VANCOUVER, BC – When U SPORTS Canada West soccer hits the pitch for the 2024 season, the set-up wil look different than in recent seasons.
Having the most travel of any conference and playing an unequal amount of games, scheduling and competition format has always been a concern in Canada West, a division with 16 schools competing in women’s soccer and 13 in men’s.
On Oct. 12, Athletic Directors from member schools will vote on several scheduling options for men’s and women’s soccer, likely bringing changes to the landscape of Canada West for future seasons.
In 2023, women’s teams play 14 games, including cross-over play between the Pacific and Paririe Divisions throughout the regular season. Meanwhile, men’s teams play between 11-16 matches, including cross-over play.
The Oct. 12 vote will address various options for restructuring Canada West soccer, including the following. However, 49 Sports can report that most schools lean towards discontinuing cross-division regular season play in the women’s 14-game schedule, while men’s seasons would be brought down to 12 matches.
At the same time, the one Alberta team that shifts to the Pacific Division for women’s soccer would likely continue to do so on an alternating basis.
Primary options on the table
- Do away with cross-division travel for both men’s and women’s soccer.
- Limit the number of games in men’s soccer to 12, keeping cross-division play.
- Bring the number of games in men’s soccer to 14, discontinuing cross-division play.
One Canada West coach indicated that the women’s soccer season could also be limited to 12 games outside the three primary options. Historically, Canada West women’s soccer played 16 games.
In Canada West’s operations manual, Policy No. 8 includes the regulations for scheduling, prioritizing limiting time away from the classroom, as well as financial responsibilities from the members, and competitive balance.
Cross-division play is often a hindrance to those three options. However, there is a split between head coaches and athletic directors on the best scenario moving forward for both genders of Canada West soccer.
However, as Thursday’s vote comes through, the 2024 Canada West men’s and women’s soccer seasons are likely to look markedly different than the past regularity.