OPDL FAQ

What is the OPDL?
The Ontario Player Development League is a province wide, standard based, high performance league encompassing the 20 best soccer clubs in the province. The OPDL is the highest level of competitive soccer training and play in Ontario. 

When would Markham Lightning teams start playing in the OPDL?  
Each year, the U13 open trials begin in early October.  They will continue orientation and academy training until mid-January. The mandated periodized OPDL training for would commence in mid-January for all age groups. Match play will commence in May and continue through October.

How does this affect the current Markham Lightning Program for other age groups?
For 2016, the OPDL consists of the 2001, 2002 & 2003 age groups. The first year of OPDL participating is at the U13 age group.

All Lightning teams with players from 1998-2000 will continue to play in the current league structures (OYSL, CSL, CGSL, YRSL). Our 2004 and younger age groups would continue to participate in our LTPD academy development program and play in the York Region Soccer League and would have an opportunity to try-out for future OPDL team entries when they reach U13.

Would all future Markham Lightning Black teams simply become the OPDL teams?  
Fully open trials must be held for any OPDL squads.There are no geographical boundaries or residency restrictions for OPDL teams, i.e. teams would not have to be rostered with local players. Current Lightning players should expect to compete for spots on the OPDL teams at these tryouts with players from other clubs. Players that demonstrate the appropriate technical skill and are the most dedicated would be the likely members of the OPDL squads.

What would the commitment requirement be for OPDL players?
OPDL teams are required to operate from January through to November. The OPDL pre-season will begin in mid-January and run through to early May. The summer season will consist of matches from May to October with a two-week summer break with all competition dates on weekends. There will be 5 commitments per week (1 fitness session, 3 field sessions and 1 game) during the season. 

How does the OPDL affect multi-sport athletes?
The Markham Soccer Club does not prohibit athletes from participating in multiple sports. However, should a player be selected and choose to play at the OPDL level, the time commitments of the program would make participation in other high level sports (i.e rep hockey) extremely difficult.

If my child did not get selected or chose not to play for the OPDL team what other options would I have?
The MSC provides soccer opportunities for athletes of every ability and commitment level. Based on the number of players at each age level and coaching resources, the club would look to provide additional Lightning rep teams to play in the district or regional leagues, based on the calibre of the players still remaining after the OPDL squads have been selected.

Why are all OPDL games on Saturday?
The primary reason for the launch of the OPDL by the Ontario Soccer Association is to provide Ontario's top players exposure to the scouts from the provincial and national teams.   Assembling all the teams in the same place on game day makes this possible. 

Why did the Markham Soccer Club choose to pursue an OPDL franchise?
The Markham Soccer Club is committed to providing soccer opportunities for athletes of every ability and commitment level and that includes elite soccer athletes. This program will provide the elite pathway to players in the Markham Soccer Club.

What impact will this OPDL franchise have on our other programs?
The club's recreational programs will not be negatively affected. In fact, many of the current and ongoing improvements in our grassroots program are strictly following the Long Term Player Development model, as published by the OSA and required of OPDL clubs. The Markham Soccer Club implemented many of these improvements in 2011, 2012 and 2013 regardless of our OPDL application.