Heads up for youth soccer in Thunder Bay: keeping score and tabulating standings will be phased out in all youth competitive and recreational leagues.

The new rules from the Ontario Soccer Association — aimed at emphasizing skills over winning — become mandatory in 2014. Teaching young players that winning isn't everything is an important lesson, said Dave Colistro, regional coach with the Ontario Soccer Association.

'The game and the individual player will … win in the long run'—Dave Colistro, regional coach with the Ontario Soccer Association

"It's the game that will end up being the teacher and not the result of the game," he said. "[We will] focus on more of the individual development of the child."

Colistro said he hopes the change will encourage more young people to continue playing soccer into their teens.

"If children can become more successful as they get older, it will be much more beneficial in the long run to this sport, as opposed to — thinking in the short term — winning at all costs and [winning] today," he said. "The game and the individual player will … win in the long run."

While the response from local parents and coaches has been positive so far, Colistro said he hasn't heard a lot of feedback from the players yet.

"They are just there to play and have fun," he said. "But the feedback from the parents in Thunder Bay has been awesome.  They are all excited about it and believe it's a great thing to do. "