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UPDATE: New Details Announced for First-Ever Player Development Program (PDP) Championship

By Staff, 06/19/24, 8:00AM EDT

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North Toronto SC, Unionville-Milliken SC, Hamilton United Elite SC and Ottawa South United will travel to Edmonton, Alberta this summer as Canada Soccer launches the Player Development Program (PDP) Championship.

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Canada Soccer has released the match schedule and additional event details for the first-ever Player-Development Program (PDP) Championship, set to take place from August 14 to 18 at the Bill Gilhespy Complex in Edmonton, Alberta.

Canada Soccer’s new PDP Championship will deliver a higher level of national competition for youth soccer players and organizations across the country. Twenty-eight teams will experience the event this year. Participating squads were drawn from a pool of 155 youth teams competing in the U17 and U15 age groups through the BC Soccer Premier League, the Alberta Youth Soccer League, the Ontario Player-Development League, and the Québec Youth Soccer Premier League (Première Ligue de Soccer Juvénile du Québec).

“Coming at the same time as the 10th anniversary of the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL), the launch of the PDP Championship is a milestone in the ongoing development of soccer in Ontario and across Canada as it will provide an opportunity for our players to compete in a national standards-based, best-on-best environment," said Matt Ferreira, Ontario Soccer's Director of Development. "For our players, coaches and other stakeholders to be able to benchmark themselves with other PDP programs on an annual basis will only serve to enhance the OPDL as we assess the performances of all groups present to identify technical areas of strengths but, more importantly, continued growth."

North Toronto SC and Unionville-Milliken SC will represent Ontario in the U15 Girls division, while Hamilton United Elite SC and Ottawa South United SC compete in the U15 Boys division. These squads qualified for the competition last fall at the end of the 2023 OPDL season (April 30-October 15) as the winners of the East and West divisions. There were a total of 27 teams in the running for the U14 Boys and 21 in the U14 Girls.

The 2024 PDP Championship will see 50 matches unfold across its four divisions. The group stage will be played on August 14, 15 and 17, followed by the ranking and Championship matches on August 18. The full schedule for each division is now available here. Kickoff times will be confirmed at a later date.

Please note that Ontario Soccer will not be sending U17 squads to the 2024 PDP Championship since there was no U16 OPDL division in 2023. As a result, no U17 teams were able to qualify for the competition this year. A full overview of the qualification process for all four provinces has been published here.

The PDP Championship was first announced in December of 2023, with standards-based programs from British Columbia, Alberta, Québec and Ontario set to participate in the competition. The date and venue were confirmed earlier this year.

This competition will provide a terrific growth opportunity for Canada’s bright young players, both on and off the pitch. Canada Soccer’s Men’s and Women’s Youth National Teams staff will be on site to both watch the competition and present to participating players and Coaches. Presentations will focus on the Youth National Teams player pathways, player profiles, playing philosophies, and training methodologies. The presentations will also allow players and Coaches to interact directly with Youth National Teams staff.

Across the competition, Canada Soccer will offer match analysis for both teams and individual players with the support of Sports AI, a company that helps football teams analyze their performance and enhance their decision-making. Match analysis will help Coaches and their staff better support team and player development. It will also provide players with the opportunity to review their performances and even produce scouting packages drawn from their matches against national-level opposition. At the competition, Clubs will be provided with on-site support from Sports AI to ensure that Coaches and players can maximize the use of the data provided.

“I wish Ontario’s and the OPDL’s representing clubs, who qualified through a successful and consistent 2023 Under-14 League campaign, success at the event as they blaze a trail for the next chapter of evolution of Ontario Soccer’s standards-based programs and soccer in Canada," Ferriera added.

As of early July, 18 of the 28 youth teams have already been decided. Ontario's four teams will be joined by former national youth champions Burnaby FC, Calgary Foothills SC, South Surrey’s Coastal FC, Coquitlam Metro Ford SC, CS Saint-Laurent, Surrey United SC, and more!

For more information, visit the Canada Soccer website.