The Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) is entering its fourth season and prospects have never looked brighter for this leading player development program.
Eighteen Club and Academy License Holders, operating in Ontario, are confirmed for the upcoming season. The OPDL will also be opening up applications in early 2017 for new licensees to join the innovative program and start competition in the 2018 season.
Based on its comprehensive framework of program and league standards, these Licensees continue to provide high-quality development environments in which all their players receive top-level competition, combined with highly-structured, high-performance training.
"The upcoming season is to going to be an exciting breakout year for the OPDL," said Gary Miller, Ontario Soccer Association Technical Director."
"Our players are already attracting attention from universities in Canada and the USA for scholarships, OPDL players are being channeled up into our youth national teams and we are also now seeing players move into pro-environments such as the Toronto FC Academy on the male side.”
Launched in 2014, with the 2001 male and female age groups, the OPDL will now phase-in a fourth age group in 2017 for its license holders to continue to build out their program according to the Ontario Soccer Talented Pathway.
New to the program this season will be the ability of license holders to register players born in the 2000 age group to play for 2001 age teams.
"This new technical OPDL initiative will be the first step to close the player movement gap from the OPDL to League1 Ontario, the province’s pro-am senior Men’s and Women’s high performance league," said Bryan Rosenfeld, Ontario Soccer Association Manager of High Performance. "As we have seen already, League1 Ontario is helping players push their careers into the pro-ranks in North America and abroad, on both the men’s and women's side of the game."
Also new to the program this year will be the introduction of the OPDL Cup for the U-15 and U-16 age groups. A single-game knockout format, the addition is intended to introduce another level of intense competition into OPDL.
“At the U-15 and U-16 age groups, it is important for players to be exposed to more pressure-situation games,” Rosenfeld said. “This initiative is designed to help shape and strengthen the players’ response to the kind of environments they will encounter as they progress along the Talented Pathway towards collegiate, professional and national team opportunities.”
The OPDL Charity Shield, a showcase event for the top teams from each conference in the 2001, 2002 and 2003 age groups, will take place November 4 at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan. This event raises money for local charities.
The OPDL season will kick off on May 6-7 and the 2017 season will feature 20 games for each Club and/or Academy License Holder.
The OPDL confirms the following 18 License Holders for the upcoming 2017 Season:
Visit OntarioSoccer.net for more information on OPDL, including the current license holders and how new License Holders can apply.
Tag(s): OPDL News