Burnaby FC is expanding on its development program for athletes en route to professional soccer.
The local club has joined League1 British Columbia (L1BC), according to news release from Wednesday, Feb. 7.
The move for Burnaby FC L1, as the teams will be known, pushes the program to the highest level of semi-professional soccer development in B.C.
League1, which also has divisions in Alberta, Ontario and Québec under the League1 Canada banner, is the third highest level of pro-am soccer in the national system behind the Canadian Premier League.
"This is an incredible achievement for our Club and represents a milestone for soccer in Burnaby," said Burnaby FC president Guido Titotto, noting this next chapter for the black and gold will be "important" for the game's local growth.
"Joining League1 BC provides our players a continuous pathway across all levels of player development in our province and we cannot wait to provide them with League1 BC opportunities."
Burnaby FC is now the eighth club in L1BC competition and the second that'll play in the city alongside TSS FC Rovers — a Richmond-based organization that plays its home matches at Swangard Stadium.
The rest of the clubs are as follows (in alphabetical order):
- Altitude FC (North Vancouver)
- Harbourside FC (Nanaimo)
- Rivers FC (Kamloops)
- Unity FC (Surrey)
- Victoria Highlanders FC (Saanich)
- Whitecaps FC Academy (UBC Campus)
"We are very excited that League1 BC is expanding in the Burnaby area with Burnaby Football Club," said Chris Keem, chair of the League1 BC expansion committee.
"Through the five clubs that have come together to establish the organization, Burnaby FC are tapping into a great history that stems back to 1949."
Burnaby FC's promotion adds to the recent success of the club, which included both under-17 girls' and boys' national club championships in its inaugural 2023 campaign.
Burnaby FC L1 is set to unveil its women's and men's schedules, match kits and staffing in the weeks to come.
L1BC was created in 2021 "to bridge the gap between youth and professional soccer."
For more information, you can visit the league's website.
Burnaby FC is hosting a series of spring break camps for kids born between 2011 and 2016.
The training sessions will take place at Burnaby Lake West Fields #1 and #2 from March 18 to 22 and March 25 to 28 for 6.5 hours each day.