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Ontario Player Development League OPDL
NTSC Frequently Asked Questions
Updated on January 29, 2014
- The OSA also hosts an FAQ section which can be found here.
- A copy of the OSA's RFP document (required to be completed by all applicants) is here.
- Information about the NTSC and OSA decision processes is here
The OSA announced on September 25, 2013 that North Toronto Soccer Club will be one of the inaugural license holders for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The following information is being updated as the OSA and the league provide additional details.
What age groups will OPDL affect?
- The league starts with the U13's only - the 2001 age group - in 2014. Each year for 5 years, the league will add one division: U14 (in 2015), U15, U16, U17 and finally U23.
- NTSC's highest level teams - 1993 to 2000 - will continue to play in the current league structure: OSL, OYSL, CGSL, CSL.
- Younger age groups will continue to play in TSA district leagues. One NTSC team per age group (and gender) will be entered into the OPDL when they reach U13; other NTSC U13 teams will play in regional (CGSL and CSL) and district leagues.
- What are the dates for trials (tryouts), the start of training and league play? OPDL Teams
- Trials for NTSC's 2 OPDL teams were held in November and early December.
- Players still wishing to be considered for one of the teams should contact the coaching staff.
- OPDL team training will start in mid-January as per league guidelines.
- The league will operate between early April and late November 2014.
Who is eligible to try out for NTSC's OPDL teams?
- Unlike all other OSA-sanctioned youth rep leagues, there will be no geographic boundaries for OPDL teams.
- Open trials (tryouts) are mandatory for OPDL teams; the OPDL trial (tryout) policy is here.
- In 2014, the U13 divisions are primarily for players born in 2001. A player born in 2002 is eligible to try out and may be selected if the club determines that playing up one year would be in the best interest of the player's development.
- Not eligible in 2014: players born in 2003 or later, and players born in 2000 or earlier.
- Following the trial process, the most skilled and dedicated players will be selected regardless of residency or affiliation.
Which teams are in the league and where will games be played?
- There are 19 license holders as at December 13, 2013. The league has 2 divisions, East and West. NTSC teams will play in the East division.
- The 2014 league schedule will be published about February 15th.
- Games will be played on Saturdays, with all East division games played in one location each week and West division games in another. There may be some inter-divisional games.
- East division games will be played at locations including: The Soccer Centre (Vaughan), York University, Scarborough College, Queen's University (Kingston) and Carleton University (Ottawa).
- Assembling all teams in the same location on game day makes it possible to expose OPDL players on a regular basis to scouts from the provincial and national teams and (in later years) from Canadian and U.S. university and college programs. An additional benefit is that it will be convenient for players and coaches to observe other games in their division.
What is the schedule and time commitment?
- OPDL teams will operate between mid-January and the end of November. Teams will train 3 times most weeks.
- There will be intensive indoor pre-season training between mid-January and the beginning of April
- Monday evening, Wednesday evening and Saturday morning, with a few weekend exhibition games
- The season will consist of 28 league games, played on Saturdays, beginning in early April and ending in late November.
- No games will be scheduled on long weekends. The league plans to establish a 2-week summer break.
- During the season, practices will be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings (unless the team is travelling Friday evening, in which case the 3rd weekly practice will likely be on Thursday).
- There will be a substantial amount of travel for the Saturday games, possibly including a few Friday or Saturday nights away (1 night for games played in Ottawa).
- A break of 6 to 7 weeks will be scheduled between the end of November and mid-January.
How will the OPDL affect multi-sport athletes?
- NTSC promotes multi-sport participation as a means to develop an all-round athlete. However, should a player be selected and choose to play at the OPDL level, the time commitment mandates that their OPDL team must be their first sports priority.
- Given the overlap of seasons, a player already committed to a winter sport and then selected to the OPDL team will be worked with to make sure the player benefits and doesn’t miss out.
If a player does not wish to become soccer-dedicated at U13 could he or she make the choice later?
- Yes, open tryouts will be held every year for each team. Team head coaches will continue to track the development of all club players in their age group.
- Should a player be capable of meeting the OPDL standard and want to make the extra commitment later in their career, the opportunity will be available.
If a player does not get selected or chooses not to play for the OPDL team, what other options will they have?
- NTSC will continue to enter teams into regional leagues (CSL and CGSL) and district leagues, and will fully support these teams.
- Ideally, each age group will field 2 or 3 tiered rep teams, and there will be a select program.
What are the estimated player fees for NTSC's OPDL teams in 2014?
- The OSA has estimated that OPDL costs would be between $4,000 and $4,500 per player annually. The league fee alone is $9,000 per team.
- All organizations applying to the OPDL were required to have in place and commit to maintaining high technical, facility and organizational standards including:
- Technical staff for OPDL teams: a National-level team head coach, an assistant coach with Provincial certification, twice-weekly goalkeeping coaching, strength and conditioning coaching, sports medicine personnel and programs
- Club technical leadership: a National-level Technical Director
- A comprehensive ongoing program of coach training and development
- First-quality year-round indoor and outdoor training facilities
- Full-time qualified administrative and support staff
- Annual audited financial statements and other standards of governance and organization
- Depending on the league schedule and travel costs, the estimated annual cost per NTSC player is $4,200 to $4,400 for 10 1/2 months of activities; indoor training and the outdoor season.
- With fundraising and sponsorship initiatives expected to cover a portion of the OPDL team operating costs, it is anticipated that player fees will be lower than the $4,200 to $4,400 estimated costs. Exact fees will be calculated as more information becomes available, and will be published during the trial/tryout period.
- OSA bursaries will be available to provide partial assistance to a limited number of players.
- As in all of its youth soccer programs, NTSC will provide payment programs and some financial assistance to players whose families are unable to pay the full fee. Details will be announced during the trial/tryout period.
What changes are being implemented at NTSC in order to participate in OPDL?
- No major changes are required as NTSC has been putting in place over the past few years all of the components needed to participate in a high-level competitive league, based on the principles and experience of the FA and other jurisdictions as adapted to the Toronto environment.
- Highly-qualified coaching staff including 7 NTSC coaches who have Canadian National level or equivalent UEFA licenses, including staff coaches who qualified under the auspices of NTSC and others already qualified when joining NTSC during the past several years.
- Strength and conditioning coaches and locally-based sports medicine professionals who have worked with NTSC teams throughout 2012 and 2013; goalkeeping coaches who have trained NTSC keepers for many years.
- A portfolio of indoor and outdoor facilities that has been developed and expanded over several years, supplemented with additional time to support the rigorous OPDL training schedule without negatively impacting other NTSC programs.
- Several years of unqualified audited financial statements and appropriate financial ratios (debt ratio and current ratio) which provide assurance that the organization can financially sustain its commitment to OPDL over the next 2 years (2 teams in 2014 and 4 teams in 2015).
- An organizational structure that can support all club programs.
- Membership in the OPDL will necessitate total compliance by 2015 with both the Development Matrix and the Recreation Matrix published by the OSA in conjunction with implementation of the updated Long-Term Player Development program. NTSC already meets nearly all of the new standards, and will be extending the "No Scores/No Standings" policy to all Recreational leagues up to U12 (currently implemented up to and including U9).
- Fees for OPDL teams will include all costs directly related to OPDL teams - including Team Head Coach, Assistant Coach, other coaching costs and facility costs - and the team's share of technical and administrative overhead.
- Fees for all other NTSC programs - development, competitive (other than OPDL) and recreational programs will not be increased to support the OPDL teams.
- Club resources - technical, facilities, financial, administrative - used to support other club programs will not be reduced and will in fact continue to be expanded.
Other questions? Please contact OPDL@ntsoccer.com