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Does the Canadian Premier League need more academies?

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I personally believe that this should be the next step. Make it mandatory for each club to have youth academies starting from the ages of U12 up to U21. Develop players all the way up to the professional level, the CPL can't rely on picking their squads off the OUA draft and L1O.

Plus, you wanna keep developing the next great generation of Canadian footballers not just for country but for club soccer also.

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Academies are great but they come at a fantastic cost.  For a league that has one year under its belt and is now taking a massive financial blow in these time sinking millions into academies makes no sense at all.  MLS relied on the NCAA for 20+ years for players and in their recent model where they spend lots of money on DP and TAM players academies only make sense in that they give teams ways to circumvent that cap.

Taking Y9 for example, it makes much more sense for them to grow relationships with the existing clubs around the area.  Vaughan, Woodbridge, UMSC, Markham and Aurora all have pipelines that lead to L1O teams and are in your backyard and we've seen lots players make the jump from L1O to CPL with success.

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15 minutes ago, Stouffvillain said:

Academies are great but they come at a fantastic cost.  For a league that has one year under its belt and is now taking a massive financial blow in these time sinking millions into academies makes no sense at all.  MLS relied on the NCAA for 20+ years for players and in their recent model where they spend lots of money on DP and TAM players academies only make sense in that they give teams ways to circumvent that cap.

Taking Y9 for example, it makes much more sense for them to grow relationships with the existing clubs around the area.  Vaughan, Woodbridge, UMSC, Markham and Aurora all have pipelines that lead to L1O teams and are in your backyard and we've seen lots players make the jump from L1O to CPL with success.

Yeah the MLS did rely on NCAA for years but they also poured money into building that relationship for their academies to grow. If CPL does the same but with existing clubs, then who knows where the CPL will be within the next decade or 2

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I agree but the problem is who they are going to play? And the costs associated with travel. There would likely have to be some sort of partnership with whatever entity is replacing the USA dev academy system. Regional high performance leagues might be an option. It’s a real tricky thing with a lot of variables but at minimum these teams should have an affiliated pdl team 
 

I think at the moment there needs to be some more legitimacy in the u-sports draft as well.  

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I would expect a lot would go into building the Div3 & U-Sports pipeline instead of academies. 

I would make the analogy to the CHL & NCAA for hockey in North America. The pipeline generally is to play locally until you get to 15 or so, then if you're good enough, the CHL comes calling. If not, you play locally again in the CJAHL until you age out. At that point if you're good enough you get recruited to the NCAA. After that the NHL draft comes and/or you start plying your trade outside of the NHL.

With Canada in particular recognizing how well the pathways for hockey have worked, why wouldn't we utilize a similar strategy?

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7 minutes ago, T_Bison said:

I would expect a lot would go into building the Div3 & U-Sports pipeline instead of academies. 

I would make the analogy to the CHL & NCAA for hockey in North America. The pipeline generally is to play locally until you get to 15 or so, then if you're good enough, the CHL comes calling. If not, you play locally again in the CJAHL until you age out. At that point if you're good enough you get recruited to the NCAA. After that the NHL draft comes and/or you start plying your trade outside of the NHL.

With Canada in particular recognizing how well the pathways for hockey have worked, why wouldn't we utilize a similar strategy?

That is another alternative and I don't know why we do not do the exact same thing for soccer in this country 

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That Joe Belan interview (I think it was on the Premier Podcast) had some really good insight on player development in Canada.  The new US development academy league has 95 teams, only 3 Canadian (the MLS teams).

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2 hours ago, T_Bison said:

...With Canada in particular recognizing how well the pathways for hockey have worked, why wouldn't we utilize a similar strategy?

It's difficult to get soccer fans to take a U-20 format seriously as a spectator event. As a recent immigrant dominated sport people have tended to want to replicate what happens in Europe down through the decades, while hockey was able to find solutions that fitted in better with Canadian geography.

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57 minutes ago, Ozzie_the_parrot said:

It's difficult to get soccer fans to take a U-20 format seriously as a spectator event. As a recent immigrant dominated sport people have tended to want to replicate what happens in Europe down through the decades, while hockey was able to find solutions that fitted in better with Canadian geography.

Interesting point

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I don’t think making it mandatory is wise. If we want to have a 16 team league someday and perhaps even a 2nd division with pro/rel, we can’t raise the barrier to entry too high.

The biggest benefit to pro academies (for the player) is if they are providing the service free. It would be very difficult to make that worth it for the club and maybe would only be worth it after Canadian players start getting sold for more.

It is probably more useful to cast a wide net by recruiting players from dozens of teams in the area than to choose from just your academy. In theory you could still sign guys from competing amateur teams, but human nature will probably make teams want to choose their own more often than not.

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Forcing a model that has been used around the world because it is how they do it doesn't make sense.  Solutions needs to be found that work with our situation which is unique to our country, see the Easton Report.  This is more an issue for the CSA and provincial bodies to solve rather than the CPL clubs.  The CPL is in place, as is L1O & PLSQ (BC is coming along too) it's the governing bodies that need to ensure that the best players get the coaching they need to get to the level to be seen/signed by the CPL.  

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I like academies. I don’t like ‘mandatory’ things in general though. 
 

My view is that the league could incentivize academies by allowing all academy products to never count against the cap of a club that produced them. This would then leave each club to determine whether they’d like to take advantage of that policy or not. I also suspect, as some here have said, that existing local youth clubs could essentially become defacto ‘academies’,  which wouldn’t be the worst idea. 

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For the immediate and probably medium term I like the Cavalry FC and Edmonton FC model with u21 teams in the AMSL.  Teams in each province could use the highest level league in their province and field a U21 or U23 team.  Several of their younger roster players were  able to get playing time.

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Posted (edited)

Here’s my vision on a CPL academy system...

I think the provincial programs and their funding should be replaced by CPL academies to help subsidize the costs. A collaborative approach between CPL clubs, the CSA, and the provincial governing bodies would go a long way to ensure youth development is being pushed in the same direction. 

Provincial teams were necessary when Canada did not have professional clubs but they are no longer the best use of financial resources. Under the current set up, the best players in each province train at an elite level from the ages of 13-16, mostly free of cost, only to have their development fall off a cliff after the age of 16. With a professional pathway now a realistic possibility, the governing bodies in each province should partner with their respective CPL clubs and channel the best youth players to a professional environment.

This would obviously require some serious collaboration and rethinking from the CSA, however a rising tide lifts all boats. Provinces without a professional club, PEI for example, could allocate their provincial program funding to the top 3-4 prospects through a “scholarship” program of sorts, housing players with billet families in Halifax so they can take part in the Wanderers academy.

Travel and competition would be the main challenges, so intensive year-round training should be the focus with select travel games scheduled throughout the year for the 15-18 age group. Entry into the Dallas Cup should replace the current national championship format, or perhaps a newly created Canadian tournament with elite international teams invited. Age groups u14 should remain regional with limited travel, focussing on grassroots development and building community ties. Casting a wide net not only broadens the fanbase but also inherently builds a robust scouting network, funnelling the best players towards the academy. With support from the provincial bodies, CPL academies should be seen as the focal point of development in each province, not competition for existing youth clubs. 
 

Edited by FC_Hali

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17 hours ago, FC_Hali said:

Here’s my vision on a CPL academy system...

I think the provincial programs and their funding should be replaced by CPL academies to help subsidize the costs. A collaborative approach between CPL clubs, the CSA, and the provincial governing bodies would go a long way to ensure youth development is being pushed in the same direction. 

Provincial teams were necessary when Canada did not have professional clubs but they are no longer the best use of financial resources. Under the current set up, the best players in each province train at an elite level from the ages of 13-16, mostly free of cost, only to have their development fall off a cliff after the age of 16. With a professional pathway now a realistic possibility, the governing bodies in each province should partner with their respective CPL clubs and channel the best youth players to a professional environment.

This would obviously require some serious collaboration and rethinking from the CSA, however a rising tide lifts all boats. Provinces without a professional club, PEI for example, could allocate their provincial program funding to the top 3-4 prospects through a “scholarship” program of sorts, housing players with billet families in Halifax so they can take part in the Wanderers academy.

Travel and competition would be the main challenges, so intensive year-round training should be the focus with select travel games scheduled throughout the year for the 15-18 age group. Entry into the Dallas Cup should replace the current national championship format, or perhaps a newly created Canadian tournament with elite international teams invited. Age groups u14 should remain regional with limited travel, focussing on grassroots development and building community ties. Casting a wide net not only broadens the fanbase but also inherently builds a robust scouting network, funnelling the best players towards the academy. With support from the provincial bodies, CPL academies should be seen as the focal point of development in each province, not competition for existing youth clubs. 
 

Thank you finally someone gets the point. With academies in the CPL, not only are you giving the league more of an incentive to develop young players early but at the same time with this league having academies, the next generation and future generations of Canadian players especially in this Men's national team program will be able to develop into future stars not just for the CPL but also abroad.

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Academy system would be great but there are a lot of variables in Canada that are going to be difficult to address to make it sustainable and successful. One of which is cost. And I’m quite sure most if not all cpl clubs have the capital to operate an academy particularly one which would presumably be national. Another is who they are going to play? which might necessitate a partnership with usda [or whatever form it has now]. But then again how do you deal with issues of travel? strengthening the partnership of u-sport might be an option 


 

 

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10 hours ago, top cheese said:

Academy system would be great but there are a lot of variables in Canada that are going to be difficult to address to make it sustainable and successful. One of which is cost. And I’m quite sure most if not all cpl clubs have the capital to operate an academy particularly one which would presumably be national. Another is who they are going to play? which might necessitate a partnership with usda [or whatever form it has now]. But then again how do you deal with issues of travel? strengthening the partnership of u-sport might be an option 


 

 

The academy teams could play in local leagues, like TFC did for years before they took off for the USA.

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I would like to see all CanPL clubs operate a development system that runs parallel to the existing, local club systems in their respective jurisdictions. It could run ostensibly as an all-star program in cooperation with the amateur clubs and would be far less expensive than a full academy program. Perhaps something where kids train twice a week with their individual clubs and once with the 'academy'. They could participate in regional and national tournaments a few times a year with the all-stars. It would be nice to see different cogs in the national development machine working together.

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12 hours ago, Kent said:

The academy teams could play in local leagues, like TFC did for years before they took off for the USA.

That might be functional in Ontario and bc. Where they have well established standards based leagues with many quality clubs. But it certainly would not in other provinces like Manitoba or Halifax. Even Alberta because you would have a single entity beating everyone handly. I don’t agree with private academies hand picking players from local clubs as some sort of super team. I don’t believe it does anyone any favors. There should be a means to first grow local clubs and local leagues or create regional excell leagues 

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2 hours ago, top cheese said:

That might be functional in Ontario and bc. Where they have well established standards based leagues with many quality clubs. But it certainly would not in other provinces like Manitoba or Halifax. Even Alberta because you would have a single entity beating everyone handly. I don’t agree with private academies hand picking players from local clubs as some sort of super team. I don’t believe it does anyone any favors. There should be a means to first grow local clubs and local leagues or create regional excell leagues 

I did mention earlier that I don’t see the need for academies. But if there are going to be academies I would rather they play locally. I think it would help with their recruitment and it would show the other kids where the bar is. You may not learn much from losing 10-0, but you certainly can learn from losing. I don’t think just removing the best players from the system all together (to play in USSDA or some sort of CPL academy league) helps raise the tide at all.

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