Launched in 2014 with the 2001 age group, the OPDL is the province’s first standards-based, youth high performance league that combines top level competition with strict high performance training standards. This exciting new youth high performance program is an important component of the overall movement to adopt the core principles of Long Term Player Development (LTPD) across soccer at large in Ontario and Canada. In 2015, OPDL will include the 2001 and 2002 age groups.
Focusing on stages 4 (Train-To-Train) and 5 (Train-To-Compete) of the LTPD pathway, OPDL represents young players’ early graduation to a genuine high performance training environment, targeting only the top athletes in the province from age groups U13 to U23 with what will be the highest level of competitive youth soccer in Ontario. Unlike other leagues, OPDL operates more as a high performance training program than merely a league.
In order to participate, clubs must apply for a license and meet strict criteria that show themselves to be worthy of training and developing the province’s best. OPDL teams have a base level of training intensity and rigour akin to professional soccer environments that mean their players not only compete against the best, but train like the best. And importantly, teams are not promoted or relegated from the OPDL. Entry is decided on by the quality of the club, not the results on the field, allowing coaches to focus purely on developing their players.