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The OPDL Spotlight Series - What's new in 2017?

By Staff, 05/09/17, 12:30PM EDT


Gary Miller, Ontario Soccer Technical Director, speaks about some of the changes coming to the Ontario Player Development League in its fourth season


In 2012, Ontario Soccer looked to redesign the player development pathway in the province through LTPD Principles and a Standards Based High Performance Youth League.

The new Technical Advisory Committee designed the Ontario Player Development League with the guidance of Canada Soccer. The OPDL began in 2014. 

The OPDL Spotlight Series, presented by Toronto FC, highlights stories, teams and initiatives from around the league. This week features Gary Miller, the Ontario Soccer Technical Director, looking at what is new to OPDL and what's coming down the pipe in 2017. 

OPDL has expanded the U-16 division to allow for some U-17 players. Please explain the purpose behind this?

OPDL implemented the flexibility in order to allow License Holders to properly conduct player placement based on biological age versus chronological age at the older age group.

This mechanism supports player movement dealing with late and early developers.

The implementation also seeks to enhance the quality and competition level within the program while providing clear support to League1 Ontario. License Holders are able to better create a transition towards Training to Win environments.

OPDL added a Cup competition this season. How will this help in player development for these age groups?

The OPDL Cup seeks to further align with Canada Soccer Long Term Player Development Model (LTPD), focusing on LTPD Stage 4 Training to Train and LTPD Stage 5 Train to Compete.

The event should provide another platform for Ontario Soccer High Performance staff to observe and assess players and coaches outside regular league game environment.

The OPDL Cup will be played by U15 and U16 teams on both genders.

The OPDL Cup finals are scheduled to take place on Aug. 6, along with the League1 Ontario Cup final. All games will be played at the Ontario Soccer Centre.

OPDL is now reviewing applications for the 2018 season. What are some of the things that make a club stand-out as a potential OPDL License Holder?

The 2017 RFP process is certainly very competitive, with several organizations from across the province demonstrating interest on entering the OPDL in 2018.

Throughout the process, organizations are evaluated based on 5 major areas.

Potential License Holders must demonstrate strong commitment to LTPD, solid financial stability to support the program and a well-established structure able to operate efficiently.

This year, OPDL seeks to expand to new areas of the province, increasing opportunities for players, coaches and match officials to access the talented pathway.


Gary Miller has been the Technical Director of Ontario Soccer since April 2015. He was the Technical Director with Ontario Soccer also from 1985-1990.

Prior to that, he was the Schools Program Co-ordinator for Ontario Soccer from 1983-1985. From 1988-1989, Gary was the Assistant Coach of the National Under 17 Boys Team that competed in the FIFA World Championships in Scotland, 1989.

In 1990, he joined the Canadian Soccer Association as the High Performance Director until 1992. In 1996, he started his own Academy, Bryst International, which was a founding member of the Soccer Academy Alliance of Canada (SAAC).

Gary  Miller

Gary Miller

Ontario Soccer Technical Director

Phone: 905-264-9390 ext 269