On July 31, 2019, Canada Soccer announced the first group of successful applicants for the National Youth Club License. Across Canada, 39 clubs were successful in achieving a Provisional license, including the following 7 clubs in Alberta:
- Calgary Blizzard
- Calgary Foothills
- Calgary Rangers
- Calgary Southwest United
- Edmonton Scottish
- Sherwood Park Phoenix
- St Albert Impact
Soon after the announcement of the successful Alberta applicants, Alberta Soccer, the clubs, and their associated Districts began working on the implementation of a National Youth Club Licensed competition, scheduled to launch in the Spring of 2020. The competition will create a “best-on-best” Canada Soccer-aligned competition in our province.
The 2020 competition (limited to clubs who achieve their National Youth Club License status prior to October 31, 2019), will begin play in April 2020 and launch with a single age group (U14) for both genders. Following consultations with BC Soccer and Ontario Soccer (both of whom operate high-performance competitions), Alberta Soccer has opted to launch one age group per year, until we complete the implementation of all age groups in 2023. Each year, a new U14 group will be introduced to the league as the previous U14 group advances to the next age category.
The competition will be “periodized” across a full calendar year, allowing for:
- scheduled breaks throughout the year to avoid training overload,
- games to be scheduled with adequate intervals between them, and
- planning and recovery time for clubs, coaches, players, and families.
Alberta Soccer’s stakeholder group has also begun identifying the framework for player movement between Licensed and District clubs and will now begin work on the operational details (competition timeframes, schedules, player intake and registration processes) to ensure we are prepared for a successful delivery of the National Youth Club Licensed competition.
Alberta Soccer will also continue with information sessions to provide players, parents, clubs, and Districts with additional details about the National Youth Club License, the license-based competition, and any new developments in the roll-out of the league.
Club licensing and the associated competition is a transformational development for soccer in Alberta. It will support an enhanced development environment for players, coaches, and referees and contribute positively to their advancement along the development pathways. Over time, this new framework will likely see a greater number of Alberta players moving to the next level of the sport (Canada Soccer Youth and Senior National teams, professional clubs, and post-secondary institutions).
Continue to check the Alberta Soccer website for ongoing updates on the progress of Club Licensing and the license-based competition (website coming soon).