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Club Charter Taking Flight in BC

The Club Charter program is taking flight in BC

As the game evolves in our province and country and with a 2026 World Cup on home soil looming, the desire to improve all aspects of our sport has been undertaken at every level.  Among the priorities from governing bodies, is a standardization process that ensures parents of children playing soccer can trust that the clubs and programs they register for, meet a minimum standard.

The Club Charter initiative has been employed in BC since 2016 and aligns with the Soccer Canada’s club licensing program.  Already, the list of organizations in BC who have fulfilled the Charter’s standards has grown substantially year over year.  LINK

The benefits of minimum standards to parents and their children are straightforward, but what about for clubs and their volunteers?   What are the benefits of licensing standards for them? 

Paul Turner leads BC Soccer’s Club Charter program and understands firsthand how important it is for good programming to be recognized:

“In my past roles with grass-roots soccer programming, we all worked really hard to do the right things. Both volunteers and paid staff committed to doing what’s best for the game, but without any acknowledgement.  Maybe the biggest thing the club charter program provides is recognition.”

Initiatives include rules and regulations, governance and coaching education to support the “LTPD” (long term player development) guidelines established by Canada Soccer.  Turner says it’s not only encouraging to see clubs meeting the criteria, but he’s enjoyed developing ongoing relationships with the various organizations:

“We’re not the police, we’re here to help and to support.  Even though there are many aspects to being Club Charter compliant, we’re really happy that so many have taken our recommendations on board while looking to continue evolving and pushing themselves.” 

An annual renewal process keeps clubs and organizations in good standing.

Russ Heggie is the Head of Player Development at South Delta United while also coaching at Coastal FC; (both Charter Clubs).  An educator by profession, Heggie believes the Charter program will change the game in our Province and Country: 

“You’re now starting to see consistency from Club to Club and the matchday experience is so much more organized.  One of the biggest challenges not that long ago was showing up to a field and not seeing the right sized nets for the various age groups.  Even the number of players on the right size of field has been standardized…that’s going to have a major ripple effect for our game.” 

In a landscape that is littered with options in the soccer programming space, how do parents know that the team, club or academy they are enrolling with meets even the most basic standards; one being Criminal Record Checks (CRC’s)? 

Last November, Nelson Soccer Association became the first club outside Coastal Region and BCSPL (BC Soccer Premier League) to achieve Tier One Status.  President Chuck Bennett says the biggest challenge was achieving the 100% mark for Criminal Record Checks;

“Culturally, we don’t do it. We’re so desperate for coaches we’ve always said “you have to go do this” but then no-one follows up on it.  Now we say you can’t be in the Association unless you do it, and we took the risk that potentially coaches would walk away.”

As a smaller club of 1300, Nelson Soccer Association had already tackled many of the Club Charter Guidelines and Bennett didn’t feel as though the process was onerous despite having less resources than bigger BC Clubs;

“It’s about excellence and we’ve been doing most of these things really well and (the good Standing) confirms that we have best practices and good governance. It was a priority for us to mirror what the best organizations in the province were doing.”
 

We look forward to announcing more Club Charter news very soon and will continue to acknowledge those organizations who have achieved tier one status as they complete the process.

 

 

About the Club Charter Program:

First introduced in 2016, BC Soccer’s Club Charter Program is designed to assist and support members and their affiliated soccer clubs with the objective of providing players, parents, referees and coaches assurance that a charter club is operating, and meeting set standards both on and off the field.

The program’s expansion now enables associate members to join the Charter Program, receive added support from BC Soccer, along with the ability to obtain the charter designation. The criteria standards are effectively the same as any affiliated club, however, some criteria have been amended to reflect the differences in organizational type.

“We are excited to bring the charter program to the associate members who wish to participate,” said BC Soccer President, Kjeld Brodsgaard. “Having this policy allows us for the first time to be able to formally review soccer environments outside of the full membership structure.”

“Canada Soccer introduced the National Club Licensing Program in early August 2018, which allows all soccer organizations the ability to apply and participate.” said, BC Soccer Executive Director, Jason Elligott. “We are pleased to align the BC Soccer Club Charter Program with those same inclusion principles.”

To view the BC Soccer Club Charter Associate Member Inclusion Policy – CLICK HERE.

For more information on BC Soccer’s Club Charter Program – CLICK HERE or contact Soccer Development Officer, Paul Turner at paultuner@bcsoccer.net.  

About BC Soccer

BC Soccer is the provincial sport governing body with the mission to govern, promote and develop the game of soccer in British Columbia in a professional and progressive manner. Established in 1907, BC Soccer is the largest provincial sports organization (PSO) in BC and the third largest soccer-specific PSO in Canada with over 150,000 participants.  As a professional not-for-profit society and a member of Canada Soccer, BC Soccer is committed to providing the widest opportunities for existing and potential participants, as well as provide support in the most effective and appropriate way for current players, parents, volunteers, member clubs, leagues, and districts. 

BC Soccer is comprised of more than 120,000 registered players, over 2,200 registered referees, and thousands of volunteer coaches, administrators, and soccer leaders. Working with its 40 member Youth Districts and 11 Adult Leagues as well as their affiliate member clubs, BC Soccer operates under the guiding principles of Professional Leadership, Passionate Service and Progressive Collaboration. In managing its relationships throughout the larger soccer community, BC Soccer’s vision is to ensure every British Columbian has the opportunity to be involved in soccer as part of a lifelong commitment to an active, healthy and involved lifestyle.