Ontario Women's Soccer League

Proposed Rule Addition & Rationale

Proposed Rule Addition & Rationale

OWSL Rules & Regulations under Rule 7 – Player Eligibility

7.6 Players being registered or remaining registered in any League 1 Canada league/division after May 31 of the playing season, are not eligible to play with any OWSL team for the remainder of that season or in league cup games.

Background on Requested Rule Addition

In 2022, several OWSL teams loaded up on League 1 Ontario (L1O) players prior to the July 31 transfer deadline.  Each player was eligible to play in OWSL league games and Ontario Cup thereafter. L1O season ends on or about the 3rd week of July.  Ontario Soccer elected to change player eligibility following the 2022 Ontario Cup to exclude all L1O, L1O Reserve and PLSQ players that had registered to any such Pro/Am team during the current calendar year.  For 2023, the Ontario Cup Competition Rules included this ineligibility clause under rule 6.2 h).  

The intent of the rule is excellent, however, the carte blanche application needs to be examined with two team case studies illustrating the consideration to apply a deadline for Pro/Am player transfer date (May 31):

  • Team A (OWSL Provincial) accepted transfers for Player 1 (May 17) & Player 2 (May 28).  Player 1 from Simcoe County Rovers L1O having played 1 minute in 1 game prior to transfer and Player 2 from Woodbridge Strikers L1O having played 280 minutes in 5 games prior to transfer.  Each played out the season with Team A but both were deemed ineligible for Ontario Cup due to rule 6.2 h).  Each was eligible for the Jubilee Cup (Nationals) and so too would each have been eligible for the Women's 30+ Masters had Team A entered the competition.  
  • Team B (OWSL Provincial) accepted transfers between July 22 (L1O season end) and July 31 (transfer deadline), for five players: Player 1 from Electric City L10 (16 games 1,279 minutes), Player 2 from Electric City L1O (15 games 794 minutes), Player 3 from BVB IA Waterloo L10 (18 games 1,531 minutes), Player 4 from Electric City L1O (16 games 1,054 minutes) and Player 5 from Guelph Union L1O (18 games 1,490 minutes).  Team B ultimately withdrew from the semi-finals of the Ontario Cup Women's Division...electing to instead focus on the 30+ Master’s where L1O players are deemed eligible.  

There is a difference between providing an opportunity with an OWSL team to any L1O player that has had a poor experience, and this should be known by at least May 31...vs... loading up on L1O players after each has played a full L1O season but meets the transfer window of July 31st.  

Ultimately, the OWSL is seeking uniformity in the player eligibility rule to include OWSL League or Cup play, OS Ontario Cup, CS Nationals (Jubilee) and OS 30+ Masters.  It would be desirable that any League 1 Canada team include any such clause in their player contracts.

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