Kelowna United Football Club (KU), the premiere select soccer organization in the Okanagan, and Thompson Okanagan Football Club (TOFC), a founding member and the only BC Soccer Premier League licence holder in Interior BC, have announced plans to merge the two organizations. This comes on the back of the prior KU announcement to merge with the Okanagan Mission Youth Soccer Association (OMYSA).
The combination of these organizations will form a powerhouse of youth soccer to rival major clubs in the Lower Mainland. Players and coaches will be able to participate at all grass roots levels - from house soccer as a 4-year-old, to select soccer at the B or A cup level, to the BCSPL level, through to adult soccer. All will be supported by: (i) a technical board and coaching staff unrivalled in the region, (ii) a strong, unified board, (iii) two state-of-the-art soccer domes, and (iv) valuable connections to professional football and university level soccer. The ultimate entity will also have the financial stability to deliver an unparalleled range of programming for the region.
This exciting development creates a true regional pyramid and has become necessary, in part, because of the changing landscape and governance of soccer in Canada. Otto Lohn, Board President of KU, explains, “rather than stand-by and let the shifting landscape negatively affect standards, we have taken the opportunity presented by BC Soccer to reinvent ourselves in a positive way in the best interests of players, coaches and parents”. Kai Tolpinrud, Executive Director and General Manager of TOFC adds, “We are excited by these developments. It’s important, though, to note that nothing will change for our current TOFC teams. We see this as a fantastic evolution over the coming years”.
KU and TOFC will now enter a period of merger discussions with a combined club expected to emerge by the fall of 2023. TOFC will continue as the BCSPL program in the region for players that aspire to play at that level, with the support of select and recreational players as needed. For KU players, there will be no change in the short term and many future opportunities.
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