Kelowna’s Brandon McCallum brought competitive indoor soccer to the Okanagan this winter. (Mackenzie Britton - Capital News)

Okanagan Premier League wraps inaugural season

The indoor soccer league finishes its first season Wednesday

The Okanagan Premier League finishes its first season Wednesday.

In its inaugural year, the league supplied competitive soccer throughout the winter.

League founder Brandon McCallum wanted to provide more than just another soccer league playing in an indoor venue.

“I wanted to make a real competitive league,” said McCallum.

“It was hard to get going, but once I did, I had guys saying that this will really help with their off-season fitness and touch.”

READ MORE: New ringette school amplifying the sport in the Okanagan

The season took place at the Rutland indoor dome to avoid the winter’s cold; nine teams playing a 14-game season that started in November and concluding right before the start of spring soccer.

With a smaller indoor soccer pitch and an eight-a-side team lineup formation, McCallum wanted the level of play in the league to be as high pace as possible.

“I’ve loved soccer all my life, I wanted league play that wouldn’t be too congested or have players not keep up with fitness,” he said.

“It’s a state of the art facility for (this type of competition).”

Soccer in Kelowna during the winter takes a deep back seat to hockey, but with players coming from Penticton, Peachland and Vernon to join Okanagan Premier League, McCallum feels it’s clear that soccer players want year-round competitive play options.

“It’s truly an Okanagan League, which is what I wanted it to be. Players are willing to come to town to play against the best players (and indoor teams) in the area,” McCallum said.

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan study suggests ditching cheat days on diet

McCallum has been fully invested in local soccer programs since moving to the Okanagan in 2012.

He spent four years with the UBC Okanagan Heat soccer team, including a CIS playoff berth in 2015, and is now part of the Okanagan Football Club playing in the Pacific Coast Soccer League starting in May.

READ MORE: Okanagan FC ready to reestablish soccer culture in Kelowna

McCallum said that he hopes the indoor league will boost local soccer interests, especially for next winter.

“Definitely want more teams to join in next season. The vision is to have two men’s divisions and either a women’s or a coed division. The idea is to have a smooth transition (available) from indoor (winter) soccer to outdoor (spring) soccer.”

With outdoor fields now opening throughout the Okanagan, the Okanagan Premier League will look to next season and invite more dedicated soccer players for competitive soccer next winter.

The finals for the Okanagan Premier League’s first season is Wednesday night at the Rutland dome at 8:30 p.m.

For more information on the league contact okanaganpremierleague@gmail.com.

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