A game between the North Fraser Selects and the Victoria Capitals in December. The Pitt Meadows and Golden Ears United soccer clubs have banded together with three other clubs to bid to become one of the teams in the B.C. Soccer Associations high performance leagues.

A game between the North Fraser Selects and the Victoria Capitals in December. The Pitt Meadows and Golden Ears United soccer clubs have banded together with three other clubs to bid to become one of the teams in the B.C. Soccer Associations high performance leagues.

Pitt Meadows, Golden Ears soccer clubs gain support

A joint bid by the Pitt Meadows and Golden Ears United soccer clubs to form an elite level partnership is being supported by three other minor soccer organizations.

A joint bid by the Pitt Meadows and Golden Ears United soccer clubs to form an elite level partnership is being supported by three other minor soccer organizations.

The B.C. Soccer Association is in the midst of establishing eight-team high-performance leagues for boys and girls with players not restricted by boundaries. The new elite infrastructure would replace the current one in the numerous associations across Greater Vancouver, which have select squads with rules on who can play for which team.

The BCSA has determined one club is to be based in the Interior, another on Vancouver Island and six in the Lower Mainland. Pitt Meadows and Golden Ears soccer clubs have submitted a joint bid and have received the backing of the Mission United, Central City Breakers (Surrey) and North Coquitlam soccer clubs.

“With these other three clubs we have a symbiotic relationship in how we develop players. We’re all up-and-coming clubs, we all see bright futures for ourselves,” said Nick Pollard, vice-president of the Pitt Meadows Soccer Club.

On its website, the BCSA lists nine proposals for the six Lower Mainland franchises. North Shore/Burnaby and Vancouver/Richmond have formed natural alliances that appear to be unopposed geographically. North of the Fraser includes the Pitt Meadows/Golden Ears’ Alouette District bid, as well as Coquitlam Metro-Ford

On the other side of the river, proposals have come from South Fraser, Sportstown FC, Surrey United, SurDel Pegasus and Abbotsford/Chilliwack.

“We see Ridge-Meadows as the centre of a soccer wheel encompassing Mission, Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Langley, Surrey and the Tri-Cities area,” Kevin Fletcher of Golden Ears United said in a press release.

The Golden Ears Bridge and David Connector, said the release, has increased the accessibility so that the access from all those municipalities are only 20 minutes or less away.

Pollock said Pitt Meadows, Golden Ears, North Coquitlam, Mission and Central City have a combined 10,000 kids playing soccer in their clubs – Pitt Meadow’s membership has increased by 40 per cent in the last five years – from which the Alouette District team could draw upon. Coquitlam Metro-Ford, he said, has 6,000 to 8,000 minor soccer players.

“Coquitlam Metro-Ford runs an exceptionally professional club and has the history and infrastructure to make a good bid,” said Pollock.

The Alouette District bid, he said, wasn’t considered a favourite when it was first announced but with the addition of the three new clubs others are taking notice. “Our bid has taken some people by surprise.”

If the BCSA gives the go-ahead to Pitt Meadows/Golden Ears – a decision is expected to be announced Feb. 15 – the club will be based at Pitt Meadows Athletic Park, which has four artificial turf fields as well as change rooms. Other games may be played at Pitt Meadows secondary, where there are stands to accommodate crowds for big games, as well as Newton Athletic Park in Surrey and Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam. Having those type of facilities available and strong coaching makes their bid a strong one, said Pollock.

The BCSA is hoping the formation of the elite leagues will lead to better development of players to a higher level to increase the amount of B.C. kids going on to play collegiate and professional soccer.

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