CSL To Kickoff Youth Development System
The Canadian Soccer League is taking a further serious step to link promising young players to professional soccer and it will all begin this coming November.
The CSL Youth Development System will kickoff an indoor schedule mid-November to start an all-year round academy-style program structured to provide competition, high calibre skills training and professional development for promising players wanting to accelerate their progress in the sport. A CSL policy introduced for the first time this season requires new CSL clubs to be connected to youth soccer in the professional team’s community, and the CSL will work with community based clubs to deliver this new exciting and progressive program while adhering to the CSA’s Wellness to World Cup, Long Term Player Development framework.
“The CSL Youth Development System is intended to be more than just somewhere to play,” said Domenic Di Gironimo, commissioner of the CSL, who for some time now has emphasized a need for Canadian soccer to bridge the gap and provide that missing next step for promising young players who find themselves with nowhere to go. ‘The Gap’ – a long-standing impediment to producing players for higher levels, including Canada’s national teams, has been identified as a reason Canada has fallen behind in world soccer. “Canadian soccer should be producing many more good young players from the ever-increasing number of registrations across the country,” says Di Gironimo.
Recent discussions with CSA National Teams’ scouting staff centered on improving the role of CSL coaches in identifying athletes, and creating a formalized link between the two organizations. The CSL intends to work with the OSA and other provinces to establish a similar relationship to assist with the development of players for Provincial Teams.
CSL league administrator Pino Jazbec, who will oversee the CSL’s year-round program, will have the new league operating both indoor and outdoor competitions, boys and girls, young men and young women. The year-round program is intended to address the longstanding criticism from high level coaches that compared to most other countries, the Canadian outdoor season is too short.
The league is announcing an indoor program that will have teams in four divisions from U12 (9 vs. 9) and U14 years through U18 (11 vs. 11) playing one game each week from November through April, followed by a break before the outdoor season takes over.
All players, non-playing staff and the competition will be under CSA/OSA rules of governance, while league rules will be in accordance with the CSL Rules and Regulations.
The CSL, with teams in Ontario and Quebec and which at the beginning of this year came directly under CSA governance, presently has 13 teams in its First Division and 10 in the Reserve Division and is planning expansion to other parts of Canada.
Bob Iarusci, a former Canadian national team player who gained prominence with Toronto Metros-Croatia and New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, who has maintained high interest in Canada’s progress as a soccer-developing nation over the years and who has followed CSL games closely this season, was pleased when advised of the CSL’s plans for professional youth development.
“I am very impressed with the CSL standard of play and the quality of the player base. The emphasis on developing young Canadian talent through the CSL clubs is so important. Special mention should go to the new clubs like Milton, Brantford and Hamilton Croatia . It will be exciting to follow the results over the next few months. I believe we are in for some great games towards the end of the season,” he said.