The Ontario Player Development League enters its third season this weekend as games kick off across the province.
Boys and Girls divisions for U-13, U-14 and U-15 will play out of centralized venues in Vaughan and Kingston on May 7 and 8. Four new License Holders have joined the OPDL in 2016. Athlete Institute FC, Oakville SC, North Mississauga SC and SC Toronto will enter teams in both the male and female U-13 age group.
In addition, Toronto FC has re-entered the competition in 2016 with male teams in the U-13, U-14 and U-15 age groups.
“As OPDL enters its third year, our licence holders continue to raise the bar for development in our province and are committing to the program,” said Gary Miller, OSA Technical Director.
Launched in 2014 with the 2001 age group, the OPDL is the province’s standards-based, youth high performance league that combines top level competition with strict high performance training standards.
“As a group, we’re pulling together to share best practices and putting the priority on giving our athletes what they need to achieve their goals,” Miller said.
This high performance program is an important component of the overall movement to adopt the core principles of Long Term Player Development (LTPD) across soccer at large in Ontario and Canada.
“The OPDL has quickly become a breeding ground for new ideas and a renewed focus on the individual athlete,” said Bryan Rosenfeld, OSA Manager of High Performance.
Focusing on stages 4 (Train-To-Train) and 5 (Train-To-Compete) of the LTPD pathway, OPDL represents young players’ early graduation to a genuine high performance training environment, targeting only the top athletes in the province. Unlike other leagues, OPDL operates more as a high performance training program than merely a league.
“We’re continuing to strengthen the bonds that make up our high performance program and give clear direction on how to graduate players through the Talented Pathway,” Rosenfeld said.