There’s been mumblings about this for at least a year but now, it’s official. Canada will have its own professional league which is set to launch in 2025.
Christine Sinclair and Diana Matheson, two of Canada’s most notable national team players, made the announcement through The National’s Adrienne Arsenault on Monday night. The inaugural league will begin in April 2025 with a league champion set to be decided later that year.
Here’s what we know about the yet-to-be-named league:
- Every team will have at least one Canadian international with the aim of bringing at least half of Canadians playing abroad back to the nation.
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Calgary Foothills Soccer Club have been confirmed as the first two teams to join the new league.
- The league is being developed by Diana Matheson and her business partners at Project 8 Sports Inc. with Christine Sinclair being brought in as an official advisor.
- According to Matheson, Air Canada and CIBC have also been brought on as corporate sponsors for the league.
- The buy-in for any would be owner will be between $8-10 million CAD.
As of right now, the league aims to be recognised as a Canada Soccer member by 2023 and receive full sanctioning by 2024. There’s a lot of work to be done to reach that goal, not withstanding the current doubts that many have over involving the Vancouver Whitecaps who are still struggling to distance themselves from past scandals. The league will also have to convince many Canadians currently abroad that the financial windfall of coming back to Canada will be worth giving up what they earn now abroad, and finally they league will have to find a way to distinguish itself from the neighbouring NWSL in order to truly make its mark on the soccer landscape.
However, bringing in Air Canada and CIBC, two major brand in the Canadian landscape, is a great start for the league, and having the likes of Sinclair and Matheson on board will definitely help in gaining more sponsors and potentially the right owners to be involved in the short-term and the long-term of this new league.