There's a new professional women's soccer league coming to Canada

Dec 6 2022, 3:59 pm

A new professional women’s soccer league will soon be coming to Canada.

Set to launch in 2025, the eight-team league will feature at least one Canadian national team player per team.

The initiative is largely a player-led one, as it’s headed up by Canadian national team legends Christine Sinclair and Diana Matheson, as well as business partner Thomas Gilbert.

There are currently no pro women’s teams in Canada, with the majority of the national team either playing for European clubs or the USA-based National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

The first two markets are confirmed as Calgary and Vancouver, with two existing professional clubs helping to lay the groundwork for the new franchises.

Along with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Calgary Foothills Soccer Club has also committed to bringing a team to Alberta.

“The whole idea behind this is to aim high. And like, if you’re not, what’s the point?” Sinclair said in a CBC interview with The National‘s Adrienne Arsenault.

“Whitecaps FC are thrilled to be one of the first teams to sign on to a professional women’s soccer league in Canada,” said Stephanie Labbe, Whitecaps FC general manager of women’s soccer and a three-time Olympic medallist (including gold in 2021) as part of the Canadian national team.

“The creation of this league is something we have been advocating for over many years, and to be part of seeing it come to fruition is truly exciting. We look forward to working with stakeholders across the Canadian soccer environment to make this league successful.”

CIBC and Air Canada have been announced as launch sponsors, with the six remaining teams expected to be confirmed in 2023.

“We’ve been saying it for a long time,” Sinclair explained to the media in a 2021 interview. “We’re hoping that this platform will give us the opportunity to start that change and plead to Canadians that have the ability to make [a] difference to invest in women. The young little kids, they deserve to be able to go watch their heroes on a week-to-week basis and not [just] every four years.”

Interestingly, the project currently takes place outside of the realm of the national sport organization Canada Soccer, which has found itself in the headlines over the past year for pay and labour disputes with both the men’s and women’s national teams.

However, Matheson told CBC she’s hoping the league will be sanctioned by Canada Soccer in 2024, prior to the league’s launch the following year.

Keep your eyes posted over the next three years for more information on teams, players, and stadiums for the yet-to-be-named league.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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