Canada Soccer introduces Club Licensing Program

Canada Soccer has launched a new era of development for the sport with the introduction of its Club Licensing Program across Canada.  The program is designed […]

Canada Soccer has launched a new era of development for the sport with the introduction of its Club Licensing Program across Canada.  The program is designed to raise the standards of soccer development across the country to improve the overall soccer system and guide soccer organizations toward best principles for organizational development both on and off the field. 
The Canada Soccer Club Licensing Program takes a principles-based approach which allows organizations to develop and select the methods by which they operate based on their available resources and unique situation and context. Developed in collaboration with Provincial and Territorial Association members, and incorporating international best practices, the program will set clearly defined standards and expectations for member organizations, recognize excellence in the soccer community, raise the level of clubs, and drive change within the soccer system throughout Canada. 
“As Canada’s largest team sport by participation, we have a responsibility to deliver programing that benefits all players, but specifically children,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer General Secretary.  “Through the work of the Development team, in collaboration with our partners in the provinces, territories and regions across Canada, an evidence-based program has been developed with interests of the child put first.  We are extremely proud to be delivering this program through our partners and we look forward to seeing its results through the enjoyment of the youth players, but also by the impact it will have on players’ long-term development and love of the game.”
The principles of the Canada Soccer Club Licensing Program will guide the behaviour of all organizations and are being implemented to improve the youth soccer experience in Canada.  By prioritizing fun, emphasizing the physical, mental, and emotional safety of youth players, and providing developmentally-appropriate, high quality programs, Canada Soccer is redefining the youth soccer experience. 
“With the launch of Canada Soccer’s Club Licensing Program, parents will now know exactly what to expect when they sign their child up for soccer and can be confident that their child’s best interests are being met,” said Jason de Vos, Canada Soccer Director of Development. “This program will change the rules around the way young players are grouped, thus supporting the ability of clubs to deliver the best possible programs for children at all age levels and ability.”
Canada Soccer’s Club Licensing Program aims to ensure clubs focus on the holistic personal development of children in the sport and encourage their progression and long-term engagement.  The participant-centred approach outlined in the program aims to foster assessible, inclusive and welcoming environments across every level of the youth game, and encourages good governance and community-driven attitudes in sport. 
Beyond classification, the Canada Soccer Club Licensing Program also includes important elements related to development and appraisal of players. An outline of desired behaviours and characteristics for organizations to stimulate change in the soccer system and institute back-end, outcome-based appraisals will become an opportunity to provide clear feedback against the key performance indicators aligned to the stated principles and desired behaviours and outcomes to licensed organizations. 
“The classification is being organized around key pillars of governance, administration, infrastructure and technical requirements, and in order to classify member organizations a series of categories have been established,” said de Vos.  “At one end of the spectrum, foundational requirements have been developed to be considered a Canada Soccer Quality Soccer Provider creating baseline expectations for all member organizations, and at the other end of the spectrum, the Canada Soccer National Youth Club Licence recognizes the highest achieving organizations from across Canada and rewards them with the Canada Soccer Approved Youth Soccer Club endorsement and associated MLS Home Grown Player benefits.”
The Canada Soccer Club Licensing Program will be implemented using a phased in approach beginning with an initial National Youth Club Licence application window opening for organizations currently participating in recognized standards-based leagues in 2018.  After the initial phase, organizations will be invited to apply for recognition through the Canada Soccer Standards for Quality Soccer and it is expected that applications will be open for all classifications throughout the country by mid-2019. 


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