Sports

Both Langley soccer associations now open to all

The Langley United Youth Soccer Association and Langley FC are now fully open to the opposite genders.

The two local soccer associations were granted approval to do so at a Central Fraser Valley Soccer Association board meeting last week (Nov. 28).

Previously, the Langley United had boys' teams — although they did have female players — while Langley FC was exclusively for girls.

"It is long overdue," said Brad Nicholl, chairman of the Central Fraser Valley House League.

"All clubs should offer both boys and girls soccer.

"The game is all the same."

There was talk of Langley United and Langley FC partnering together, but when an agreement could not be reached, the association's went in separate directions.

This season, Langley United has roughly 1,900 registered players — about 200 of those females — while Langley FC has close to 1,100.

Both associations will now offer separate boys and girls soccer from the U5 to U18 levels.

The changes take affect for the soccer season beginning in September.

"This is a great day for Langley United and the community of Langley as we have been wanting to offer full choice to the parents of Langley girls for some time," said Langley United president Betty Boucas.

"This is very important for us," said Cindy Andal, president of Langley FC.

"It is the way all the leagues are going now," she said, referring to the fact most soccer associations are open to both genders.

"Everyone is pretty much combined."

"It is a great opportunity for us to have the chance to work with the boys," said Shaun Mason, Langley FC's technical director.

"It is something that we have been working for for a long time," said Mark Parker, the Langley United technical director.

"From a club perspective, it is just one of the next steps in our quest to become a leader in British Columbia in terms of soccer.

"It is a step I think we needed."

Langley United is hoping to land a franchise in the new EA Sports B.C. Premier Soccer League, which begins play in March.

The new league features top talent, boys and girls, between the U13 and U18 levels.

Part of the requirement to get into the league is that the associations field both boys and girls soccer clubs.

Langley FC has already partnered with Abbotsford's Magnuson Ford FC, a boys' only club, to play in the league.

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