OSA Board Of Directors Approves Mandated
Changes For U12 & Below In 2014
The OSA Board of Directors met on the weekend of September 14-16,2012 and strongly endorsed the ongoing phased-in implementation of Long-Term Player Development across the Province. In particular, the OSA Board formally approved the LTPD Recreation
and Development Matrices
for the 2014 season.
Much more than simply words or abstract support, this action verified the Board’s commitment to LTPD. The Directors have called on all Districts, Clubs, Leagues and OSA staff to work in harmony to make this transition as smooth as possible.
While echoing their earlier support for the CSA’s “Wellness to World Cup Plan” and Canadian Sport for Life’s direction for all
sports, in concrete terms our Board gave very specific direction.
Highlights of the LTPD Recreation and Development Matrices mandatory implementation for the 2014 season include the following:
Please remember the OSA strongly recommends and supports the implementation of the above, where possible, in 2013.
- 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)
This ensure that the focus for Clubs and coaches in the months and years ahead, especially at the earliest ages, will no longer be on wins and losses but rather on enjoyment and actual individual player development. We can influence this with a change in mindset and by ensuring that our 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.
This is a critical step and is in line with best practices currently in place around the soccer-playing world. I just returned from meeting with a top English FA official in Europe, and it is clear this is the direction the world’s best soccer nations either have been headed for some time—or are now going. More than an academic exercise or “fad” as some seem to suggest, this is truly about giving the game back to our young players and allowing more kids to compete and progress, not just a select few.
LTPD is proven to provide a better learning environment for youngsters. This includes field sizes and goal sizes that make sense for younger players. The focus going forward will be on developing their skills without the burden of having to “win” at the earliest ages. As we have said before, there will still be plenty of competition, and lots of time to learn how to deal with “losing”. For too long we focused on chronological age and not on the realities of developmental age. We have failed to recognize that kids grow at different times and that there are stages in their development that we need to not only be aware of, but also respond appropriately to— with the right kind of instruction and coaching support. Properly implemented, LTPD will be a huge step in the right direction. We’ll keep more youngsters in the sport because they enjoy it, and we’ll miss fewer talented youngsters for higher honours who develop later than their peers.
My hope is that Districts that have already embarked on this path and have initiated progress around LTPD will do what they can to adopt the matrices by 2013, wherever possible. We will be working on providing further direction and guidance in the months ahead with regard to competition changes, to ensure all Districts are in compliance by 2014. This will include more information on league structure and details around competition and schedules without the dependence on promotion and relegation.
Please stay tuned for further updates, as we will be connecting with you over the next two weeks to communicate details of our planned “road show” schedule. This will involve a series of workshops and consultations through various parts of the province in the latter part of October and into November.
In those sessions, we will be reinforcing what the requirements will be for Clubs, while providing further direction and updated progress reports on the OSA Club Development Plan and the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL), which begins in 2014. It will be an important time for information sharing and discussing how we can work together to make the soccer experience better than ever for our young players in every corner of the province.
The LTPD Matrices can be viewed and downloaded on the LTPD Resources page here
Chief Technical Officer