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Posts posted by Saviola7


    1 hour ago, Kent said:

    I believe Doneil Henry's club in Mississauga received solidarity payments when he went to West Ham. Years ago someone posted a video but I'm not sure which thread (maybe the Doneil Henry thread?). I think it was an episode of Red Card where the technical director of the club was interviewed and spoke about it. I don't know if others have gotten payments for players. Obviously Cyle Larin, Ballou Tabla, and Alphonso Davies would be the biggest examples of players that could have earned significant money for their youth clubs. I don't know what happened in their cases.

    I think solidarity payments are very important, in particular for keeping L1O clubs going and for hopefully being able to one day reduce the price to play for youth clubs. If, say, Sigma got payments for Cyle Larin, Kyle Bekker, Emery Welshman, Richie (or is it Reggie, or both) Laryea, etc. then maybe they could use that money to reduce the price to their players, giving them some competitive advantages over other clubs. First off better odds of going pro with their training, and a reduced price. Then other clubs will have to try to reduce their prices in order to compete with Sigma. Reduced prices opens up more opportunities for more kids to play at high levels.

    Really the only reason why it isn't done in USA is because MLS would rather horde all the money themselves.

    IIRC, the North Mississauga president seemed sounded surprised, almost implying that West Ham reached out to them to make the payment.

    The Tottenham claim is interesting, especially since they complain that Crossfire is for-profit. If that has any weight, then the NFP clubs could really get a leg up if they get their act together.

    Anyway, very murky waters. USSF and MLS appear to be blaming circumstance (similar to the Canadian-as-domestics issue) on this.


    edit: found it - 

    5:10 and onwards (he responds to questions on the subject as well).

  2. 17 minutes ago, Vic said:

    Interesting argument with regards to youth team compensation on transfers. If it happens in the U.S. is Canada next?



    The [Christian] Pulisic family likely celebrated their son’s life-changing move to Stamford Bridge, but what of Christian’s youth team, the PA Classics? They should, in theory, be due a solidarity payment estimated to be around $547,000, a vast sum to any youth club.

    According to Fifa regulations, when a player is sold overseas, up to 5% of the transfer fee is set aside to be distributed to the youth clubs involved in his training and is known as a solidarity payment. The exact amount depends on how much time the player spent at the youth clubs between his 12th and 23rd birthday.

    The PA Classics are unlikely to receive that, however, due to the fact the US does not participate in Fifa’s solidarity payments system. At the time of writing, Washington based youth club Crossfire Premier have submitted a petition to Fifa arguing that the club is entitled to collect solidarity payments for its involvement in DeAndre Yedlin’s development.

    This is viewed by many as a landmark moment in US Soccer. If Fifa finds in favor of Crossfire they would be entitled to a substantial sum of money from MLS in the wake of Yedlin’s transfer to Tottenham Hotspur in 2014.

    “We could have $20m, $30m worth of claims,” Crossfire’s attorney, Lance Reich, told the Athletic back in October. “We’re going to have a Madoff moment in American soccer. Everyone is going to wake up and say, ‘Oh my God – how did it get this way? This is far from about the money anymore. Are we Fifa clubs, or are we not Fifa clubs?”

    I think this is such a huge piece of the puzzle. Clubs would be encouraged to promote their best players and provide avenues for talented players from poorer families. In principle you could fund a big chunk of high-performance programs just from solidarity payments.


    It seems that the biggest obstruction to this is the MLS player's union who is adamantly opposed to participation. They feel it would affect player mobility. Not sure what the CSA's official stance on this is though.

  3. If you have a full ride (which can be rare), it's not a horrible way to get an education. I think most girls would see it as hedging their bets - likely not going to have a pro opportunity which pans out, so better to play at a high level and get a (paid) education. They probably don't see it as hindering to their development and figure that if the soccer thing is still an option when they graduate, they can explore that. Basically the Jessie Fleming route.

    Not saying it's a good idea, but that's probably what their mindset is.

    If you don't have a full ride, it's not a good option at all.

  4. Yep, I think it happens much later. Consider:



    These players are 2001s (grade 12s). I don't think they can contact you until much later in your high school career (maybe grade 11?).

    As to whether the U17s are looking to show themselves for NCAA or not, I would say that 90% of them have their eyes on NCAA. I would also suspect that nearly all of them would get scholarships solely based on the fact they are on the U17 national team.

  5. When I asked in the past for a family section, I was more looking for something like the following:

    • chants/songs involving swearing would be avoided
    • sitting would be a little more tolerated

    You can imagine if you are in 113 (to use a BMO example) and you sit down in the 4th row or something you might feel a little uncomfortable. Having said that, you could argue that you should just move to the back.


    I think swearing is the biggest thing though. You want to be able to bring a U10 soccer team and not hear flack from parents when their children come home singing about how we are "@*&#ing dynamite"

  6. 17 hours ago, Kent said:

    To answer my own question by referring to my attempt to draw clarity to these questions a year and a half ago, that I can never seem to remember. This is how the board here seems to think the pyramid(s) are structured.

                                       OPDL                          SAAC
                                        /         \                        /         \
    Regional leagues (clubs)    OASL (academies)        CAF


    So I guess that means CAF teams were dropped. SAAC seems a bit murkier to me since there is a partnership with OPDL (or OSA) on OASL. I can't wrap my brain around all of this right now.

    Allow me to enlighten the best I can:

    • TFCA already has three teams in the USSDA - only two teams played OPDL this year. For whatever reason, they put only their U14, U16, and U18 teams in there (these classifications are based on the 2018 Ontario season; the USSDA season is offset, so they are in the U15, U17, and U19 divisions). Their U13 and U15 teams played in the OPDL U14 and U17 divisions respectively - the U15s won and are generally recognised as being a very strong cohort. It is uncertain at this point what they will do next season.
    • SAAC took over administration of OASL, so they have effectively merged under the OASL moniker. When this happened a few strong CAF teams (Mapola, CAQ) moved to OASL, so CAF is a shell of it's former self with only a handful of divisions.

    Note that the OSA specifically says that OASL is below OPDL:



  7. WRT to the OSU fine issue, while I don't know all the details, I will share a few thoughts:

    • Why doesn't OSU just pay the fine? $400 is nothing to them (it is the minimum as stated in the article) - that's about 2 house leaguers or half a summer rep player. Now they are spending more on the appeal (unless there is also a suspension involved).
    • Their argument is that the rules do not properly define a "memorable event" (U12 is allowed two memorable events out of district, but soccer activities should adhere to LTPD guidelines (no scores/standings)).
    • The purpose of the rule (I think) is to prevent a) out-pricing kids who wouldn't be able to afford trips (some would argue that's happening anyway) and b ) soccer from becoming too serious, too soon - they are worried about U9 travel teams taking away school/other extra-curricular time.
    • Should the rule exist? Tough to say - if they had waited a year, they would have been fine. If it shouldn't exist, what is an appropriate restriction on travel for U12 and below (i.e., including U8/U6), if any?
    • Who knows what is the whole story? When did they submit their notice - one month ahead of time or six? Were they aware they might not get approval?
    • The interesting thing is that OSU was previously accused of getting a free pass on rule-breaking (see other thread if you remember) with their OPDP program that excluded certain academies and clubs. Perhaps they are being made an example of?


    WRT to JdV, if I recall correctly, he was on the technical committee for OPDL, but was disappointed that the requirements made it difficult for academies. He seems to feel that OPDL is good and can be improved rather than some who say it should be dismantled (I believe his quote from the OSA summit address was something to the effect of "If OPDL fails, soccer in Canada fails"). Twitter critics feel that OPDL only benefits the consultants who designed it, ergo anyone who supports it is a sellout.

  8. 15 hours ago, Yorktown FC said:

    According to OSA site, OPDL (or League 1 Ontario) is the PRIMARY program in which potential Provincial Team Players are identified. The alternative method is the player recommendation process into a Talent on Location Day (TOLD) at the U13, U14 or U15 level, from a OSA member club or academy. With about 15-20 OPDL teams per age group (or almost 400 players), I would say the alternative (a single opportunity versus a year long "evaluation" with OPDL) is truly a long shot. According to OSA, they utilize data collected by OPDL and player rubrics to assist the selection of approximately 90 to 120 players to attend the Provincial Screening. I wonder what data they are referring to and who compiles the player rubrics. It sounds like the Provincial coaches do not actually scout games, which is a shock to me (but I may be wrong). At the Provincial Screening, 40 players will be selected and in final selection process, 22 players will make the Provincial Team. So from a 30,000 foot view, the selection process seems suspect. Again, the big, strong kids would seem to dominate (the only data that I know the OPDL collects is goals and assists).

    Just to be clear on how this works:

    OPDL players are scouted (I don't think the scouts are the same as those who pick the team or coach the team) over a sample of 4 or so matches throughout the season. Players are also evaluated quite thoroughly (the rubric itself has about 130 elements) by their coach with the supervision of the technical director. The OSA combines those two to get the 90 or so for the provincial screening. As far as I know, goals/assists are not part of it (except that presumably they double check that the top 5 or so are also invited if they weren't already).

    Non-OPDL players are nominated to TOLDs by their technical directors. The TDs need to vet the player through a similar rubric before recommending them.

    15 hours ago, Yorktown FC said:

    IMO, it is at the U14-U15 level, that this becomes more apparent. Look at the recent 2017 Danone Cup results, Canada Boys topped their group which included heavyweights like Uruguay and Belgium. And they ended up tournament ranked 6th! ahead of Spain (8th) and France (11th). The Canada Girls were finalists! losing to Brazil. 

    I wouldn't put much weight into this competition. I doubt the selections for the teams are made in any sort of comprehensive way.


    12 hours ago, Vic said:

    Not OSU but yes they are probably there as well, and WOSC as well too.

    Rep kids pay between $400-700 (summer only) to $700-1100 for year round. They may do a tournament or two out of region and in province. Maybe 5% tops out of province. Maybe 1-2% out of country. Most rep teams don't do Ontario Cup.

    Sure you can find rare examples of frequent and far-traveling rep teams but most rep kids don't pay much at all.

    If you compared a mid-range rep team they would be maybe $800-900 year round programming and one night hotel for an out of town tournament. Maybe $1250 all-in.

    What is a mid-range OPDL program all-in? They definitely travel more, in province and out of province. Whatever number you come up with you are in the 4X to 6X ballpark.

    I have never heard of an OPDL program so high, nor have I heard of a *respectable* rep program so cheap (indeed I lived in rural Ontario for a couple of years and I suppose what you might call "rep" worked out to about $1000 after travel, but that was pretty rudimentary). I will therefore use real examples:

    OPDL base fees: Waterloo, Cambridge (available on their website) = 3.2K, Oakville, North Miss = 3.4K Richmond Hill, Burlington = 4K

    Rep base fees (summer+winter includes Hershey): Erin Mills = $1600 <-- this was U12, I am positive the price goes up as you go to full field.

    I would argue most serious teams will do Ontario cup (last year's U13 boys division featured 5 of the 7 GHSL teams, and a few more from lower divisions). Furthermore, I think you overstate how much OPDL teams travel. In an effort to compare competitiveness, I tracked teams going to showcase tournaments in the US this fall: 33 OPDL teams vs. 53 Non-OPDL teams. So while they tend to travel a bit more, you can easily find one that doesn't. Until you quote me specific programs, I'm afraid I can't take your claim to be anywhere close to being true.

    Generally speaking though, I concur with your original point - if people think it's a good investment because they'll get some sort of return, they're sadly mistaken. If they think the experience worthwhile and want to be challenged day-in, day-out*, maybe it's a good idea. You can also save even more money by paying $500 all-in per year by playing house league!

    *-with the exception of the odd time you play a "round" player



  9. On ‎2018‎-‎02‎-‎02 at 8:23 AM, Vic said:

    Rep teams do not train as frequently as OPDL teams. You can register in about a half-dozen clubs around me for $500-700 for summer. That's 3-4 days per week on rep teams from L3-L5. Winter programs are cheaper, about half to 2/3 of summer.  So about 750-1000 maybe 1200 tops year-round.  Rep teams travel out of town about once a year. Some teams do two but not as common and more than that is almost never. OPDL teams do more out-of-town tournaments and travel every second weekend.

    Depending on the situation OPDL is somewhere between 4X to 6X rep.  You could find outliers on either end but that's a probably a good measure.

    I still don't understand here - I thought we weren't including outliers, which 8K certainly is (is it OSU? If so, yes the Ottawa teams pay more because they travel more, but I notice that WOSC is substantially lower, 5K at worst). Note that you don't have to choose an OPDL program that goes to lots of far away tournaments, there are many that are content with Umbro and some preseason friendlies. You can also choose a rep program that travels to multiple tournaments! A generous comparison (travel included):

    Max: OPDL = 8K, Rep $2500  + $2000 two US tournaments = $4500  (<2X)

    Average: OPDL = 5K, Rep $2000  (2X to 3X)

    Min: OPDL = 4.2K, Rep $1000 (4X to 5X)

    The min is actually not a fair comparison, because it assumes a) fewer games because you're not playing in an indoor league, b ) probably only training 2X per week in winter, c) playing low level - district rather than regional therefore your travel is much less.

    Somehow you've failed to capture travel of any district rep team in your calculations; the difference is not as large as you think, see below:

    Take any GTA OPDL team and you're looking at about 6 home games, 8 away games and 6 neutral location games. That means you're travelling 20 kms one way 4 times, 60 km one way 8 times, once 100 km and one trip to Ottawa (two if you're unlucky), for a total of about 2000 kms and one night in a hotel.

    For the comparable CSL equivalent, you probably have 16 games + league cup and Ontario cup, so let's say 20 games, 10 home, 10 away. 4 of those are probably 20 kms, 5 are probably 60 kms, and you likely have something like Collingwood/Muskoka/North Bay, so that's 200 kms once, for a total of 1000 kms and one night in a hotel (again, if you get stuck with an OCup group in Ste. St Marie, add to the budget).

    For teams in Whitby/Pickering, the travel will be more in both scenarios (more trips to Ottawa; further trips to York/Toronto/Barrie). At a generous charge out rate of 50 cents/km, that's a difference of $500.


    These comparisons don't capture the fact that you're paying more for more (generally speaking - a debate for another time).


  10. 11 hours ago, Vic said:

    "While it's true that OPDL players are basically A-team players from the year before"

    I was at a mid-age Ontario Payroll Deposit League girls game last year with a player on the field who was actually round. I honestly think she would have struggled to tie her shoelaces.

    For the kids here it's $8K+ per year all-in. From U13-U17 is five years that's $40k plus compound interest.

    Imagine if the high schools came out and said it will cost you $40,000 for each of your kids to graduate high school. There would be a revolt, cities would burn. Everyone would pull their kids out and home-school them.

    Great players will be great players, it's in them or it's not. They decide if they will be great. No one can give it to them. Unless you're a millionaire find a good local team up an age that has a quality experienced coach and put that $40,000 away for your child's education.

    The really sad part is parents just want to make their kids happy and will break their backs and bank accounts to do that and they can't understand what they're caught up in and there is no one to break it down for them.

    And it's not just the parents who need deprogramming, we need to go up to 13 year-old kids and say "do you want to play in this league or do you want $50,000 cash when you turn 18?"  Then watch their thinking faces.

    Wow. We're up to $8K now? Which program is that? Of the five clubs I'm aware of it's $3.5K, and I've never heard more than $5K. I suppose if you go to 3 American tournaments per year you could get up there?

    I get it, pay-to-play is evil, and OPDL is the paramount of evil since the fees are slightly higher (but not that far off normal rep fees and often lower than academy fees), but let's not exaggerate ad absurdum.

  11. 2 hours ago, Yorktown FC said:

    My personal experience is as follows. Basically the "selection" process takes place at the U10 level. The fastest, biggest, most aggressive kids are selected for the clubs A team. The rest are assigned to the clubs B and C teams. Movement up from the B and C teams into the A team is almost impossible. New players to the A team normally consist of A team players from competing clubs. It is the A teams that play in the higher tiers (e.g OPDL in Ontario) once you get to the U13-U14 level and it is these players that get the exposure required for consideration for provincial teams.

    Some of these kids truly love the game, other might be doing it as a summer activity and some are doing it for scholarship reasons. The kids who love the game are the kids who will take a ball to the park on the "off" day to kick at the net, play with friends, or even watch games on TV.  These are the kids that actually develop because to be world class it is not enough to just practice with the team. Rep teams typically practice 3-4 times per week, typically 1.5-2.5 hours per practice, so that’s 10h/week. How many weeks until you get to the theoretical 10,000 hours require to become an expert?

    Sidenote: You would be surprised to find out how few kids actually watch soccer. You would think it would be almost automatic for someone who made it to the university level but I once attended a prospect camp where one of the speakers had played soccer at an American university and she re-counted a story of how when her coach invited her team to watch the Champions League finals, only seven teammates attended. One aspect where our national teams are lacking is what has been referred to as “Soccer IQ”. I remember reading an interview with Pele where he said that if he wasn’t outside playing soccer, he was watching it. That is one way to acquire “Soccer IQ”.

    At age 14, basic skill development ends, and the focus on team tactics begins. As the years progress, the strength and speed advantages of some players are minimized, either because other kids have caught up physique-wise or due to team tactics (i.e. that kid that could run through a whole team and score, can no longer do that). Still, for many teams, success depends on having a speedy striker and playing kick-and-run.

    That has been my experience the last 10 years, but maybe it is changing.   


    I've heard of programs that don't encourage movement between teams, but ones that I have been involved have seen players move up and down quite frequently up to U12. While it's true that OPDL players are basically A-team players from the year before, the trial sessions from the program we're involved in seemed to give everyone a fair shake and even went so far as to scout the rep-team/b-team for potential additions for the next season. 

    A quick google search will show that 10,000 hours is a myth. Doing some quick math it would be very difficult for any player to get to 10,000 hours before age 25 without burn-out. Imagine you are looking at a 15 year window (age 5 to 20) and giving a 7 week offseason (more likely 2 chunks of 3.5 weeks) to recover and you're looking at 5 days x 3 hours a week. Yes, you can eliminate some of that with school-yard/park/street soccer, but it is a tough ask.

    I do agree on the watching soccer part though. These days there is really no excuse since it is so available.


  12. 18 minutes ago, Kent said:

    What is OASL? My apologies if this has been mentioned earlier. Is that supposed to be the level below OPDL? Or is it a non OSA league?

    You drew up a pyramid yourself on page 3 of this thread :). Anyway, it is a OS run academy league. OS claims that it is a level below OPDL.

    Also, it would be nice if one could find the results of the sigma showcase online somewhere.


  13. Should have anticipated this. No matter what the result some people wouldn't accept the result.

    For SAAC, the Academy Cup is simply the Spring Champion vs. the Fall Champion (for U14 and U15, the Spring champion won, but they were still top 4 in the Fall). As such, it was effectively their strongest teams.


    • It may be true that Sigma and Rush play a year up (hard to verify because they don't really publish that info online), SAAC is therefore at worst sending their 3rd best team; you wouldn't expect a huge drop from 1st/2nd to 3rd. At U14 OPDL sent their 2nd place team since North Toronto were already committed to another tournament.
    • OPDL consistently finished ahead of SAAC at all applicable levels. In many cases OPDL teams won their opening match by a wide margin - it's not too much of a stretch to assume that if Oakville beats Ginga 7 - 0 and Eurostar can only manage a 1 - 0 victory over Ginga, Oakville could easily handle Eurostar.
    • Yes, OPDL went 2 - 4 against SAAC in the Umbro showcase (the only tournament they played against each other). The four losses occurred in a U15 group that featured Rush* (3rd place SAAC spring, 1st place SAAC fall), London FA (1st place SAAC spring, 3rd place SAAC fall), Unionville (12th of 13 OPDL), and Markham (10th of 13 OPDL). So yes, the best of SAAC can beat the worst of ODPL. The two wins were 3rd and 4th place OPDL teams beating a 6th/8th place SAAC team*. I would argue the results of those H-to-H matches are inconclusive at best, and it is better to look at the overall records mentioned earlier in this thread that clearly favour OPDL.

    * - may not be the correct team due to playing up, but still probably a strong team

    My question I guess is this: What would have been enough to concede the point? If it was top 3 teams in each and OPDL consistently finished ahead with each team in each division?

    If this doesn't establish OPDL ahead of SAAC and CAF, at least it indicates that the academies are at best level or worst. I do not think that it is likely at this point that the academies are somehow better than OPDL. I am confident that most of the best players are there.

    18 hours ago, Kent said:

    In particular we need to merge the fractured league system so that the best teams are all playing against each other.

    If the above means watering down OPDL standards (e.g. viable girls and grassroots programs) I am totally against it. If the academies can meet the standard, by all means. I think this "need" is quite overstated though.

  14. 1 hour ago, Kent said:

    Any time you get the national team coach watching you play and talking to your team afterwards has got to be inspirational to young players. I think it's fantastic those guys were there.

    I completely agree with you on the concern you had before the tournament started. As for whether the tournament should be held every year, perhaps it just needs some tweeking. Given the results from this year, maybe next year more OPDL teams get invited than this time around. If CAF bombs out again then stop inviting them. If SAAC is then clearly a level below then maybe the tournament stops being that important, or can be repurposed and teams from outside of the province can be brought in.

    Actually, perhaps HP leagues + MLS academy teams + national champions (and runners up) in a tournament. That would be pretty cool.

  15. Indeed. I was concerned it would legitimize the academy stream, but with results this obvious maybe will see more buy-in for OPDL?


    Not sure the hoopla was needed though (OZ, Stalteri there) and not sure if it is needed as an annual event. OZ and Stalteri would be better off watching OPDL matches than anything else.

  16. Back on page 5, I gave a mid-season update on some analysis on the margins of victory. Now that the seasons are over, I looked at all of the results:

    "My hypothesis is that a competitive league should have few blowouts. I compared boys SAAC U14 with OPDL U14 and OASL U14 and with CAF U13 (no U14 CAF division). I also threw in OYSL boys U14 from 2012."


    a # of matches = 180

    b # of more than 5 goal wins = 18

    b/a = 10%


    a # of matches = 134

    b # of more than 5 goal wins = 23

    b/a = 17.16%


    a # of matches = 16

    b # of more than 5 goal wins = 1

    b/a = 6.25%


    a # of matches = 30

    b # of more than 5 goal wins = 5

    b/a = 16.67%

    OYSL (2012):

    a # of matches = 67

    b # of more than 5 goal wins = 5

    b/a = 7.46%


    Not sure if that changes much, but I thought I'd give the final numbers. 

  17. 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 ... 






    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.

  18. Forgive my optimism, but I don't think it's all that bad. Over 6 - 7 age groups that's 150 players for an hour. Note that this is one of many avenues of identifying they do. They have TFC juniors, take referrals from TDs, and scout OPDL/provincial program. I also think they have random people here and there.

  19. 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.

  20. 20 hours ago, Unnamed Trialist said:

    3-Pay to play. The no. 1 horror story in Canada as well. We have a system where soccer vultures prey on unsuspecting families who are able to be conned into paying thousands a year to have their kid practice with a bunch of guys who have credentials, usually. Credentials, but poor ethics. Kids want to be soccer players, and the only solution parents have is to dish out money. They do not have lower cost options in their neighbourhoods, and if anyone were to set one up, they'd be chased out of town by the soccer vulture capitalists. Do not expect success when you have monetized the game at the youth level. The system does nothing to weed these abuses out. I personally find this disgusting, but it is the CSA and the provincial federation's fault. They are pandering to money interests and there is no way kids without income can play, compete, show themselves to be deserving, and work their way up.

    This is easy to solve: sanction any team meeting minimum standards, and have them all [play] in federated leagues. Like the world over. The best rise to the top. The best attract better players. When clubs not charging the most, charging less, win over the expensive ones, parents will say: I am making a bad investment, I am going to change. But the rich clubs and sporting directors and coaches have no interest in allowing their deficiencies to be exposed. So they have to be forced to.

    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.

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