About the team
At the start of the 2012 outdoor season, in accordance with the Ontario Soccer Association and the Toronto Soccer Association, Toronto High Park FC replaced the typical rep program. The program is called ODP or Outdoor Development Program and is different from House League, players can participate in either ODP or House League (HL) but not both.
Why is this program happening?
Up until 2012 Rep soccer (a competitive level of play above house league) started at the U8 age. The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and the Ontario Soccer Association (OSA) have looked at soccer in Canada and have been working on a way to better develop young players and provide a more appropriate learning forum for young players that revolves around fun and skill development and less on the competition aspect. They have developed the Long Term Player Development Program (LTPD). There is an FAQ on this that can be found here:
The Toronto Soccer association (TSA) which is the district our club is a part of, is fully on board with this program and all the clubs are adapting their programs accordingly. Many of you who would have normally only been interested in House League may want to consider this option.
We (THPFC) are excited about how great this structure will be for our members.
What the program will look like at THPFC:
The idea is more training (which involves many fun games) at this age and less actual games. The ratio will be 3:1 practices to games. Not to worry this does not mean 4x/week. It will likely be a game every 10days to 2weeks or so. However there are changes to the games too!
- Games: The players will participate in a "jamboree" or "festival" format for their games. It will be 5v5 to keep the games small sided, which allows for everyone to get more touches on the ball, a very important aspect in development but also in keeping it FUN for the kids. (we all know players loose their enjoyment of the game when there are too many kids on the pitch and they can not get near the ball especially at this age when they are still chasing the ball).
- The games will happen on different days of the week and that is to be determined. Basically all the clubs in the Toronto district will be submitting dates when they will host a jamboree, then we decide which ones we want to go to. Depending on the number of participants we have, THPFC may bring one or two teams (or more) to each jamboree. Also the teams may be mixed up each time as different people are available for different times etc.. The jamborees may be on a week night or on a weekend. The weekend ones will be bigger with more teams but no matter which we will get 2 to 3 games at each jamboree. So it will be a really fun outing for the kids! The home jamborees that THPFC will host will most likely be on either Monday or Tuesday evenings and we will do at least one weekend one as well. Right now we are looking to host one week night jamboree/month (so June, July and August) but that is still TBD.
- Practices: The practices/training will be twice a week; likely one week night and one weekend time slot each an hour and a half. We will have a highly trained/certified paid coach to work on the technical aspect of the game for one of those sessions and we will have community certified/trained coaches for the other session. We will keep the ratio of players to coaches at a max of 10:1, ideally 8:1. Again the practices will involve a lot of fun games that get the boys developing their skills while having fun and growing their love of soccer. We do have a few spring training dates at Lamport Stadium to get the boys out with the each other and get some touches with the ball but we will not start the regular practices until May.
I should add the games will not have scores kept or standings. Competition is still animportant aspect and so having actual games is important but we don't want the winning/losing aspect to rule our game at this age, we want the kids to love the game and celebrate their skill development first and foremost. I am very excited about this program and look forward to being involved and having fun with the boys!
If you have any other questions please feel free to e-mail me anytime.
If you would like to register for this program we will have the registration open soon. The final budget has not yet been set but the players will receive a "rep" kit which includes: shirt, shorts. socks, backpack and a jacket.
Yours in soccer
Toronto High Park FC