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Zeppieri and Cromack

Minutes Quota changed to reflect increasing opportunities for young players

By League1 Ontario staff, 02/07/24, 11:00AM EST

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Here’s our Bluffer’s Guide on the rule changes that will raise the minimum standard for young player minutes in League1 Ontario competition.

Christian Zeppieri and Charlotte Cromack

Christian Zeppieri and Charlotte Cromack were U20 stars in the 2023 L1ON season, helping secure their respective teams playoff spots.

As League1 Ontario continues to develop pathways for young players, amendments to the current Minutes Played Quota have been made ahead of the 2024 season.

The new requirements aim to maintain a high level of play on the pitch while providing more opportunities to the next generation of players to showcase their talents, with the number of minutes played by U23 and U20 players incrementally increasing season by season until 2027.

Highlights:
•    U23 players in the Men’s and Women’s Premier and Championship divisions to play at least 41 per cent of each team’s total minutes.
•    U20 quota increasing by 500 minutes in the Men’s Premier and being introduced to women’s divisions for the first time.
•    Each new division making up the pyramid in 2024 will have a quota.

What is the Minutes Quota?

The 2023 quota stated that each Men’s Premier Division club must ensure their U20 players collectively play at least 2,000 minutes across the season. There was no specific quota for the Women’s Premier Division.

There was also a rule in the Men’s Premier Division that every side must include a minimum of eight U23 players in each match day roster.

What are the changes for each division in 2024?

From next season U20 players at each Men’s Premier club must collectively complete 2,500 minutes, and 2,000 minutes at each Women’s Premier club, accounting for just over 11 per cent of the total number of minutes that will be played in each top division in 2024. In the Men’s and Women’s Championship, U20 players must account for 2,000 minutes of a team’s season.

U23 players in the Men’s Premier must collectively play 9,000 minutes, 41 per cent, of a team’s total in 2024. This quota change has eliminated the requirement of eight U23 players in the match day roster, which will now only apply for L1 Cup matches.

In the Women’s Premier, Women’s Championship, and Men’s Championship, U23 players must feature for a minimum of 7,250 minutes – again, 41 per cent of a team’s total minutes – in 2024.

League2 ‘A’ teams will follow a similar format to the divisions above with the new quota ensuring approximately 41 per cent of total minutes must be played by U23s, and 11.5 per cent played by U20s.

League2 ‘B’ teams, meanwhile, will act as a stepping stone from the exclusively U20 Reserve League, as U21 players must play 90 per cent of their team’s available minutes, with the remaining 10 per cent being used to provide game time and injury recovery opportunities for ‘A’ team players. Minutes played by U20s will count towards the U23 totals of each team.

2025 and beyond

The U20 and U23 minutes will increase each year, so by the 2027 season, collective minutes played by U20s will be 3,500 in the Men’s Premier and 2,850 in the Women’s Premier, and U23 minutes will be 10,000 and 8,000 respectively. There’s also a goal to replicate these quotas at Championship level.

“Next generation of talent”

“League1 Ontario fans can look forward to seeing more young players on the field in the coming years, and their sideline support would help to give Canada’s next generation of talent that extra boost to reach their potential,” said Chris Keem, Operations Manager at League1 Ontario.

“Young players at this level are not just battling for trophies, but for contracts with professional teams around the world. Our clubs understand this and 2023 statistics showed that U23 players received more game time than any other age demographic.

“By increasing the minimum quota to complement this trend, we are putting a greater emphasis on fielding young and motivated talent. Seeing them share the pitch with more experienced, and just as competitive, players can only make the league better for talent development and more exciting for fans.

“There’s a large dynamic of players in League1 Ontario, from up-and-coming stars to League1 Ontario stalwarts and some former professionals, and we are looking forward to seeing new and old faces taking to the field in 2024.”