Ontario Soccer Does Away With Scores And Standings For Youth

If you’re used to cheering for your child to win in their youth soccer games every summer, you’ll have to keep score in your head this year.

The Ontario Soccer Association announced that youth soccer, for those under the age of 12, at both the travel and house league levels, will no longer keep score during games, nor have league standings.

The decision was made as a part of Canada’s Long Term Player Development (LTPD) plan, which focuses on skill development for all players, while diminishing the focus on winning.

Ontario Soccer Association Chief Technical Officer Alex Chiet, called the LTPD movement, “a culture shift that will re-shape how we deliver soccer to youngsters in every corner of the province for years to come,” in a recent release.

While some soccer associations across Ontario started implementing the new Long Term Player Development directive over the past few years, the change will become mandatory as of 2014, leaving this as the last possible summer for Chatham-Kent teams and leagues to make the shift away from score keeping and standings.

The changes in Ontario, are a direct results of a Canadian Soccer Association initiative entitled “Wellness to World Cup Long Term Player Development” model, in which the CSA states, “By ensuring fun playing experiences for children, a suitable player development pathway for youth, and opportunities for lifelong participation for all players regardless of age, gender, ability or disability, LTPD provides a framework for the growth and success of the beautiful game in Canada.”

Have Your Say: Are you upset by this recent decision? Do you think it’s a good idea? Have your say! Leave comments below or email your remarks or an editorial to ian@cksn.ca to help us with our follow up coverage.

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  • comment-avatar
    Stacey Boyes 5 years

    I feel society is removing a lot of the chances we as parents have to teach our children valuable life skills such as learning to be a good sport. This new decision will not help our kids to be gracious winners and losers. So much for hard work paying off. We are telling them that it doesn’t matter what kind of effort you put in the result will be the same. This is not the reality of life. Without some sort of measurement of success what is going to motivate our kids to work hard to improve their skills? I think the whole “everyone is equal” movement is setting our kids up for a rude awakening in the real world. Shouldn’t we be instead teaching them that you get what you put in? Just this mama’s opinion as I am trying to prepare my children for life.

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      Soccer Dad 5 years

      Stacey, I cannot agree more. They are thinking of implementing the same structure in Calgary for U12 and we are being surveyed on it right now. I have three kids that play soccer in U10, U12 and to U18. I am a parent, coach and club official and have been for 12+ years. I also played sports as a child (still today) and you need not remove scoring from the game. For the kids that do not care about the score they will not care about the score until they are ready to. I had kids this year that were like that on my U10 team, it doesn’t mean they never knew what the score was, they just didn’t care. I also had kids that knew what the score was and who scored in a game. So people don’t kid yourself if you think by removing it these kids will not know what’s going on. I think the real issue is the parents and coaches with certain teams/clubs that drive this. When they register teams at these younger ages in lower divisions to win rather than excel, this is the true issue and I see it all the time. The parents and coaches in these cases are more worried about having their medals at the end of the season (stop living through your kids on what you couldn’t accomplish). We as clubs need to do a better job at filtering these scenarios out. There is nothing wrong with losing in life because that is what happens. It is learning how to be a good winner and loser in life that will show true character when the kids become adults. I guess I should go into my boss’s office this afternoon and let him know I am not participating in employee reviews this year in a grading way unless I know I am getting all 5’s because of how it will make me feel. Yeah I am sure that will go over well.

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        James M 5 years

        Doesn’t matter if the leagues keep the score or not, the parents and coaches will always know. They seem to find thier way to some sports forum that is keeping track of it. I like the idea but I also live in the real world. And they real world is cruel and mean. So why not learn early how to deal with losing, and winning for that matter.

    • comment-avatar
      What 5 years

      That’s 100% what this doesn’t do. Have you bothered to read the LTPD information? The CSA would rather have Canadians be successful in soccer on a competitive stage in international tournaments as opposed to having little Johnny and Jane win there Under 9 trophy in Chatham.

      • comment-avatar
        Maxine Watt 5 years

        Little Johnny and Jane don’t want to win the world cup…they want to have fun and win their Under 9 trophy in Chatham….

        • comment-avatar
          What 5 years

          Then go and start a league that isn’t sanctioned by the OSA or CSA? We need more then 1.

          • comment-avatar
            GREG 4 years

            That would be fantastic, if it were realistic. In order for that to work, the majority of Ontario clubs would have to leave the OSA and join the new organization. Clubs have tried in the past and were bullied by the OSA, stating that any club that plays with a non-OSA sanctioned club would be fined. This makes it almost impossible to start a new orgaization as clubs don’t want to thake the chance that the new orgaization doesn’t take off and they have to go back to the OSA and face multiple fines.

  • comment-avatar
    Bob Springate 5 years

    I’ll give this uneducated decision one season to live. Then listen to the kids who’ll say “leave our game alone- it’s been around for over 200 years and is just fine. Needs tweeking here and there, but no major surgery!”

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      MH 5 years

      Every person that has commented here (with the exception of ‘What’ on March 19) has completely missed the point of what’s going on here. This move has nothing to do with preserving kids feelings and sheltering them from the big bad world with an everyone is equal approach. It is about developing better soccer players.

      They are removing scores and standings so coaches and parents don’t focus on their kids winning a game, they focus on their kids GETTING BETTER AT SOCCER. An example would be when you have one player on the team who is bigger and faster than everyone else, and coach says to everyone, ‘just kick it long and Johnny will do the rest’. They go undefeated and win their league. Yay! The problem is, no one knows how to play soccer. They either know how to boot the ball long, or they know how to run really fast to get to the ball. So next year they move up an age group. Now Johnny isn’t bigger or faster than everyone. But you have no plan B because all you have taught your is boot and run. Without scores and standings, players are encouraged to try new things, experiment, TRY AND FAIL, which is just as valuable a lesson as you’re talking about with winning and losing.

      Kids absolutely need to be exposed to real life, and winning and losing is part of that. But this move has absolutely nothing to do with that. Get them supporting PROFESSIONAL sports teams to experience that. Let their soccer time focus on them becoming better soccer players.

      • comment-avatar
        What 5 years


        I think these comments just go to show that people view soccer as some sort of insignificant sport that keeps kids fit between the hockey seasons.

      • comment-avatar
        Soccer Dad 5 years

        My comments come from being a coach and what I have seen on the field over the last 12+ years of being involved in this all of levels of Soccer. I also sit on the board of our club; I coach BU10 Tier C, GU12 Tier 6, BU12 Tier 4 an, just finished coaching BU18 Tier 2 soccer. I don’t have all the answers but try to make sure I do the right things as I see them. I have also taken my soccer courses that are required. My number one goal is to have fun while working on the fundamentals of soccer at all ages not just the younger ones, they can always learn something.

        I don’t think that I am missing the point and yes I have read the info, I just don’t agree with it and do not think it is the answer; removing scoring may or may not help player development. MH you said it yourself, “They are removing scores and standings so coaches and parents don’t focus on their kids winning a game, they focus on their kids GETTING BETTER AT SOCCER”. This is really what the reason is in a nut shell. Do you think if a parent or coach has that mentality it will change when the score is not there? I do not think anything will change with some individuals. We need to work with our coaches and parents to make sure they are doing the right things. How can you improve player development if we do not give the coaches the tools to be better? I feel the scores need to be there; it is my job as a coach, to teach the kids these skills, development the players and how to be good winners and losers along the way. If that is not happening with the team your child is on step up get the training and you coach. Remove that coach (bad seed) that is only out there to win. Not sure how you remove parents, wait that’s also my job as a coach to reinforce that with the parents and make sure they know my goals at the start of the season and talk to them along the way if things go sideways.

        I have two scenarios for you and I want you to be the judge. If the score were not posted would it have changed the outcome, maybe or maybe not? I was in the moment with these two and I don’t think so.
        1. With my U10 team, my kids cycled on a regular basis and got the same amount of playing time, switching my goalie at half time as well. The other coach played his star players for probably 80% of the game. Score was 3 -3 at the end, my boys were stoked because they played so well as a group and he had kids leaving the field crying because they did not get to play. Did this happened because the score was posted or because of his coaching abilities and how he acted as a coach. Would it have been different if the score was not posted my guess in this situation is no. At U10, we show a 1 goal differential and the standings which really do not matter because we all play each other again in a playoff format.
        2. With the Girls U12 team, I only had 11 girls on the team so we had to make quick changes to keep them rested. The other team had 16 players and probably half the girls played 80% of the game where one of their superstars (Jane as you would call her) played almost 100% of the game. We won 4 -2 and their coach would not come off the bench and shake my players hand or my coaching staff after the game. Is this again a result of what scoring does or would a coach like this be this way regardless of a score being kept. This was Tier 6 where the standings again really didn’t have any bearing because we all played the same teams come playoff time.

        When you mention being competitive on an international stage. I would just like to point out that Canada has one of the strongest programs for Hockey in the world. The do not keep stats below 9 years of age but then do above. They also have a solid structure in place to be a coach. I am not sure if that is a valid argument if you are using that as a comparison.

      • comment-avatar
        Denise 1 year

        I have a son that is 10 and he is that kid johnny that everyone will kick it long to.
        And even though they don’t keep score anymore they still play to win and they still kick the ball to Johnny. They need to learn to lose and they need to learn to win. You’ll always have kids that are better and if you want to teach them the skill of the game and how to play soccer then join skills and drills leagues or groups.
        But when it comes to games we want to play and whether were first place or last place it’s fun to lose and win. And if they lose it gives them motivation to try harder next season to lift that first place trophy up.
        And it’s always fun to see the under dof kick out the top teams in the playoffs Exspecially at this age level
        U7 and under no scored needed but u12 that’s ridiculous

  • comment-avatar
    Soccer Dad 5 years

    Here is a response from CMSA executive director Daryl Leinweber from Calgary regarding the no scoring. There was a 86% rejection out of Calgary and 99% rejection out of Edmonton.

    Have a read and to what our director has to say about it. Sounds like we should be focusing on parents and coaches before removing the scores.


    • comment-avatar
      What 5 years

      Sorry SD, but why are you posting responses from Alberta?
      Surely you could find some people against from in Ontario?
      You should also look into the ongoing struggles the CSA and Alberta have with each-other.

      Also, everything in that article, I’ve already ready before, but to his credit at least its not the coddling argument.

      • comment-avatar
        Soccer Dad 5 years

        Why am I posting from Alberta, because I wanted to see what the opinions are from our other provinces on this matter, this does not mean you are right because Ontario is going this way, or I am right because Alberta is going the other way. The decisions were made way above our pay grade
        Your words “The CSA would rather have Canadians be successful in soccer on a competitive stage in international tournaments as opposed to having little Johnny and Jane win there Under 9 trophy in Chatham.”
        Your right the key is for Canadians being successful and we need to work to the same goals as a collective group, not just by province and that is what we are getting.
        I would really like to know how green that grass is on the international stage when a European club like FC Barcelona takes on a certain player at the age of 11, pays for his medical bills with the understanding he would sign with that club, they did not see something that they wanted a winner. Didn’t they also sign Messi kid at 6 days old out of Argentina? Yeah you sign a kid 6 days old and hope he has half the talent of this dad.
        I think you are just missing what I am trying to say. Personally I could care less about the scoring myself and it comes down to player development with what I do. I would love to see where this sits in 5 to 10 years and see if just by removing scoring, than all the issues will be fixed.
        The life time player and coach in me say there are clubs, coaches and parents that need to be fixed before any of this will be fixed.
        And you are right; there are issues between CSA and ASA. Again, I have my own opinions on why that is. I have been posting the same comments in Alberta back and forth with individuals.
        At the end of the day, I just want to see the good for the kids no matter how we get there.
        I will leave your Ontario forum now and head back to mine in Alberta….. Good Luck and I hope it works out for the kids.

        • comment-avatar
          What 5 years

          Ooooh, I see why you posted the Albertan article. I think we share the same common goal.

          By the way, I didn’t mean to put this as an “Ontario forum”… I just assumed because it is such a local forum I was surprised someone from Alberta was commenting in it.

  • comment-avatar
    LN 4 years

    From someone who has played soccer since I could say soccer… This decision is very disappointing. I was part of the first girls travel team, and we had to practice, play hard , and work as a team to compete against high level teams to prove we could play their level. So winning & losing had to happen, and taught us all to accept both. Why? Because we had the coaches and refs that were experienced and trained to teach us. So taking scoring away from soccer does nothing! You need to take away the coaches that aren’t teaching the true game of soccer ! You don’t think that the score will be kept no matter what?? From a goalie of over 15yrs… I knew exactly what the score was every second. And let me tell you, we were good winners and losers, cause we were coached right! Let the game if soccer be! We have already lost fields in Chatham, don’t take anything else away! From a mother looking forward to her daughter playing for the first time next year… Leave the game alone. A lot of great soccer players have come from Chatham , and I can see this new game changer forcing kids out of the game. Keeping score is part if life and sports in general.

  • comment-avatar
    Ryan Formosa 4 years

    This is the most rediculous thing I have read. I am a coach in a different sport and we too have this LTAD or LTPD in place, somethings in my sports LTAD I agree with and others I don’t. Removing scores and standings in no way will develop positive athlete development. If scores are not kept than what becomes the purpose of the game? Why is Johnny or Jane gonna bust their butt to make a play, when it won’t change anything. This is a sport a game, games are meant to be won or lost. Celebrate your wins learn from your losses. Losing is part of developing. Progress comes from losing, learn from your mistakes and adjust your game. If you never have to adjust, you will just carry on with you what you are doing whether or not is the best way or not. Imagine what our kids would be like if our educational school board took this approach. Grade 7 or Grade 6 and under will write tests but they will not be marked. Everyone receives 100%. Hate to see what these students development would be when they reach the grade level that gets marked. Tests are put in place to determine students progress, the areas they are strong at as well as the areas they are weak at. Therefore establishing areas that need more focus. Sports are the same way, scores, standings are the “tests” without them there would be no way to monitor progress or development

  • comment-avatar

    This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. I am a teen that has played soccer my entire life and if I was effected with this dumb “no keeping score” crap, I would not want to play anymore. Winning and losing are apart of the game and people need to accept that. Who came up with this new rule anyway! Obviously they haven’t played a sport before in their life to understand what they are taking away from the game.

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    Phil 2 years

    This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. At U12 they can’t keep score, but at U13 they are expected to play OPDL and compete up and down the province every weekend. Seems like one extreme to the other. Ontario soccer goes out of its way to be different than any other sport in Ontario. Ontario soccer is the “only” sport in Ontario that does not keep scores….I guess everyone else is wrong. Why do you call it competitive soccer if you won’t let them compete. If you didn’t want them to keep score, you shouldn’t have taught them how to count. Be real, they know who win’s and loses. Lets just all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

  • comment-avatar
    Bill 1 year

    Now they have snuk the no score garbage into the u13 OPDL . Lets follow the Hockey system that has made us the envey of the world you need to play with hart [to win] to be the best, all the no score system does is breed medeocrity and takes the fun away from the better players . We will end up with a bunch of kids that don’t care and would just as soon be playing at the park no need for leagues. And what fun can it be for the kids that are on teams with no stars and no chance to win , the whole no score system is sad .