-Submitted by Matt Holbrook
The EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League begins its 6th full season of play on the February 25th weekend.
The growth of the BCSPL has been strong, with 89 teams ready to take to the field for the 2017 season. With players regularly invited into BC Soccer’s HPP program and the Whitecaps FC youth programs, the support and diligence of all partners along the development pathway has been amazing. The most recent women’s National senior camp invite list, which included two recent BCSPL players, encourages all of our BCSPL clubs and coaches that we are providing the right environment for developing players for the next level.
Every June, many BCSPL players graduate from youth soccer and move onto post-secondary opportunities across North America where they can combine soccer with a pursuit of higher education, and one of the BCSPL’s main efforts has been to showcase players to university coaches. Not only will all of our U15 through U18 boys and girls teams again participate in the Whitecaps FC college showcase tournament on the April 15th weekend, but for 2017 we have continued to build a College ID Weekend component into our 2017 schedule. On the May 6-7 weekend, all BCSPL U17 and U18 teams will play two games in a neutral venue, where university coaches can attend, scout and recruit players in one central location.
The BCSPL also recently unveiled its new website at www.bcspl.ca, with enhanced scheduling and mobile features using the Demosphere platform. All game schedules will be added to the website this week, with the first weekend of play now released on the website as of February 1. The first fixtures of the 2017 season will see two girls games kick off under ‘Friday night lights’ on February 24 when Mountain United FC hosts Surrey United SC in U14 and U15 girls action that evening. Those two clubs meet up again all weekend in other age groups, along with Fraser Valley Premier hosting Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC, and Fusion FC welcoming Coastal FC to Vancouver. Due to a staggered start date to the season for Thompson Okanagan FC, allowing another weekend of winter to pass before they tackle the highways, both TOFC and Vancouver Island Wave will begin play on the March 4/5 weekend.
New for 2017, the league has added a quarterfinal playoff round on June 10/11 so that all teams will qualify for the playoffs after the league schedule has finished. The remaining 4 teams in each division will be re-seeded and advance to the Provincial Premier Cup semifinals on the June 17/18 weekend. This quarterfinal addition had a strong development rationale, and will alleviate any potential stress on players and coaches to qualify in the top 4 or miss out on playoffs.
The 2017 season will also see the full implementation of the BC Soccer High Performance License within the BCSPL. The HP License is a free service designed to assist and support all the BCSPL Franchise Clubs in maintaining and enhancing high performance technical standards. It promotes a player first mentality, supports the Canada Soccer Association’s Long Term Player Development Model and provides a clear and recognized pathway for player development and identification within British Columbia. For more information please visit: https://www.bcsoccer.net/high-performance
The BCSPL values its corporate partners, and is pleased to continue long term relationships with supporters of high performance youth soccer in BC. EA SPORTS, a founding corporate partner of the league, returns as the title sponsor. Secondary corporate partners include the BCSPL’s League Cup sponsor Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop, transportation partners Charter Bus Lines and International Stage Lines, and Signboom who has supported the league’s scholarship program for the previous 2 years.
About the EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League
The EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League was designed to create a new high performance level of competition and support player development at the Provincial, Collegiate, Professional and National team level. It will simplify scouting of top young players, provide an elevated level of competition and increase the chance for players to fulfill their potential. For further information visit www.bcspl.ca