSPL constitution will lay out the exact standards that each club will be expected to fulfill.

Q: Can you please explain the Governance structure of the EA Sports BC Soccer Premier League as there are some concerns about possible conflicts of interest in terms of league representatives, members of BC Soccer Board, employees of Districts and Clubs?

A: The BCSPL Board of Governors is creating a constitution that will give the league a framework to best operate within the rules, regulations, and guidelines of the BCSPL.

Q: How has not having any local club district boundaries affected the league so far and are there any plans to review this at some point in time? There has been some evidence of groups of players leaving one club for another which may lead to inequality amongst teams at certain age groups.

A: The removal of local club district boundaries was an element of the new league that was agreed and understood by all clubs from the outset of the leagues operation. Clearly any learning’s from the first season will be fed back to the League Board of Governors for them to review and see if there is a need to restrict movement in any way or to limit the times at when players can move.

Q: Will each of the 8 clubs be represented by a team at all of the leagues age groups? Are there any plans to review the age categories as the league develops?

A: Clubs have completed evaluations and are finalizing rosters for the inaugural mini and full seasons. Once completed the League Board of Governors will review the ability for clubs to fulfill teams at all age groups and make appropriate amendments to the schedules. As the League develops the age categories of play will be evaluated with specific input and recommendations from the Technical Sub-Committee of the BCSPL.

STRUCTURE OF SOCCER IN BC

Q: How is BC Soccer going to support the new structure of youth soccer in BC?

A: BC Soccer will provide support to the BCSPL, as they do with any league or district program. BC Soccer views the BCSPL as a development opportunity for not only coaches and players, but also for match official and club administrators and will support where possible the professional development of each participant. In addition, BC Soccer will continue to service the coaching certification program and grassroots level of play through recognized programming and educational clinics.

Q: The EA Sports BC Soccer Premier League is scheduled to run from March to November. How will this fit into the current competitive league and competition structure in BC and will this lead to a consistent spring/summer soccer season across all of BC?

A: BC Soccer, BCSPL League Board of Governors, District and League representative have been and are still actively engaged in discussions as to how to ensure the league will fit into the current competitive league structure. Whilst it is a subject that is raised by the soccer community on a regular basis, BC Soccer has no plans at this stage to implement a consistent spring/summer soccer season across all of BC. However the new BCSPL as the pinnacle of youth soccer in BC will play a spring/summer league and as this league develops, there may well be learning’s that can be taken from it so as to further simplify the soccer structure in BC.

Q: How will the League link with Tier 2 play? Will players be able to move to and from tier 2 to the EA Sport’s BC Soccer Premier League and if so how and when?

A: BC Soccer, BCSPL League Board of Governors, District and League representative have been and are still actively engaged in discussions as to how to ensure the league will fit into the current competitive league structure, how it will link with Tier 2 play etc. There will be clear procedures put in place that will provide for how players can and when they can move to and from Tier 2 to the BCSPL.

CLUBS

Q: Will BCSPL clubs be allowed to form their own pay-per-use academies and subsequently make participating in those academies mandatory for BCSPL players?

A: BCSPL clubs may have pay for use academy programming for club and regional players not in BCSPL, but it isn’t expected to be a component of a player’s BCSPL commitments.

COSTS

Q: There some concerns about ‘excessive’ costs for players who are selected to play in the clubs. Can you provide details on what parents will have to pay, what these costs cover and who if anyone sets the pricing policy?

A: The league’s Board of Governors did not initially set a policy on pricing for players competing in the league. However, they have been very conscious for these costs not to be excessive or prohibitive and indicated that through the RFP process. Whilst allowing clubs to set their own policies, the clubs costs for the first season are fairly consistent in the $2000-2500 price bracket which is not dissimilar to players previously participating in the Metro/Select, Y –League and Provincial programs.

PROVINCIAL TEAM / NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Q: Are the teams in the League eligible to participate in Provincial Club Championships and represent BC in National Championships? How will this affect other competitions and the ability for smaller clubs to qualify and participate in them?

A: Discussions have taken place with all appropriate parties on how best to restructure BC Soccer Provincial Cup Competitions based on the new competitive structure that will exist. A number of proposals are being considered and a number of options have been proposed in terms of BC Soccer rule changes and amendments which the membership will determine at the June 2011 AGM.

Q: Will the BC Soccer Provincial teams program be affected by the EA Sports BC Soccer Premier League in terms of scheduling? How are the two linked (if at all) and will players be able to participate in both?

A: Clearly there is a need to ensure that the League and BC Soccer Provincial teams complement each other and the schedule of the league will be structured accordingly. This will hopefully end years of confusion and conflict around programming. Breaks in the season will be scheduled accordingly to allow players of distinction to be brought together for Provincial Team Program training, development projects and competition.

WHITECAPS

Q: What link (if any) will be formed between the BCSPL & the Vancouver Whitecaps FC (WFC)?

A: The WFC will consistently monitor and evaluate the player talent within the BCSPL. Essentially the BCSPL will serve as one component of the overall scouting mechanism for player identification, and selection, into the WFC full-time programming. The WFC will provide technical support/assistance through the BCSPL Technical Sub-Committee to ensure the player development objectives of the league are met.

Q: How will players enter and exit the BCSPL or are either released or selected to the WFC full-time programming?

A: The WFC will work in collaboration with the BCSPL franchises as it relates specifically to player movement in and out of the league. Regular communication will be maintained between WFC, BC Soccer, and the BCSPL Technical Sub-Committee in order to streamline the player movement into and out of the BCSPL and minimize the impact (if any) on the league operations and BCSPL team programming.

Q: The WFC have selected players (male), in all age groups, from the BCSPL environment into their full-time programming. By removing these players from the BCSPL surely the effect is a lower standard of play in the league?

A: The WFC have selected a maximum of 12 players per age group from the U13 to U15 age groups in BC. This is an average of 1.5 players selected from each of 8 BCSPL franchises per age group. For the U16 to U18 age groups the WFC have selected a maximum of 6 players from BC, an average of less than 1 player per franchise per age group. The effect of WFC player selection on the overall standard of the league will be minimal.

Q: Why should players be removed from their BCSPL team to join the WFC programming? Wouldn’t a better solution be that the players train with the WFC program (part-time) and continue to play with their BCSPL teams?

A: The professional full-time environment created by the WFC will provide consistency of training education in conjunction with a higher level competitive platform such as the US Soccer Development Academy. The WFC full-time program will provide the players the opportunity to be appropriately challenged on a daily basis, and ultimately give WFC the best chance to develop players capable of playing on the international and professional stage.