VanU prides itself on running a transparent BCSPL program that focuses on developing players for its teams rather than actively recruiting them from other clubs. We have formed a parent advisory committee for this program that meets three times each year. This FAQ came from that committee and will be updated as necessary. We hope this will serve to answer questions for those already in the program and those who aspire to join it.

Questions are grouped by topic.


Q: What is the club doing to increase transparency and communication with Van U BCSPL families? 

 A: In terms of communication, BCSPL teams all have their own club provided TeamSnap, annual meetings, travel meetings and a BCSPL parent committee that each team has a representative for. In terms of transparency, we have a thorough description of the program on our website, including all-inclusive pricing and our expectations for those in the program.   We have also started a BCSPL parent committee and an “FAQ” document, which we believe is unique in the league and conduct an annual, anonymous survey with all BCSPL families to solicit feedback. Our goal is to provide the utmost transparency within our BCSPL program. 

 Q: How can we as a club advocate for more field development in Vancouver?

A: Municipal governments provide most of the field supply in Vancouver and are surprisingly responsive to input from the public. Club staff are currently on the Vancouver Park Board External Advisory Board for Field Sport Strategy and the best thing that VanU parents can do to help is to complete surveys that club staff send out to members that allow for field advocacy and to attend public meetings that are typically held to solicit opinions on potential new field sites.


Q. What is the minimum and maximum roster size for a BCSPL team? 

 A. 18 is the maximum unless there’s an exemption from the BCSPL Manager for specific reasons (i.e.: Players cut from Whitecaps.). The minimum roster size is 14.

 Q. What are “training players” and does VanU have them? 

A. Yes, we have players that are in a lower level or out of the club that we bring in 1-2 times per week to support their development and build our depth. Training players pay a fee commensurate with the amount that they are involved with the BCSPL team.

Q. Why are families asked to keep decisions on signing with VanU confidential? [TK1] [GY2] 

 A. We have players that might not receive an offer but until everyone has committed, we would like to reserve the right not to share that information. We may have to send an offer should someone else decline. It becomes a stressful time for all players, coaches and our Technical Director (TD). 

 Q. Do other BCSPL clubs have the same policy around signing confidentiality? 

 A. We can’t speak for other clubs. 

Q. What are the windows for signing new players? 

 A. Players joining VanU BCSPL teams from other clubs can do so up until May 31 (the end of Phase 1 of the BCSPL season). Players cannot join another BCSPL club from June 1 until the end of Phase 2 which is generally around the end of November. Players who are already VanU players can join our BCSPL teams at any point in the BCSPL season.

Q. Does VanU technical staff scout other teams and are they always keeping an eye out for new players? 

A. We are constantly watching players from within our club (other VanU teams) and inviting them into our training environment. As far as for players outside of our club, there is a form on our website that allows those players to request to be considered for our BCSPL teams. We follow up on those requests and work with their current clubs to facilitate considering them. We do feel though that National Youth Club License holders, which is the CSA certification that clubs must have before being accepted into BCSPL, are responsible for developing their own players rather than relying on taking players from other clubs or making deals with private entities to incorporate their players onto our teams.  Therefore, we do not send staff to watch players who are playing for other clubs who have not expressed any interest in coming to VanU.  

Q. If there is any player related to a staff in the BCSPL program are they privileged to stay on the team?

A. No player at VanU is given any type of advantage over others in terms of team selection. This applies for any level of play and applies regardless of whether the player is related to a staff member, a Board member, or anyone else.



Q. What specific coaching techniques are being used with the girls that are distinct from the boys? 

A. All teams (boys and girls) are applying the preferred Methodology taught at the CSA Youth License course. 

Q. Are female coaches being mentored and developed within the club to coach at the BCSPL level? 

A. Yes. We had three female coaches working as the coach or assistant with BCSPL or pre-BCSPL teams this past season

Q. Does the technical director communicate with the coaches regularly to discuss performance and come up with adjustments as needed? [RE3] [GU4] 

A. Yes. The TD holds annual meetings with each coach and also allows the coaches to provide feedback on programming changes twice a year.[TK5]  October 1st and June 1st. The TD is also speaking with all the coaches weekly at training sessions to gauge where the players are currently trending.

Q. Is there a VanU policy on coaching changes after a set period of time? (I.e.: every 2-3 years)  

A. There is not a policy yet, but the TD and ED are working on a model that will have coaches change teams periodically but not according to a rigid schedule. The final decision on all coaching decisions for all VanU teams (BCSPL or otherwise) rests with the TD .

Q. What are the key performance indicators for coaches during their performance review and how are areas of improvement identified and addressed? Can parent assistant coaches also be evaluated in a similar manner?

A.  The TD’s primary Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is that players graduate through youth soccer. The coaches all use the four pillars (Technical, Tactical, Psychological and Physical) to evaluate the players. Coaches are patient with player development and recognize changes to better support the player pathway. Our coaches use the Yearly Planning Instrument (YPI) to be prepared for the sessions and season planning. The coaches training & game session organization and content delivery is watched carefully by the TD. Parent assistant coaches are given specific roles. They are expected to follow the direction of the program. If these terms are not met, the TD can, and will, ask the parent / volunteer to step aside from their role.  

 Q. Can a minimum number of game recording and video analysis sessions be standardized among all BCSPL teams, so all teams have these learning opportunities? 

 A. We have purchased a second camera so all home games should be recorded starting in September 2023 if possible. Each camera has a three-game recording duration. 

 Q. What is the issue with parents cheering from the side lines? Every time the coaches seem to get mad when we are cheering. 

A. It’s hard to answer this directly without knowing the situation, but frustration from the coach’s behalf could arise if your cheering is being perceived as coaching.  For example, if the coach specifically tells the players not to press the defence, and then a parent/parents are consistently saying, “Pressure” from the sidelines to the players, then this can be confusing to the players.  It is likely best to bring this topic up with your coach in the expectations meeting if you have any questions/concerns.  



Q. What is the BCSPL rule for minimum playing time and does VanU have its own rule? 

A. No BCSPL rule but, yes, we have our own internal rule on this. Its 50 percent averaged over the Phase and season. The rules sometimes make it difficult as there is a no re-entry rule that could affect minutes played. For example, if an injury happens in the first few minutes of the game the player cannot go back on until halftime at the earliest. 

Q. What is the club policy on calling up younger players when an older team is short players? 

 A. Coaches dealing with injured players and lower numbers can call up players after discussing it with the TD. The invitation to the player being called up comes from the TD.

Q. How much playing time should a younger player called up expect? 

 A. That is communicated by the coaches when being called up.

 Q. Can the coach decide to play a younger player as a starter even if an older player is available? 

 A. Yes. There will be players that might be called up to play and it is at the discretion of the coach and TD. You may see players being permanently moved up during the season if the TD thinks it is necessary. This is an elite environment where there can, and should be, competition within the team for playing time.

Q. Can a player be moved from a BCSPL team to another VanU team at the Metro or Divisional level? What is the process for this? 

A. We would prefer to do this at the end of Phase 2. We could do this within a Phase though if the parents and TD agree that it is in the best interest of the player.

Q. Can VanU create anonymous feedback forms for both players and parents to provide feedback on training, coaching (head and assistant coaches), and the BCSPL program at the end of each phase? 

A. We started doing anonymous surveys near the end of the BCSPL season in the fall of 2022 and will continue to do this. Parents of players are sent a link to the survey and given two weeks to complete the survey. At that point we close the survey.

Q. What steps is VanU taking to increase players' satisfaction and minimize loss of players to other BCSPL clubs, with respect to training program, team game performance, player development, and coaching? 

A: All BCSPL clubs face the prospect of losing players to other clubs during established periods where they can change clubs. The number of players that leave our team is on average roughly the same as those who join us. Beyond that, VanU prioritizes developing its own players for BCSPL rather than scouting other teams and trying to actively recruit players to leave their club and join ours. All players are welcome at VanU but we ask that if they are interested they fill out our BCSPL Interested Player form available here. In 2023 over 90% of our BCSPL players played at VanU in their last year prior to joining our BCSPL program.



Q. Are kits replaced every year? 

A. Yes

Q. Is there a way to get replacements when gear is outgrown or worn out? 

A. Yes. Just contact club staff at 604-674-4109 or email info@vancouverunitedfc.com to order more kit.

Q. Can a family opt out of a new kit and get a fee reduction?

A. No. Players must have the same kit for training and games, and we have found that opting out causes considerable logistical issues. We review our kit orders each year to try to ensure good value while meeting expectations for kit. Also, recent supply chain changes compel us to order most kit items 8-10 months ahead of when they are actually distributed to players.



Q. It seems as though the Van U BCSPL teams have had only access to 1/4 of the field for practices since Jan 2023 and is this going to be the norm going forward?  How much field space do other BCSPL teams have to practice on? 

A. The requirement by BCSPL is that we use ½ a field at least once a week. Quarter field is acceptable by league standards for other sessions. 


Q. Does the club allow teams to stay overnight in Okanagan or Van Island for regular season play and who would cover this expense? 

A. We explored this model recently with one of our teams.  The club has a budget per player for Bus transportation and meals. If parents of the team would prefer to drive up on their own arrangements and stay in a hotel overnight, it can be done. The club will credit the parents account for the cost of Bus and meals only and the decision to go up in cars with parents must be unanimous within the team.  Please keep in mind that we book two teams per bus each time we go to the Okanagan. The Cup round is something we cannot predict and those are substantial costs to the program. We have never asked parents to pay more when teams have to travel to the Okanagan, Victoria or Nanaimo more than was anticipated.  


Q. Who decides what tournaments a team can go in? 

A. The TD as they ensure that the tournaments are sanctioned and that they are during the allowable dates as per the BCSPL schedule.  They also know what tournaments have a good reputation and will provide the right competitive offering for our teams.

Q. Who decides what level at a given tournament a team will play in?

A. The TD

Q. Who covers the cost of tournaments? 

A. Parents cover all associated costs for tournaments and any other add-ons they wish to consider that is approved by the TD and the team. The fee charged for BCSPL covers BCSPL activities like training, league play and Cup play. Should teams advance to Nationals at U15 or U17, this would not be covered and would entail an additional charge to those attending. 

Q. Can a BCSPL team fundraise for tournament play?

A. Yes, but all fundraising efforts must be approved by the Executive Director. No reasonable fundraising projects will be refused.


Q. Can more exhibition games be organized in off-season and long weekends when no games are scheduled?  

A. This is possible but would need to confirm to the annualized training plan for each team and would also be subject to field availability which is an ongoing challenge for the Club. We are carefully checked by CSA as per the amount of play in a season. [RE8] [GU9] 



Q. Can exhibition games be organized against other clubs once eliminated from playoffs instead of playing intersquad games? 

A. Yes, it is possible pending field permits and interest from other clubs.

Q. Other BCSPL teams seem to organize these.  What are the challenges here and how can they be addressed (i.e., is it personnel time to organize, or field scheduling, or something else?)

A. This is difficult to answer unless there are specifics relayed to us. In general terms, our club’s biggest challenge is access to fields and being able to quickly generate a field permit when a team has an opening for an exhibition game is for the most part very unlikely. 


Q. Is the VanU registration fee for BCSPL players in line with other clubs? 

A. No, they are not. Our fees are approximately $1000 less than neighbouring BCSPL clubs and likely among the lowest in the league when travel and player kit are included. Our BCSPL fees are very transparent. They are always available on our website and include everything in the BCSPL program (training, games, travel to and from games on Vancouver Island and the Okanagan which also includes meals on those trips). The only things that are additional to the BCSPL registration fee would be if parents choose to go to a tournament outside of the offered programming or if they need replacement or extra kit items.

Q. Are there bursaries available for BCSPL families?

A. The VanU Community Fund (VCF) is available for all players experiencing financial hardship. Currently, BCSPL players receive a disproportionate amount of funding from the VCF.

Q. Does the revenue from registration for BCSPL teams at VanU go to subsidize other programs within the club? Or vice versa, do other programs subsidize the BCSPL program?

 A. All VanU programs are budgeted separately, and all are expected to cover their own costs. No program is subsidized.



Q. What does VanU do for players who would have played in the recently discontinued U13 Intake age group?

A. VanU puts together a program that mimics BCSPL to a large degree. The team is coached by qualified VanU staff coaches and the training load is the same as BCSPL. The illustration below, designed for the 2023-24 season, shows how the team begins in the spring through participation in the Cascadia Soccer League before having a full BCCSL season (playing the new 9v9 game format) before starting BCSPL as U14’s in April 2024. For players not on the Pre-PL team there are ongoing evaluations to prepare for additions to the team for when they start playing 11 a side at U14 in BCSPL. Players on these teams get the same uniforms and kit as our BCSPL teams and have the same home game game-day experience.