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Canada Fails for Same Reason as USA Did


Unnamed Trialist
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On 10/15/2017 at 2:09 PM, BearcatSA said:

Question:  do private academies subsidize kids who clearly have the talent but not the financial means to attend?  This isn't rhetorical; I just really want to know if that happens and how often it happens. 

Good question. I have not heard of anything along those lines. I would like to hope that somebody who is clearly above and beyond his/her age cohort could get a grant/subsidy.

OPDL does have a fee assistance program, but it a) covers at most 40% of the cost and b ) requires a rather significant demonstration of poverty to qualify (if I was supporting a child on 30K/year, $3000 vs $1500 would still be too expensive). On the other hand, maybe this can be supplemented with other programs (e.g. jumpstart), but I'm not sure.

I know anecdotally of cases where players were selected for academy teams but couldn't pay and weren't offered anything, but maybe they were simply not that good.

@Unnamed Trialist: Some good points there. FYI Ontario youth coaches aren't making full time pay either, maybe 10 - 30K.

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Listening to TSN 690 radio Tony Marinaro spoke with former Impact player Grant Needham before the derby between Toronto and Montreal. If you skip through to the 2/3 mark they talk about the US not making Russia 2018, and how with 4 spots in CONCACAF, that they should've made it. They further talk about how Canada should make it but the system in our country is failing the development of soccer. They discuss how volunteers with no soccer background are making important decisions and that it is politically driven where those sitting easy collecting big bucks and perks give favours in exchange for votes. 

Have a listen 2/3 through. 

http://www.tsn.ca/radio/montreal-690/needham-i-would-try-anything-versus-tfc-1.883804

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One more thing on coaching. There is a dearth of qualified coaches in this country. When they set up the OPDL, they mandated that Provincial B was required for U13 and National B for U14 and above. Unfortunately there is simply not enough. Clubs are desperate for coaches.

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2 hours ago, Saviola7 said:

One more thing on coaching. There is a dearth of qualified coaches in this country. When they set up the OPDL, they mandated that Provincial B was required for U13 and National B for U14 and above. Unfortunately there is simply not enough. Clubs are desperate for coaches.

When you say there is not enough, do you mean the coaches for those teams aren't meeting the standards? My hope was that those requirements would spur a coaching education movement. Is it still expensive for someone to take the coaching courses? The OSA should reduce/eliminate the price, at least for a while so as a province we can get trained up a bit.

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38 minutes ago, Kent said:

When you say there is not enough, do you mean the coaches for those teams aren't meeting the standards? My hope was that those requirements would spur a coaching education movement. Is it still expensive for someone to take the coaching courses? The OSA should reduce/eliminate the price, at least for a while so as a province we can get trained up a bit.

I would say that because there is not enough, there are (OPDL) clubs that are bending the rules slightly (e.g., provisional hires while they get their license, coaches covering mutliple teams).

 

Apparently a provincial B costs $1250, national A costs $1500; not sure how much national B costs ... 
 

http://www.ontariosoccer.net/provincial-b-license

https://www.canadasoccer.com/-a-license-program-p153074?_sp=f0810b661c902ecd.1508265646800

 

https://www.canadasoccer.com/-b-license-program-p153075

 

It says there are bursaries, but not sure how much that helps. Also, maybe they could exclude hotel and meals an hold it over a series of weekends.

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On 10/13/2017 at 2:32 PM, Saviola7 said:

Agreed that pay-to-play is a huge problem for the development of the game, but the situation is much more nuanced than people recognize.  The following drive the price of youth soccer in this country:

  1. Training/competition facilities
  2. Training/competition equipment (including uniforms)
  3. Wages for referees
  4. Wages for coaches
  5. Club infrastructure
  6. District/Provincial/National association dues
  7. League fees (which are really just a combination of (1) and (3))

(1) is a huge component which is unlikely to go away (see below). I'd guess at least 40% of the cost comes directly from that, particular if you are running at all in the winter. (2) is probably a little too high, but not really a huge component. (4) has been driven higher by for-profit outfits (I'm eschewing the term "academies") which sort of relates to a lack of soccer culture of people who will do it for the love of the game.

It is troublesome to compare to the European free/near-free model since their recreation structure is completely different. Note that pay-to-play is not exclusive to soccer, every youth sport in Canada costs in the thousands range at the elite level. The reason (I believe) is that amateur clubs are heavily subsidized in Europe. One could argue that not subsidizing clubs is a good thing since the government should be spending money on schools and hospitals, but I'll leave that for another debate.

Furthermore, in Europe facilities are either there for generations, or allotted to clubs by developers. In North America, municipalities/school boards typically own the facilities and rent them out at a fixed rate to whomever bids (individuals, sport clubs, etc.). This also results in a great deal of overlap for each sport - consider youth basketball where you have clubs, schools, and community centres running programs.

There is a cost floor in the current infrastructure that no open system will resolve. You can try to cross-subsidize (charge more for house league so that the elite programs are free), but now you are creating a barrier at the youngest ages since all players begin with house league. Picking some high standard (say OPDL or SAAC - although SAAC doesn't require a girls program), I have not seen any program which costs less than $2000. If the disparity was between $500 and $5000, maybe an open system would make a difference, but it is really more like $3000 vs $4000, so I don't see that driving much.

In fact, because the soccer culture is so immature, some parents don't put much of stake in the league, but rather in (often empty) promises by coaches and other representatives that they can send your son on trial to some European club or get them a scholarship. Consider FCBEscola Toronto which doesn't play in any league (although they begin in CAF this winter) but still manages to get parents to pay $5K/year!

Something that may help is better enforcement of the payment of the solidarity contribution from transfer fees. This could be a source of income and could incentivize clubs to promote development of their players and send them off to bigger and better things. Amateur clubs in Canada do not typically (OPDL and some other setups excluded) "sign" players to a contract. I think this is partly due a sense that players typically want to be free to switch clubs, but I'm not sure.

I agree with much of this.  I have some insight here (from experience) and I can tell you that, by far, the two biggest drivers of the cost are facilities and coaching.  The facilities are often leased from municipalities, school boards, private owners, etc.... all of whom have a profit motive (to some extent).  The coaches are not paid exorbitant sums, but they are paid and this reflects in the fees charged to players.

What we have been unable to do is figure out how to "fix" the problem.  There are grants available (Ontario soccer, some clubs have their own programs, external sources), but they are minute in the larger scheme.

What I have often thought is that the CSA should be moving money downstream to support development.  Not to the provincial associations, but to the clubs on the ground (or, perhaps, the kids and families or coaches directly).  I don't mean to suggest that the CSA is overwhelmed with cash, but they did make some money on the Women's World Cup (it's clear from their most recent financial statements) and do have access to revenue streams that clubs do not, including FIFA development money.

To me the underlying issue is the disjointed governance and accountability model that is Canadian soccer.  You have the clubs on the ground working to develop players (some well, some less so, some much less so), but above them you have a national body, several provincial bodies and countless district associations and, collectively, they seem to have a very difficult time working in concert.  I don't pretend to have a silver bullet to rectify this, but I do think the impetus must come from the CSA and allocating development funding would be a very useful tool in such an exercise.

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Its ridiculous how much the districts/assocations(OSA/CSA) charge for coaching licenses  potential candidates that wish to become a coach....No wonder why Canada Soccer is where it is .....And it'll never get better for the players/parents.......as long as its pay to play that way the clubs,districts,assocatios can all get there fingers into the pot of $$$$$ that the parents pay for there kids to play club or academy soccer 

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I honestly don't think anyone is getting rich here.  The provincial licenses come with high fees because of the cost of facilities, instructors, etc... all of which/whom come at a cost.  The instructor him or herself would have had to be trained somewhere at some cost, which needs to be recovered.

I've looked into this and am quite sure of what I state.

Again, the issue is the flow of funds up/down the system and the ability to generate revenue from the top of the system.  Not greed within the system (though I am sure there are some clubs/academies not playing by all the rules, these would be a rounding error within the larger landscape).

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People may not be getting rich with this but if youth soccer is anything like youth hockey there are hundreds of people making a living and selling dreams to parents of athletic kids.  AAA hockey is about 5-7000 per season and my buddies who have kids playing that level say most kids have to pay for additional training on top of that to remain competitive or at least they think they do.  Another guy I play hockey with told me his kid was told at age 8 if he wanted to play rep soccer he would have to quit playing hockey.  Really at 8 years old he couldn't do both?  Whether people are getting rich or not really isn't the question but sports must be made affordable, especially all sports outside of hockey because it still has the greatest appeal in Canada.  If those AAA costs continue and top level hockey is only for the rich, in a decade or two we will no longer be the favourites in major competitions and expected to win each and every time.

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Agree with that, for sure.   What we’ve seen is a professionalization of youth sports.  No doubt, we produce better players (not talking about just soccer), but at what cost?   Only having rich kids play?  Forcing families to make abnormal financial sacrifices to chase a pipe dream?   

It’s all very complicated, but in a way I see an opportunity for soccer.  If soccer can somehow become the “cheap” sport and not diminish the coaching standards, it might be able to gain a real competitive advantage over other sports like hockey.  

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22 hours ago, dsqpr said:

Football is not a real sport. It is a children's game that your kids play until they are 12 or 13 and then move on to a real sport like hockey or baseball or curling or bowling.

Not true! It is a real sport just not in Canada isn't taken seriously because of the idea that you put them in their when they are little 

Unless you were being sarcastic well then I get it

Curling or Bowling? ? Now that's a joke right there! 

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