Big changes are underway with youth soccer in South Surrey and White Rock.
The three prominent local minor soccer bodies - Peace Arch Soccer Club (boys), Semiahmoo Soccer Club (girls) and South Fraser Football Club (premier league) are joining forces to form a united entity that will compete as Coastal FC.
Heading up this new entity will be Chris Murphy, who will serve in the role of executive director. Murphy has extensive experience at the minor soccer level after serving from 2004-08 as executive director of the Surrey Youth organization. For the past four years Murphy has worked with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC organization, first as senior manager of soccer development (2008-10) and more recently as the club's head of recruiting (2010-12).
"To be honest, I'm kind of a grassroots kind of guy," Murphy said. "I enjoy working in the trenches and in the community. I enjoyed working with the Whitecaps and I still have a contract with them but I wanted to get back into the youth soccer world again.
"For me its kind of exciting because I grew up in the area and I'm getting back to something I am familiar with. I know people here, I know the culture and hopefully I bring back some experience from [having] travelled around and working in the professional game for four years."
In a press release, Semiahmoo and South Fraser president Darryl Jones cited Murphy's extensive experience at all levels of the game.
"Chris Murphy has extensive experience in soccer leadership at the grassroots and professional levels in British Columbia," he said. "We are very impressed with his player-first philosophy and are really looking forward to having Chris play a critical role in further developing and providing more comprehensive player development pathways for our players as we move our club and all that we do to the next level."
For his part, Murphy said he is impressed with not only the organization's existing facilities, but also with the people who have built the club up, including technical directors Greg Berry (Peace Arch) and Mark McQueen (Semiahmoo).
"From what I've seen right off the hop there is already a good base of volunteers in place at some many key levels and positions," he said. "In fact, I don't know if they've given themselves enough credit for what they have already created. It really is impressive. There's a lot of important pieces already in place and it's my job to come in and be an asset to those clubs and help push things forward to another level."
By merging the three clubs into a single entity, the newly created Coastal FC will be able to grow and compete with similar allencompassing soccer organizations such as Surrey United and Metro Ford.