The Okanagan Premier League is expanding in its second year.
In its inaugural season, the league had nine teams in a single competitive division. In the upcoming season, league founder Brandon McCallum hopes to add another two divisions with a second men’s division and a co-ed division, broadening the league to almost 25 teams.
“Expanding the league is important because the Okanagan deserves a high-level, proper football league on a great (indoor) surface,” said McCallum.
“It’s for all those who play. From high-level youth players to the older generations who sill enjoy the competitive aspect of the game.”
The 14-16 game season will run from October to March. McCallum hopes that the expanded amounts of teams involved with get committed teams and players from Lake Country, Vernon and Penticton.
Players from UBC Okanagan, Kelowna United and both Okanagan FC and Penticton Pinnacles (who play in the Pacific Coast Soccer League) already have players that compete in the OPL as a way to stay focused and fit through the winter.
“It’s incredibly important to have a platform for indoor play year-round,” said Okanagan FC head coach Andrew Stevenson.
“With the short competitive season in the Okanagan through summer, having this indoor league which allows players to improve and play all year is only a benefit to the overall soccer levels in Kelowna.”
Other than organizing the league to provide a year-round opportunity for players, McCallum likes being involved in the growing Okanagan soccer community.
“I enjoy the management side of things and getting to know all the players,” he said.
“Players who play here and all over the country need higher level (indoor) leagues like this. Playing on gym floors in the winter doesn’t translate well into the next outdoor season. We’re fortunate enough to have these indoor facilities to take advantage of here in Kelowna.”
The OPL has also partnered with community businesses to help the continued growth of the league. Freddy’s Brewpub in Rutland has been tagged as one of the league’s main sponsor.
The Okanagan Premier League starts Oct. 14 with all games being held at the Rutland sports dome.
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