Richmond FC has become the first community club in the province to be awarded a new certification designed to enhance the sport of soccer in B.C.
Last week, BC Soccer announced that Richmond FC was the first of its members to achieve the organization’s new Club Charter Standard 1 designation, which is said to be a rigorous process assessing the club’s technical, governance and administrative departments.
By achieving the new standard, Richmond FC, according to BC Soccer, now provides players, parents, coaches and referees the “assurance that (it) operates within a high level…all while providing a more supportive environment for players to develop.”
“It took a lot of work,” said Rein Weber, Richmond FC chair, adding that, as far as he’s aware, Richmond was well ahead of other clubs chasing the same certification.
“Some of it was governance and everyone had to have their checks done, their coaching certificates and the technical side of things had to be right.
“What BC Soccer is trying to do is create a uniformed standard. This gives us credibility and parents are safe in the knowledge that everything is in place.
“Technically, we’re now in a good place to deliver long-term programming for the kids.”
Weber said club staff and volunteers have put in countless hours since last September to meet and surpass BC Soccer’s guidelines for the new gold standard for community clubs.
“We took this on as a priority last year and everyone has worked so hard for this to make sure everything was right. We really wanted to be at the forefront of this push,” he said.
“We had visits from BC Soccer, watching us delivering the programs and going through all our paperwork.
“Our goal is to have 80 per cent of the coaches have the correct certification, all the way from house to metro.
“We’re almost there now and we’re also fine-tuning a mentorship program, whereby the more senior coaches and volunteers can help the younger or less experienced ones.”
Weber added that, other than the fact the certification “gives the parents the comfort levels that we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” from a player perspective, “it lets them know that they’re going to be trained in the right way.
“They’ll be given every opportunity to develop, and if they want to go on a higher path, they can.
“We want to make sure that everyone learns soccer and learns to love the game.
“(The certification also) gives us credibility and cache, to a certain extent.”
Weber said achieving the new standard might also help fulfill one of the club’s ambitions; to host the National A Championships.
“With a bit of development of facilities, such as the Boyd clubhouse, I think we would be able to do that,” he said.
“BC Soccer might get behind something like that, now that we have this certification.”
“Richmond FC worked closely with BC Soccer staff and have shown their dedication to having all their coaches properly trained while also working hard to meet all of the other technical, governance and administrative standards outlined. Congratulations Richmond Youth Soccer Association,” said Chris Cerroni, BC Soccer’s director of soccer development, in a press release.
Richmond FC has more than 1,200 youth players at its club, with more than 50 coaches and hundreds of volunteers.
BC Soccer said the new Club Charter will “further enhance the game across B.C. and provide clubs with the direction and support they need to continue to build and develop their programming, providing a platform for coach, referee, and parent education, with the ultimate goal of putting the development needs of the players first.”
Currently, there are more than 50 clubs from around the province that have opted into BC Soccer’s Club Charter program and are working toward achieving Standard 1.
Richmond FC and all other clubs who achieve Standard 1 will have to uphold such standards moving forward and those clubs will also have the opportunity to apply for the BC Soccer Club Charter Standard 2, once released later in 2017.