There will be a distinct British Columbia flavour to the USL Super Y-League Pacific Northwest division this year, as Vancouver Whitecaps FC and BC Soccer 'Professional Development Partner' clubs kick off the 2009 season this weekend.
Super Y-League newcomers Coquitlam Metro-Ford make their debut on Saturday, with seven matches against the experienced Abbotsford Mariners, while Okanagan WFC open the season by traveling to Coastal WFC for a seven-match set on Saturday.
On Sunday, Surrey WFC open the season, as they welcome Abbotsford for seven games. Okanagan will continue their opening season road trip, as they visit Coquitlam Metro-Ford on Sunday for match between their U-13 to U-16 Boys and Girls teams.
Mountain WFC will not begin their 2009 campaign until Saturday, May 16, when all their Girls teams travel to rivals Coastal. Mountain's Boys teams raise the curtain on their season the following week when they face Surrey.
West Coast Capitals open their 2009 season at home on May 16 when they host Coquitlam Metro-Ford.
In 2008, 13 BC-based teams advanced to the Super Y-League North American Finals in Florida. Coastal, Mountain, and Surrey all sent a combined ten teams to Florida. Five of them came from Mountain and included the U-13, U-14, U-15 and U-16 Boys, as well as the U-16 Girls. The four teams from Coastal included the U-13, U-14, U-15 and U-16 Girls, while the lone team from Surrey came in the form of their U-14 Boys team. In addition, the Abbotsford Mariners qualified three teams to the 2008 Finals in the U-14, U-15 and U-16 Boys. Mountain's U-16 Boys went on to win the Super Y-League North American title last year after a 2-0 victory over TSF Academy in the final.
This year, the Whitecaps - in conjunction with BC Soccer - announced a restructure from the Super Y-League affiliate program to a re-branded 'Professional Development Partners' program. The 2008 affiliates (Mountain WFC, Coastal WFC, and Surrey WFC), along with Abbotsford Mariners, Okanagan WFC, West Coast Capitals, and the newly-formed Coquitlam Metro-Ford, all became Professional Development Partners.
The transition from affiliate to Professional Development Partners recognizes that the participating clubs within the established district structure are independent, but partners in the overall professional development of players and the game of soccer.