November Member and Family Update

 November 6, 2013

Dear OPL Members and Families:

We’d like to thank you for your support over the past few years, and especially during the current fall season, as you’ve helped the Oregon Premier League become the most successful youth athletic league in Oregon.  The OPL currently serves over 500 boys and girls youth soccer teams in our leagues from U11 through U18 age groups.  When you add all of our member clubs, and include their competitive and recreational programs, we represent a staggering number of boys and girls youth soccer players and their families across the state of Oregon and southwest Washington.

Recently the Oregon Youth Soccer Association and the Portland Timbers announced a partnership to start up yet another youth soccer league in Oregon.  Until now, we have done our best to stay out of the public news, choosing instead to continue to work behind the scenes in meetings with both OYSA and the Timbers, to attempt to keep youth soccer in Oregon unified in one league.  However we are regretfully coming to the realization that OYSA and the Timbers are not going to accept our repeated offers to continue to work together, and we believe that it’s important that you become aware of what’s really happening.

The OPL was conceived and formed by eight clubs that believed in three fundamental principles: 

1 – Decisions about playing soccer should be made by local soccer coaches, not by administrators

2 – All youth soccer clubs should be treated equally and fairly, and should be given autonomy to operate as they see fit

3 – The costs of youth soccer should be managed and controlled, to prevent them from spiraling out of control

We have held firm to these principles as we organize and operate the OPL leagues and tournaments, and continue to hold firm to them during our discussions with OYSA and the Timbers.  And during these discussions, the OPL has continued to attempt to keep youth soccer under a unified environment, including proposing an ongoing co-operative relationship between all three organizations.  Indeed, we believe the Timbers, OYSA, and OPL each bring value to youth soccer that benefits players, families, and member clubs, and we can see (and have proposed) an environment where all three organizations can combine their resources to provide an excellent youth soccer experience for all.  However, there are two issues that continue to thwart our attempts at continued partnership.

The OPL remains committed that all youth soccer clubs, and youth soccer players, should be treated equally and fairly.  As a condition to continuing to work together, the OPL has requested the Timbers commit to treating all youth soccer clubs (and their players and families) equally and fairly.  They have refused, and continue to offer special consideration to the Timbers alliance clubs, including (but not limited to) recruiting on their behalf at very young ages.  Many OPL member clubs have reported that Timbers representatives routinely tell young soccer players that in order to be selected to the Timbers academy program, a player must first play for a Timbers alliance club.  The Timbers organization refuses to police such recruiting.  (In case you’re wondering, many players from non-alliance clubs are actually offered roster spots on the Timbers Academy teams every year.)  However, the OPL does its best to treat every club, team, and player fairly, and definitely stands against youth player recruiting.

The second issue is based on a fundamental difference in principle with respect to the costs of youth soccer.  Every dollar paid by clubs and players to the OPL is used on behalf of those clubs and players.  And the OPL has requested that the Timbers make the same commitment.  Again the Timbers have refused.  Their real interest in running youth soccer in Oregon and southwest Washington is continuing to tax every player to help pay for their costs of running and operating their academy teams.  This means the majority of youth soccer families (like you) will be unknowingly subsidizing the costs of the 50 elite youth boys soccer players selected to the Timbers U18 and U16 academy teams. While some elite player subsidy is inevitable, we are fundamentally opposed to taxing our membership to pay for the Timbers academy coaching salaries and academy team travel costs.

This fundamental difference in principle is a major cause of the current divide between the organizations.  Last year, the OPL indeed agreed to pay $60,000 (annually) of your registration fees to the Timbers, who would use these dollars to help pay for their academy coaching salaries.  The Timbers promised in return to provide a comprehensive youth competitive and recreational coaching training curriculum, made available to all OPL member clubs.  At the time this exchange seemed reasonable.  However the training never materialized, and the $60,000 evolved into a pure subsidy of the Timbers two academy teams.  In July of 2013, the OPL notified the Timbers of the interest to re-negotiate a partnership, and the intent to respectfully opt out of the $60,000 annual subsidy.

Don’t worry, the OPL clubs continue to support the Timbers organization by endorsing their camps and clinics, providing local fields and facilities for them, and encouraging OPL players and families to participate (and pay for them).  Your Timbers camps and clinics dollars are also being used to subsidize Timbers academy coaching salaries and travel costs, but you can attend these camps and clinics at your option, and the Timbers coaches and players are providing you value for these services.

With this in mind, the OPL is committed to continuing to provide high quality youth soccer leagues, tournaments, and programs, while keeping costs as low as possible for our member clubs and players.  Please see below for a comparison of costs between your options for youth soccer this winter and spring.  All numbers are based on the most recent published data. 


Team League Fees

Oregon Premier League


Fall 2013 (12 – 14 games)

$700 - $800


Winter 2014 (10 games)



Spring 2014 (8 games)




Team Tournament Fees

Oregon Premier League


Fall 2013 (U10 – U14)

$275 (U10) / $450 (U11-14)


Winter 2014 (U15 – U18)



Spring 2014 (State Cup)




Player Registration Fees

Oregon Premier League


U9 – U11



U12 – U18




$15 (two years)


 You’ll notice that our team registration fees for the Winter 2014 league have been reduced, as they were for the Fall 2013 league.  The OPL will continue to run high-quality leagues as efficiently as possible, will spend every dollar on products and services for its member clubs, and will offer reduced pricing to keep the costs down for each member club.  If we can reduce our costs, we will return them to you in the form of lower fees.

What does this mean to your club?  If you belong to a small club with five U15 – U18 teams that plan to play in the winter 2014 league and the HS Directors Cup tournament, your club will save $1250.  If you belong to a large club with ten U15 – U18 teams that plan to play in the winter 2014 league and State Cup, your club will save $2500.  Now if you double those numbers for the spring and fall leagues, your club will be able to spend less of their dollars on registration fees, and more on programs and player development.

We are excited that the majority of our member clubs not only remain committed to participating in the OPL leagues, tournaments, and programs, but are also experiencing phenomenal growth, continued development, and ever-increasing competitive success at regional and national tournaments.  Congratulations to all of our member clubs including Albany FC, Aloha United, Azul FC, BSC Hood River, BSC Newberg, BSC Portland, Canby United, Clackamas United SC, Corvallis United, Crossfire Oregon, FC Portland Academy, Foothills SC, Hillsboro SC, Lake Oswego SC, Molalla Youth Soccer, NorthEast United, Oregon City SC, Oregon Soccer Academy, Pacific FC, River Plate SC, FC Salmon Creek, Santos FC, SouthEast SC, Southside SC, THUSC, TFA Barcelona, Thelo United, United SA, Valley FC, Willamette United SC, Woodburn Athletic, and more.

Looking at the big picture, it is quite impressive to see clubs in the Oregon Premier League flourishing, from the smallest to the biggest, with the freedom to experiment with new ideas in player development and club management, determining what best suits their club in their unique situations.  We are proud to continue our support of these clubs and looking forward to continue serving youth soccer in Oregon. 


Angela Harrison

Director of Operations

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