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Political Showdown in Edmonton


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Many observers in the Edmonton-area have been aware for some time the acrimony surrounding the two youth associations - Edmonton Inter-District Youth Soccer Association (EIYSA) and Edmonton Minor Soccer Association (EMSA).

Rather than bore everyone with endless details, suffice it to say that EIYSA has basically been the Tier I and II (U12 - U18) association while EMSA has been the community based program (U6 - U18).

However, both have been attempting inroads on each other's territory...EIYSA started a U10 league (although they called it U12 Developmental) and tried to have a Tier III league. EMSA started fielding Tier I and II teams at U12 - U18 ages.

For Tier I and II play, they have typically met in a Playdown format to determine the two teams which will represent the city at the Provincial Championships. EIYSA dominates these playdowns, with very, very few EMSA teams ever able to break the stranglehold.

These two associations have little love for one another, with the infighting and politics set to continue in perpetuity.

Mid-May, the Alberta Soccer Association stepped in with some strong-arm tactics designed to force the two groups to work with one another. Edmonton (called District 8) is pretty unique insofar as two associations fight for the same players...Calgary surely doesn't suffer from this (although they probably have their own issues).

The ASA decided to eliminate the playdown format, and give each of EMSA and EIYSA one spot in the Provincial Championships. On the face of it, it seems unreasonable to do so AFTER the season started. EIYSA reacted with as much legal force as they could muster...ASA turned downt their appeal, it went to CSA who recommended the ASA revisit their decision, which of course the ASA did...they affirmed their earlier decision.

The ASA, to their credit, has identified that the EIYSA / EMSA issue will not get resolved if left to the people behind these associations. Both groups can claim they care about the players, but anyone remotely involved in youth soccer in Edmonton knows this is untrue.

What comes next is unknown...EIYSA may file an injunction, with the possible result of no Provincial Championships. No Alberta representation at the CSA National Club Championships might be the result.

Who loses in this? The players, of course. The CSA issued a weak-kneed response in their decision, basically absolving themselves of their duty. The ASA has held firm. EMSA goes along with the ASA decision, as they stand to benefit. EIYSA is digging in their heels as they feel an entitlement to the two Edmonton spots at the Provincial Championships.

What a soap opera. If anyone wants to read the reams of documents, appeals, responses, etc. just visit www.eiysa.com , and open up the various files. It makes for a sickening read, really.

If you want to get a general understanding of what is wrong in this country with our sport, start with the chest pounding of sports-parents gone mad. These people, who codify and regulate the life out of soccer, haven't a clue about what it takes to develop players and improve the sport.

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Guest Jeffery S.

So which of these two associations was more responsible for the LOC at the U-20s, if either of them?

The ASA of course rejected the CSA recommendation, as the ASA is in direct confrontation with the CSA and Linford, who has sought investigations on corruption in Calgary it seems that really pissed off the ASA people. The ASA for this reason, and the BCSA for reasons of the provincial-Lenarduzzi lobby to continue to influence the national game, were key in boycotting Linford's decision to look beyond Canada for a national coach.

As a BCer I must say it is disappointing to see how badly the West is treating the national program, in part for reasons related to defending how badly they are running their own.

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