The Ontario Soccer Association has taken a step in the right towards putting a greater emphasis on player development at the youth level. Changes will be mandatory at youth level soccer for 2014.
Mandatory implementation for the 2014 season include the following:
* No promotion and relegation from U12 and below
* No league tables from U12 and below
* Small-sided games with fewer players on the field (5v5 at U7 and U8, 7 v 7 at U9 and U10 and 9 v 9 at U11 and U12)
The OSA strongly recommends and supports the implementation of the above, where possible, in 2013.
This ensures that the focus for clubs and coaches will not be on wins and losses but rather actual individual development. The idea is change the mindset by ensuring that young players receive more time on the ball, on appropriately-sized pitches, with the right kind of coaching support-where the willingness of youngsters to try things and make “mistakes” is seen as part of building the players’ skills and confidence as they learn to make decisions for themselves on the field.
There is still a long way to go in order to raise the quality and competition of play of soccer in Canada but this is a good step in the right direction. The effects of these changes will not be noticed for many years but nevertheless, they will be positive for the growth of players in Canada.