Some quick FAQs to help navigate the world of secondary school sports.
Q: What is the VSSAA?
A: The Vancouver Secondary Schools Athletic Association (VSSAA) is the local sport organizing body responsible for governing all secondary school extra-curricular leagues and activities for the 18 VSB secondary schools. Its responsibilities include competition scheduling, championship coordination, policy and rules governance for all activities conducted at the local secondary school level.
Q: What is BC School Sports?
A: BC School Sports (BCSS) is the provincial body which is responsible for governance of secondary school sport in British Columbia. Our 18 VSB secondary schools are members of BCSS and must adhere to all BCSS policies and guidelines.
All Member School teams and student-athletes competing in BCSS and VSSAA approved sports must be registered on a team in accordance with the BCSS Rules and Regulations prior to competing in all competition.
Q: How does my child find out about tryouts or practices for a school team?
A: Most schools will have daily announcements with information on when team tryouts/practices will take place. Often there will also be informational flyers posted around the school.
Q: Who does my child speak to about participating on a school team or if they have a question?
A: Each VSB secondary school has an Athletic Director that oversees all sports teams at the school. There is a list of athletic directors on this website under the VSSAA Contacts heading.
Q: Are schools allowed to ‘cut’ players from school teams?
A: Every school wants to have as many students participating on its school teams as possible however there are many constraints that may limit the number of students chosen to represent the school on a team.
Schools will often provide additional opportunities for students to participate in sports clubs, intramurals and open gyms which are not affiliated with the school teams.
Q: Are there any athletic options for students that don’t like team sports?
A: The VSSAA coordinates school meets for cross country running (fall sport), wrestling (winter sport) & track and field (spring sport). These sports do not have a minimum or maximum number of athletes required to be part of the school team roster.
Occasionally, a school may not have school-based coach or sponsor for a sport (for example for the sport of wrestling) but there are students interested in that sport. For these sports, athletes are permitted to train with another secondary school, but they would represent their home school at meets, zone championships and provincial championships.
Q: When do the various sports take place at our school?
A: The intra-school sports competitions are broken up into three different seasons of play. All school teams must strictly adhere to these timelines. The VSSAA coordinates a very comprehensive list of sports throughout the school year.
Fall Season: Aquatics* (boys & girls), Cross country running (boys & girls) Field Hockey (girls), Rugby - boys (bantam & juvenile), Soccer (boys), Volleyball (all girls levels, junior & senior boys)
* VSSAA does not run leagues or meets for these sports (often the students will train with a community club), but schools do enter teams into the zone and provincial championships.
Q: Why is there an athletic fee for playing on secondary school teams (we were not charged to play at our elementary school).
A: There are many costs associated with running sports teams at the secondary school which are different than the elementary school. The schools will set their athletic fees based on historic data to recapture these associated fees. Some of the fees include: a membership fee paid to BCSS, officiating and scorekeeper fees, uniform replacement, athletic banquet and awards, tournament or meet fees, etc.
All school teams are coached by volunteer coaches and the costs to participate on school teams are substantially lower than community club teams.
Q: Can my child play on more than one team during a season of play?
A: A student may represent their school in any VSSAA sanctioned sport during a season of play. However, schools have the autonomy to place restrictions on students participating in more than one sport per season. For information on your school’s policies, please contact the school athletic director.
Q: Can parents volunteer to coach teams?
A: Yes, we welcome the participation of parent and community coaches to volunteer with our school teams. Each school has differing perspectives or philosophies with respect to the use of non VSB employees to coach their teams. The decision is made by the school principal and athletic director.
A community or parent coach will be paired with a school based sponsor unless the following items are followed:
Complete a criminal record check through the VPD or RCMP.
Provide at least two references to the athletic director or school principal.
Be at a minimum of 19 years of age.
Have completed at minimum NCCP’s Make Ethical Decisions Training Course including the online evaluation component.
All community coaches regardless of whether they are working independently or with a school sponsor should meet with the school principal and the athletic director to discuss their school sport policies and philosophy.
Q: Can high school students coach teams?
A: Yes, but they must have a school-based sponsor on the sideline or the bench with them for all games.
Q: My school doesn't have a team for a sport. Can I play at another school that has that team?
A: A student-athlete may only participate in BCSS activities for the member school at which they are registered.
Q: When schools don’t have enough players to form a team can they combine forces with another school?
A: There is an option for two or more member schools to make an application for a Joint Team. The initial step would be for the member schools to get approval from the league convener and the VSSAA prior to the application being submitted to the BCSS. None of the schools involved with the joint team would be eligible for post season play (league playoffs, zone championships or provincial championships where applicable)
Q: Can a student who is a distributed learning or alternate school student participate in BCSS?
A: Yes, students are able to participate as long as the school they attend is a member and the distributed learning form has been filled out and approved.
Q: What is considered a principal residence?
A: A residence where the family lives the majority of the time and you can only have one.
Q: Can grade 7s play up for their catchment secondary school team?
A: No, the VSSAA does not allow grade sevens to participate or play with any VSB secondary school team.
Q: Can my school team play a club team?
A: No, member schools can only play in competitions against other member school teams not club teams.
For a complete copy of BCSS Eligibility Regulations please visit the BCSS website - BCSS Handbook
Vancouver Secondary Schools' Athletic Association
1580 West Broadway Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6J 5K8 Canada