If Canada wants a thriving, high quality system for soccer players from coast to coast, then it’s crucial that local, provincial and federal organizations work together.
That’s what’s happening as the Quality Sport for Communities and Clubs initiative in Alberta works to align their system from top to bottom, in support of the Canada Soccer Youth Club Licensing Program as it rolls out to all youth soccer organizations across the country.
“The Quality Sport for Communities and Clubs resources provide a practical and useful framework that supports having good people in good places providing good programs. Soccer is a great example of how this can be done, and hopefully this can be an inspiration,” said Lea Wiens, Sport for Life’s Physical Literacy for Communities and Quality Sport Consultant.
“In Alberta we’d received bonus funding from Makadiff Sports, based on our success with the 2019 QSCC pilot. The funds were used to support implementation, so we were able to provide more of support, resources and connections. As new club standards start to roll out for soccer, QSCC provides an objective foundation for why we’re moving towards a standards-based system in support of quality sport. Some people when they hear about change can be resistant, but leading with a quality sport model means they can see the rationale and benefits.”
Wiens has been working alongside John Clubb of Alberta Soccer, who said the work they’re doing has the potential to have an enormous impact.
“Alberta has historically been quite a resistant province. It used to be just Alberta Soccer saying we have to improve the quality of our sport system, but now we’ve got Canada Soccer and Sport for Life backing us and people are coming around, more and more. These new standards we’re introducing could change the entire landscape of how we deliver this sport in our province,” Clubb said.
The move towards standards-based environments guided by the Canada Soccer Youth Club Licensing Program and supported by QSCC could have implications for the whole country, according to Canada Soccer’s Manager of Development - Operations Dave Nutt.
“The great thing about the Quality Sport for Communities and Clubs program is that it doesn’t say you should do it this way or that way, it says, ‘here’s the big picture ideals we’re trying to achieve’. It’s hard to be prescriptive because every organization and community is a little different, and has specific knowledge,” he said.
“This has really been driven from the grassroots in Alberta, which is great, and it’s allowed us to build momentum and provide support to get every club to raise the standards of their operations, programs and services, so we have as many quality soccer providers as possible.”