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):
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.
You can now download the 2024 application form.