Letter to the OCSL Membership from Chair, Shar Sumner
On behalf of the OCSL Board, I hope that your season has started well!
Ottawa continues to be an evolving environment in which to operate a soccer league, our ongoing goal as a board is ensuring that we are providing the best possible soccer for our members at all levels of play. Despite some difficult decisions and operational issues, we have managed to keep costs for teams low. In fact, it is financially cheaper to run a team today than it was ten years ago, and we are continuing to take steps to reduce costs. Our league remains strong and we offer a good model for both competitive and recreational soccer. As a result, we remain the largest league of our size in Canada.
We acknowledge that there are some challenges that need to be addressed. The transition from youth to adult soccer could be smoother and it is still challenging to find appropriate levels of play for players in the 17-21 age group. Processes and the amount of paperwork – from travel and player permits to player cards and discipline – remain cumbersome, putting additional strain on team managers. We continue to run our league in an open and transparent manner and feel we have work to do when it comes to connecting to our members teams and the communities in which they play.
In an effort to address feedback from many of you, we recently petitioned the EODSA to allow the use of government issued ID to replace player cards for our recreational players. We are disappointed to inform you that the EODSA denied the request rather than communicating the demands of our membership to Ontario Soccer. We have not received any explanation for this course of action. Our understanding from Ontario Soccer is that they would be favourable to changes that they can make to help recreational soccer flourish.
This March, we received a letter from the EODSA informing us that their Board of Directors had passed a motion authorizing ‘the transition of the District Adult League into the operational control of the District Office.’ The notice came as a surprise as we were not given the opportunity to work with the EODSA on what they believe the landscape of Ottawa soccer should look like or to discuss the reasons behind the decision. The membership of the OCSL has never been consulted or informed as to any vision for the future. The decision to refuse to allow recreational players to use a driver’s license is not promising. The OCSL Board of Directors believes strongly that in order to continue to provide an exceptional league for its member teams, the league must be run separately from the district. At the very least, the OCSL membership is entitled to voice their opinion and as such, we appealed the EODSA decision to the OSA. On May 22, the OSA overturned the decision. I have reached out to the President of the EODSA in hopes to start the discussion of working together. We will keep you the membership informed of the progress.
Looking ahead, we ask that the EODSA continue to work with Ontario Soccer on behalf of our members. Issues like a one-time yearly EODSA/OSA registration fee for our membership stay top of mind for all. The EODSA has had this request at hand for some time. The OCSL is offering to manage this issue to resolve if the EODSA is not in a position to do so, or continue to limit engagement with Ontario Soccer.
We are committed to continuously improving and responding to your feedback - ensuring that we are providing the service you want and need.
Enjoy the season and if you have any questions please reach out.