Ontario Soccer’s Ontario Player Development League (OPDL), presented by Toronto FC, wrapped up its seventh season this weekend, as the Ontario Soccer Centre played host to the OPDL Gary Miller Charity Shield finals.
This year marked the return of the province’s top standards-based youth soccer high performance development program.
The OPDL, which largely operated as a ‘training-only’ program in 2020 due to prevalent public health restrictions, returned with a full slate of competition in 2021, culminating now with The OPDL Gary Miller Charity Shield.
Miller, the former Ontario Soccer Director of Soccer Operations, passed away in May of 2020 and his influence on soccer in Ontario was nowhere more impactful than his work in developing the standards for the OPDL.
Cindy Miller and the Miller Family were in attendance to help honour the Gary’s memory as well as hand out hardware to the winners.
While the OPDL Gary Miller Charity Shield is an integral opportunity to showcase the immense talent found within the OPDL before fellow OPDL members, scouts and families, the Charity Shield also raises money for Ontario charities.
Every dollar accumulated through the $5 admission rate, or the 50/50 draw, is donated to Ontario charities, as chosen by the winning teams in each match
In addition to the great competition over the weekend, approximately $8,000 was raised for charity.
The winning teams selected the Sick Kids Foundation (Markham U-14 Boys), ALS Canada (Vaughan SC U-15 Boys), Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa (West Ottawa U-17 Boys), Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Ottawa South United U-14 Girls), Canadian Cancer Society (Markham SC U-15 Girls) and Orleans Cumberland Community Respace Centre (Ottawa TFC U17 Girls) to donate their portion of the proceeds towards. The winning teams will make a cheque presentation when it is safe to, in accordance with public health regulations.
Launched in 2014 with the 2001 age group, the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) is Ontario’s first and Canada’s foremost standards-based, youth high performance league that combines top level competition with comprehensive high performance training standards.
This innovative and exciting youth high performance program is an important standard-bearer of the adoption of Long Term Player Development (LTPD) principles across soccer at-large in Ontario and Canada.
OPDL encompasses the U13 to U17 age categories, for both males and females, which are delivered by 30 committed License Holders from Windsor in the West all the way to Ottawa in the East.