After more than a decade of trying to gain equal access to the youth soccer system in BC, TSS Academy gets the nod from both Canada Soccer and BC Soccer
On Saturday, February 1, the BC Soccer board of directors convened for their monthly meeting to discuss a variety of business items that affect the soccer community in this province. But one agenda item in particular took on more significance than others. The Board was to ratify a handful of soccer organizations to join the BC Soccer Premier League, the province’s top competitive environment for youth players. Canada Soccer had recently awarded these organizations a National Youth Club License, a new initiative from the national governing body that identifies soccer organizations who meet high standards in player development.
Canada Soccer awarded TSS Academy a National Youth Club License on January 23. The significance of that decision was substantial. TSS had been challenging the soccer community for well over a decade to embrace private enterprise and to recognize effective soccer organizations irrespective of their business status. Up to this point, only non-profit soccer clubs were allowed to enter into youth leagues in the province
“Evaluations for the TSS U13 BCSPL teams start this Tuesday night for the boys and Thursday night for the girls."
“We’re thrilled with this decision,” says Colin Elmes, TSS Boys Technical Director and co-owner. Elmes founded TSS Academy back in 1997 and has been knocking at the door of the youth soccer system for years. “It has been a long long journey,” continued Elmes. “Our academy has wanted nothing more than to contribute to the system and help our province and our country get better at this game. Opening the door to reputable private soccer academies would not have been possible without the current leadership at both Canada Soccer and BC Soccer. We thank them for their courage and their vision.”
Despite being outside the established soccer system, TSS was able to distinguish itself over the years with an exceptional reputation in coaching excellence. Notable national team players such as Christine Sinclair, Terry Dunfield, and Julia Grosso all trained at TSS in their youth. The academy offers a weekend training program for players right across the Lower Mainland. More than 700 players a year from over 20 different community soccer clubs attend TSS every week to work on their skills at the TSS Soccer Centre, the academy’s indoor facility in Richmond.
"Our academy has wanted nothing more than to contribute to the system and help our province and our country get better at this game…”
For other players, TSS is their primary soccer provider. In other words, TSS is their soccer club. These players train with academy 3 times a week and play games on the weekend. To date, those games have been limited to exhibition games against local soccer club teams and tournaments because the academy sat outside the system. But with this new National Youth Club License, TSS will now be fielding teams in the BC Soccer Premier League, starting with the 2008 born boys and girls this February. Evaluations for the TSS U13 BCSPL teams start this Tuesday night for the boys and Thursday night for the girls.
“We are about to host an event that we’ve never held before in our 23 year history - an evaluation camp,” says Brendan Quarry, TSS Girls Technical Director and co-owner. Quarry has led the girls program at TSS for the last 10 years, which has helped over 85 full-time female players move on to university level soccer, representing over 90% of its grade 12 players - an unparalleled achievement. “Our success at pushing players onto higher levels of the game is something that we take great pride in,” continued Quarry. “But that’s not our main goal. The main goal is to simply create a positive, enjoyable environment that teaches players how to pursue excellence in the sport. And it’s perfectly acceptable for players to have that ambition alone. “