HISTORY OF THE METRO WOMEN’S SOCCER LEAGUE
Back in the mid 1970’s Women’s soccer had two Winter Leagues and one summer league. One of the Winter Leagues was called the Lower Mainland Women’s Soccer League. This league consisted of teams from Maple Ridge, Surrey, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Chilliwack and Mission. The other Winter League was called the Mainland Women’s Soccer League which consisted of teams from Vancouver, North Shore and Burnaby.
In 1979 the League consisted of 16 teams.
The Summer League was called the Greater Vancouver Soccer Association (GVSA). The Greater Vancouver Soccer Association had received grants from the BC Lottery Corp.
In 1979 one of the most influential women in the sport joined the Soccer League. Leeta Sokalski started playing with the Jericho Old Girls (affiliated with the Jericho Rugby Club). At that time the league consisted of 16 Teams. She since has held many influential roles in the soccer community inclusive of being on the MWSL Board, BC Soccer Board, CSA Soccer Board and was the first ever Women Referee.
In the early 80’s youth soccer players started graduating and wanted to continue playing. Most of the women who played at the time were field hockey players or their husbands played soccer.
By the early 80’s the organization had grown the Summer League to 60 teams.
In 1981 BC Lottery changed the grant rules and the GVSA went bankrupt. They took the remaining money they had and gave it to the Lower Mainland Soccer League as that is where most of the GVSA teams played in the winter. That money was used to form the scholarship funds.
By 1981-82 the two winter leagues soon merged and changed their name to the Metro Women’s Winter Soccer League.
Once the summer program was in effect they dropped the winter and in 1982 became the Metro Women’s Soccer League.
There was continuous growth in the league and one of the biggest challenges the MWSL faced was securing soccer fields. Leeta Sokalski was instrumental in securing fields in the Vancouver area.
By 1982-83 season MWSL became affiliated with the BC Soccer Association which at the time was led by President, Ed Ponsart.
In 1982 the MWSL League office was located in Burnaby on McKay Ave; subsequently moved to the Douglas Road office and now resides at Burnaby 8 Rinks.
Cup Play was in affect from the beginning of the start of the 2 winter leagues and by 1985 there was 72 teams playing in cup play.
The League was always Non Profit and was run by volunteers until 1985 when the first Office Administrator was hired to work only Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Today (2015), the MWSL has over 6800 members, over 220 teams playing Winter and over 130 teams playing Summer. The League has expanded to include Premier, Selects A/B, Division 1 - 5, Classics Division 1 - 3 and U21 A/B.
The MWSL Board of Directors consists of 9 Directors who represent the needs of the membership through committees that support Governance, Finance, and Competitions. The league office has a Director of Marketing and Communications, a League Manager, a Scheduler, a Head Referee and a Referee Scheduler.
MWSL has seen significant growth through the years and we look forward to many more successful years developing the game of soccer inspiring women to life-long active and inclusive play.
Note: we are still compiling more detailed information on our history so if you have any additional information or have any historical photos to share we would be happy to receive them. Please forward them to Jo-Dee Stanley, League Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.