With the details of the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) being announced recently, there have been many questions raised about the costs involved in participating in the League.
In the comments section of my last blog, Giovan wanted to know where the projected individual player cost of between $4000-$4500 came from. Before we carry on and look at the numbers, I need to point out that I did not complete the financial analysis that was presented at the Ontario Soccer Association’s AGM. I do not speak on behalf of the OSA, and any official questions that you have about the OPDL should be emailed to the OSA directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that the answers can be posted on the OSA website for all to see.
Now, with those formalities out of the way, let’s take a look at the cost of running an OPDL program. I will offer a lower cost for each item in the budget, as well as a higher cost. (I’ll explain more about this later.)
*NOTE – This is NOT an official budget. The numbers are based on market research, but it is important to understand that there will be considerable variance (up or down) in some of the numbers, depending on a number of factors, including what part of the province a club is located.
Let’s first outline some items that are included in the OPDL standards:
- Minimum of three technical training sessions per week (must involve ball work, so S&Q training or classroom learning does not count towards this ratio). Three 90-minute sessions per week = 4.5 hours of training per week * 46 weeks = 207 training hours per year. (There are breaks scheduled during the OPDL season, but for the sake of ease, I have used 46 weeks as the number to calculate training hours. Also, training sessions will be slightly shorter than 90-minutes as per LTPD guidelines, but for the sake of ease, I have used that number to calculate hours.)
- The club’s goalkeeper coach must attend at least 2 training sessions per week. Two 90-minute sessions per week = 3 hours of training per week * 46 weeks = 138 training hours per year.
- There are 28 OPDL games per year, plus 4 pre-season games, for a total of 32 competitive games per year. Both the Head Coach and the Goalkeeper Coach are expected to attend. Let’s allocate 2 hours of coaching time for every game. With the format of 2×35-minute halves, as it is at the U13 age category, there is still pre-game, half time and post-game coaching to be done. 32 games * 2 hours per game = 64 game hours per year.
- Because of the climate in Ontario, training must occur indoors or on outdoor artificial turf fields at certain times of the year. That will vary, depending on the location. For this example, I have used the following numbers:
- Indoor training dates from mid-January until March – 21 * 1.5 hours = 31.5 hours
- Outdoor artificial turf training dates from March until mid-May – 30 * 1.5 hours = 45 hours
- Outdoor artificial turf training dates from October until the end of November – 27 * 1.5 = 40.5 hours
- Outdoor grass training dates from mid-May until October – 60 * 1.5 = 90 hours
- I’ll allocate 1 hour of prep work for each week of training = 46 hours. (Detailed session plans must be completed for each session, which is the reason for this time allocation.)
- The total coaching hours for the Head Coach are 31.5 (indoor training) + 45 (outdoor training on turf in the spring) + 40.5 (outdoor training on turf in the fall) + 90 (outdoor training on grass) + 46 (1 hour of prep work per week) + 64 (2 hours for each of the 32 games) = 317 hours
- The total coaching hours for the Goalkeeper Coach are 138 (two 90-minute sessions per week for 46 weeks) + 64 (2 hours for each of the 32 games) = 202 hours.
|Program item||Explanation||Lower Cost||Higher Cost|
|Head Coach||- Leads every training session and game.||$25 * 317 = $7925||$50 * 317 = $15850|
|Goalkeeper Coach||- Must attend a minimum of 2 training sessions per week, as well as games.||$25 * 202 = $5050||$50 * 202 = $10100|
|Athletic Therapist||- Must be onsite for every training session.||$15 * 207 = $3105||$25 * 207 = $5175|
|Fitness Coach||- Responsible for the physical training and development of a club’s OPDL players.||$100 per player$1800 (18 players)$3600 (36 players)||$200 per player$3600 (18 players)$7200 (36 players)|
|Indoor training sessions||- 31.5 hours||$50 (gymnasium) * 31.5 hours = $1575||$360 (half-field indoor turf) * 31.5 = $11340|
|Outdoor turf training sessions||- 85.5 hours||$50 (half-field) * 85.5 hours = $4275 (full-field rental cost of $100 per hour)||$100 (half-field) * 85.5 hours = $8550 (full-field rental cost of $200 per hour)|
|Outdoor grass training sessions||- 90 hours||$10 * 90 = $900||$50 * 90 = $4500|
|Uniforms||- 2 complete sets of game uniforms||$100$1800 (18 players)$3600 (36 players)||$200$3600 (18 players)$7200 (36 players)|
|Track Suits||$80$1440 (18 players)$2880 (36 players)||$140$2520 (18 players)$5040 (36 players)|
|Bags||$15$270 (18 players)$540 (36 players)||$30$540 (18 players)$1080 (36 players)|
|Training Kit||- 2 complete sets of training kit||$80$1440 (18 players)$2880 (36 players)||$140$2520 (18 players)$5040 (36 players)|
|Coaches clothing||- 2 complete sets of training kit, 2 golf shirts, track suit, bag- Head Coach, GK coach, Assistant Coach||$250 * 3 = $750||$400 * 3 = $1200|
|Coach development||- Professional development courses for Head Coach, GK Coach, Assistant Coach||$500 * 3 = $1500||$1000 * 3 = $3000|
|Equipment||- Balls, bibs, cones, poles, ladders, water bottles, nets, etc.||$500||$1000|
|OPDL League Fee||$9000||$9000|
|OPDL Reserve League Fee||(This has not been confirmed yet, but let’s err on the side of caution and assume it is the same as the OPDL league fee.)||$9000||$9000|
|Club Administration Fee||- Covers the overhead incurred in running the club.||$50$900 (18 players)$1800 (36 players)||$100$1800 (18 players)$3600 (36 players)|
|Program||Total Cost||Cost Per Player|
|18 players (low)||$42230||$2346.11|
|18 players (high)||$84295||$4683.06|
|36 players (low)||$58880||$1635.56|
|36 players (high)||$107875||$2996.53|
As the final table indicates, there is considerable variance in the cost to run an OPDL program. In fact, there is likely even more variance that what is shown in this example, given that each municipality will have different costs for field and gym rentals, and each club will have a different approach to items such as uniforms, training kit, equipment, coach compensation and development.
In this example, the highest per player cost ($4683.06) is incurred when a club only has 18 players and chooses the higher cost for every item. The lowest per player cost ($1635.56) is incurred when a club has 36 players and chooses the lower cost for every item.
Clearly, there is significant benefit for a club to have 36 players in its OPDL program. First (and most important, in my opinion), is that it gives more players the opportunity to participate in the OPDL, under the development of a nationally licensed coach. Second, there are considerable cost savings per player, as many of the fixed costs do not change and can be spread out over more players. There are some cost increases that I didn’t account for (field sizes, for example) because this was put together fairly quickly, but it gives you a fairly accurate estimate.
There are countless variables that each club needs to take into consideration when putting together a budget for an OPDL program, and this is by no means a complete or thorough example. Any responsible club will put far more time and research into developing the budget for their OPDL program than I have put into this example.
Again, do not take this as an official OPDL budget. It isn’t. It simply illustrates that there are many ways to reduce the cost per player to participate in the OPDL.