Self Serving Circles

Promotion, Relegation and LTPD…

A recent announcement from the EODSA League, a league managed by one of the largest districts in the province left no doubt that as a group while they may support of the concept of Long Term Player Development and the new Ontario Premier Development League as proposed by the Ontario Soccer Association they are willing to undermine the principles of both to meet their own ends.

“The OSA proposal for League Re-structure in 2014 and 2015 raises serious concerns for our member Clubs regarding the U13 divisions in 2013.  Consensus is that U13 divisions below OPDL should ALL be done by “self-selection” by Clubs (i.e. no promotion process and no cap of 8 Level 3 and 8 Level 4), thus members wish EODSA to strongly voice this at upcoming OSA meetings, and to vote against the OSA proposal if U13 will be Regional League with caps on team entries.”

Basically the clubs of EODSA while in support of the elimination promotion and relegation by standings and results at the youth level are seemingly in favour of some sort of club directed system that basically amounts to the same thing.  This and they are definitely against the restriction of regional leagues to eight teams based on standards of coaching and facilities and are willing to withdraw support of the ODPL to get their way.

What the EODSA clubs are proposing basically amounts to a system of promotion and relegation determined not by results but by political process thus ensuring that ALL clubs or more likely a select group of clubs within the district regardless of standards have a team at the highest level (outside of ODPL).

All so a club can move (or promote) a team of players as a group “up” or “down” the ladder of development not because it is the best thing for the players involved but because politically and financially it is the best thing for the club involved.

That promotion and relegation an entirely adult system of reward and punishment was ever inflicted on youth soccer in this country is the biggest crime perpetrated against player development ever in sport, any sport, in this country.

The reasons I spoke to in a prior article:

“Another spin-off of this muddled morass is the inclusion of promotion and relegation at ALL levels of youth soccer in Ontario. While proponents will preach the virtues of “survival of the fittest” what it has really meant for years is that recruitment has trumped development and winning at almost any cost while never admitted to is the modus operandi for too many coaches and clubs.

It has meant mass player, coach and parent movement between teams, clubs and leagues in the never ending search for the fool’s gold of championships and medals at ever decreasing ages. This movement is a huge resource drain as clubs are continually faced with rebuilding coaching staffs, teams and volunteer pools as the annual migration set off by the end of the playing season rolls around like a nightmarish merry go round that never stops.

All of this because the “system” we’ve designed favours the movement of teams of players over the movement and development of individuals. In a player oriented development system players would (and should) move teams would not.

It appears though, as always, while almost all clubs are willing it “talk the talk” not all are willing to “walk the walk” – unless of course it is in a self serving circle.

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4 comments to “Self Serving Circles”
  1. As a coach and parent of a child moving up through the development league in Ottawa I see some tremendous positives. I didn’t experience the old “competitive” soccer stream, but from what I understand the development league is a huge step forward.

    That being said, one of the biggest surprises to me in moving into the soccer world was that a player could go to any club they wanted. Coming from hockey where you play within your association, or not at all, this structure made no sense.

    However, there is one positive, which is that a player will not be stuck in a club that is not meeting their needs.

    I don’t think a system that fixes the position of teams and allows for player movement will solve recruiting. Players will still move to clubs that are seen as stronger. I do like the idea that clubs in specific leagues must have certain standards for coaching and development. With this in place player movement to different clubs should not be necessary. For player movement, I’d prefer the minor hockey philosophy of a release from one association to another being required and this only being granted under exceptional circumstances.

  2. My twin boys were born in 2001 and next year they will be U-13 and first kids going with new system. They started with Woodbridge, moved to Kleinbourg and now they play with Richmond Hill Green. They were always with A teams and one of them is exceptional player. Unfortunately, non of them plays for District team since kids picked for District team are kids form parents financing club, fathers with connection in OSA etc. We moved from team to team thinking that only “this” team is about money, but now we know that all teams and coaches are about money. Coaches asking for coaching fee, or $1700 for summer and the same for winter. Richmond Hill is not so expensive and coach is not asking for coaching fee but he has kids from friends. As long as father coaches in mickey mouse teams are coaching, soccer in Ontario is not going anywere. Kids all down till U-15 should play only in district league and there is no sense to restrict to only 8 teams, shold be better 12 teams and maybe only 2 or 3 levels. When clubs now that there is no regional league for 7-8 years they will turn to develop players. Now every year is new level. Sorry, but new change will only make more expensive to parents and not more time with ball for the kids. Players shoul practise 3-4 times a week not 1-2 times, so hockey, baseball and other sports kids can not play 3 sports just becouse parents can afford. Nice pictures in presentation tools do not bring better soccer. You will understand in 5 years. Thank you.

  3. In discussing the EODSA statement, it should be noted that 8 of 20 youth clubs involved in the EODSA League didn’t attend the meeting where this issue was discussed. I’d also be interested in who said what among the 12 clubs that did attend. All that to say, I think care should be used in suggesting that EODSA clubs, as a group, are opposed to elements of the LTPD strategy.

    Once the way forward for 2014 and beyond is detailed by the OSA, I suspect that the EODSAL might want to review its position.

  4. Peter according to the league page club attendance was as follows:

    Absent (8 Clubs): Almonte, Carleton Place, Glengarry, Nepean Hotspurs, Perth United, Seaway Valley, Smiths Falls, Rockland

    Attendees (12 Clubs): Capital Utd, Cumberland, Gloucester, Kemptville, Nepean City, Ottawa Internationals, Ottawa Royals, Ottawa South United, Russell, St. Anthony, West Ottawa, West Carleton.

    But unfortunately no real attribution or notes of the discussion appear to be available. I would note that the absent/present club breakdown falls along small/rural and large/metro lines in general.

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