PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S SOCCER LEAGUE COMING TO CANADA IN 2025

2022-12-06 · 3 min read · Women's Soccer/Soccer
Former Canadian women’s international player Diana Matheson and current women’s captain Christine Sinclair

Steve Kingsman/Canada Soccer | NurPhoto/Getty Images

In 2025 Canada will debut its first professional women’s league, with eight clubs across the country participating in the domestic championship.
On Monday, former Canadian women’s international player Diana Matheson, alongside current women’s captain and the world’s all-time leader in international goals on the men’s and women’s side, Christine Sinclair, announced the new league.
The Vancouver Whitecaps and Calgary Foothills have already confirmed they will be two of the teams competing, while the remaining six clubs are expected to be announced in 2023.
CIBC and Air Canada have signed on to be founding members of the league in a project which has been heavily discussed ever since the Canadian women captured the Olympic gold medal at the 2021 games in Tokyo.
Many people in Canadian soccer circles had considered starting this domestic competition or bringing in some expansion franchises to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), which is based out of the United States.
Matheson, perhaps best known for scoring the bronze medal winning goal for Canada at the 2012 London Olympics has said that the league is looking to have a maximum of seven international players per team, while all of the other allotted spots will go to homegrown Canadian-born players.
Right now, the members of the Canadian women’s team play their club soccer overseas, primarily around Europe in England’s Women’s Super League, France’s Division 1 Feminine and the NWSL, where Sinclair features for the reigning champion Portland Thorns.
The aim is to bring many Canadian internationals back home for the seventh-seeded women’s team in an effort to keep up with the other elite nations on the international stage.
Club owners in this league would pay a franchise fee of $1 million, while each ownership group might need approximately eight to $10 million to operate a club through the first five seasons.
As part of this agreement Project, 8 would own 20% of the league, with the other 80 being owned by the eight teams.
The championship would be independent from Canada Soccer, although it needs to be sanctioned through the governing body.
Project 8 will attempt to replicate some of the salary numbers we are currently seeing in the NWSL, where the minimum wage is US$35,000 with a maximum of US$75,000, in addition to allocating money beyond the current US$1.1 million cap to spend on select superstars.
Following the announcement, Matheson explained why this domestic competition is so critical to the Canadian women’s program. “Global soccer is run by domestic leagues,” Matheson said. “The reality is the power, and the investment has already shifted to the professional game. We’ve missed the window, almost, in some ways. And if we don’t build a league of our own, then we’re going to be left behind in women’s soccer. There’s no way that 60 high performance athletes we support through national team pathways are going to be enough to compete with the rest of the world in the long term.”
The plan with this league is to have a two-tiered board structure with a commissioner in place while they are still looking for a name which Matheson says will be inclusive and not gender-specific.
There are no broadcast deals for this new venture yet, but Matheson anticipates they will be fully sanctioned by 2024.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Joel Lefevre

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