Club aims to add girls’ teams

Move necessary to join province’s new High Performance League

The Langley United Youth Soccer Association is hoping to add girls-only teams to its repertoire.

The youth soccer club has long had female players, but they have participated on boys’ teams.

The change comes as B.C. Soccer introduces a new eight-team High Performance League, which will feature six Lower Mainland clubs and one apiece from Vancouver Island and the Interior.

The league will have U13 to U18 teams, for both genders, which will replace the girls’ metro league and the boys’ select league as the top tier of competition in the province. The U17/U18 group will be combined into one category.

But to be eligible, a club must offer both boys’ and girls’ teams, or partner with an existing club.

LUYSA has looked at partnering with another club to fulfill this requirement, but has chosen to add girls’ soccer instead.

The Langley FC is a girls-only club which has 1,250 registered players this season.

LUYSA has about 1,600 players this season, up around 200 to 250 from the year before.

But there have been talks, but no agreement between the two local clubs to join forces.

“We are business as usual,” said Langley FC president Toni Burgess. “We are going to continue to offer the programs that we have and we have new programs coming out in the spring and the fall. “We will continue to work towards the betterment of girls soccer in Langley.”

“One of the criteria (the BCSA) has is you need to be able to have a sustainable male and female program,” said Mark Parker, LUYSA’s technical director. “We don’t have that, so hence, the opening up of our doors to ladies.”

The association held a meeting for parents on Thursday evening (Jan. 21) with about 80 people showing up.

LUYSA presented their long-term player development program to the crowd and then had a question and answer session for about 90 minutes.

The next step will be making a presentation to the Central Fraser Valley Girls Soccer Association in March about gaining acceptance to play next season.

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