Burlington and Hamilton will join 16 other clubs in the launch of the Ontario Soccer Association’s 2014 Ontario Player Development League. The 18 license holders were selected for a two-year period.
In 2014, teams will take to the pitch in the Under-13 age group. The development league will add the U14 age group in 2015, and will continue to add an age group in each successive year.
“We are thrilled to welcome these organizations into the OPDL,” OSA president Ron Smale said. “Through the application process, they have shown commitment to true high performance player development and a desire to be part of a larger movement, led by the Canadian Soccer Association, to support our elite athletes.”
The Burlington Youth Soccer Club and the Hamilton United Elite Soccer Club along with Aurora Youth Soccer Club, Forest City London, Glen Shields Futbol Club, Kleinburg Nobleton Soccer Club, Markham Soccer Club, Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club, North Toronto Soccer Club, Ottawa Fury Soccer Club, Ottawa South United Soccer Club, Richmond Hill Soccer Club, Toronto FC Academy, Unionville Milliken Soccer Club, Vaughan Soccer Club, West Ottawa Soccer Club, Whitby Iroquois Soccer Club, and Woodbridge Soccer Club will comprise the development league.
“The OPDL is another important step in the ongoing implementation of Long Term Player Development,” OSA chief technical officer Alex Chiet said. “By creating a standards based league, we are able to focus on the holistic needs of the high performance player. The members of this league share that aligned vision and commitment. The OSA is here to support these organizations in delivering the best opportunities possible to our top provincial players in the hopes that many players will progress to represent Canada on the world stage.”
Programs were evaluated by the OPDL Assessment and Selection Committee on standards based criteria, including technical and organizational capabilities.
“The OPDL selection process enabled us to identify organizations which will excel at delivering high performance opportunities for our best athletes,” said OSA executive director Lisa Beatty. “Additionally, we remain committed to working with all of our members to further evolve their programs to continue to expand OPDL in future years.”
While player selection and training will begin shortly, the OPDL competitive season kicks off in April 2014 and will run until November.