Back in the day (only three years ago!) Coast Soccer League held an iron grip over the Southern California soccer landscape. (You can read here if you would like of the backstory) Clubs were held to three teams per gender and age level and teams had to keep a certain amount of players (I think seven for U11 and above) to keep their team status. The prestigious Premier bracket was the ultimate achievement and could be earned by a team from a powerhouse club or a team from No Name FC.
Power was held by the players, parents, coaches and teams, not necessarily by the clubs, as promotion could only be earned. Teams could keep their status and move to whatever club they chose as long as they kept the minimum number of returning players and an administrator. Advancement from Bronze, to Silver, Silver Elite, Gold and finally Premier was earned and teams had to stay together or else start over at the bottom. Players were assigned to a team and played with just that team for the year.
Rumblings of discontent concerning CSL’s dictatorial management style, the addition of ECNL, and lack of flexibility led to the creation of the SCDSL (Southern California Developmental Soccer League) by the Directors of Coaching of the top So Cal clubs. One of the things cited in the creation was the need for the “player pass” where players can play for any age appropriate team within their club. Top team players would be able to play with a lower team if they weren’t getting enough playing time and players from lower teams would be able to play for top teams if they were performing well. The rules about returning players and earned promotion no longer apply as well as the number of teams in an age group. Earned promotion is no longer an issue as the Directors of Coaching decide at what level each team plays. The power shifts away from the teams to the clubs.
Look for Part II- How does this affect our kids?
Disclaimer- I’m no expert! These are just my observations.