Youth soccer club merger poised for next season

After years of speculation and even some preliminary attempts, the merger of all three local youth soccer clubs cleared a significant hurdle Monday night.

A vote for the Ladner Boys, Ladner Girls and Tsawwassen Soccer Clubs to come together and become South Delta United overwhelming passed, setting the stage for the unified organization to be up and running in time for the 2016-17 season.

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The merger would leave baseball as the only sport still being run separately in Ladner and Tsawwassen.

There has been plenty of discussion over the past two decades or so of the three soccer clubs coming together. However, it's only been in recent years where steps have been taken to make it a reality.

The Ladner clubs and Tsawwassen already have a partnership at the rep level, with the boys currently featuring South Delta United teams at the Division One and Two levels from U13 to U15. The groups have also worked together on special projects, including the the new turf facility and soccer clubhouse at Dugald Morrison Park. With the three club executives all on the same page, the merger discussions have made steady progress, leading up to Monday's vote.

The clubs have agreed that all three presidents will continue on to lead the merger - filling the roles of president and vice-president(s) on the South Delta United executive.

A new logo and uniform colours are expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

While rep teams will be a combination of Tsawwassen and Ladner players, House level teams are expected to continue to run within their own community. Current teams will also be "grandfathered" through the process as well.

South Delta United will follow the Canadian Soccer Association's Long Term Player Development model.

Current Tsawwassen technical director (TD) Mark Rogers will continue in the same position with the new club, while Ladner Boys and Girls TD Russ Heggie will serve as Head Coach. The remaining technical support with the three clubs are expected to round out the new staff.

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