Professional soccer could work in Canada

A Canadian Premier League might be on the way and there's no reason why it wouldn't succeed

Photo by Chantal Zdan

In an article in the Hamilton Spectator that appeared in June 2013, it was announced that the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL would partner up to host a team in a potential Canadian soccer league. The prospect of a professional soccer league in Canada is very exciting and would definitely be a positive for the country.

You may be wondering why Canada would ever want a professional soccer league, but if you look at the numbers, it makes sense. This past women’s World Cup broke new attendance records, with 1.3 million people attending numerous matches throughout Canada. An average of 26,000 people attended each match. The quarterfinal match between England and Canada saw 3.2 million people tune in on TV in Canada.

The interest is there and there are enough fans here to support a league.

On top of the World Cup, Toronto FC had the fourth highest attendance in the MLS last season, while the Ottawa Fury – a North American Soccer League team – set post-season attendance records.

In late 2015 during a 2018 World Cup qualifier, the Canadian men’s national team also garnered 20,000 people in their massive 1-0 win over Honduras. That record will most likely be broken when Canada takes on Mexico at home on March 25

Since the inception of the MLS in the United States, their national team has seen a lot of improvement, producing some elite level talent that have played in various top leagues in Europe. A professional league would be nothing but good for Canadian soccer, as it would make it easier for your average Canadian to access the sport.

The logistics of the league have not been decided yet, as we don’t know how many teams there will be or if it will be its own league or a division of the North American Soccer League (NASL). Winnipeg has the potential to host a team with the venue at Investors Group Field being more than acceptable.

Canadian soccer has taken a lot of great strides in the past few years, and this will only add to the growth of the game. There is no reason as to why Canada cannot become a soccer superpower when a country like the Netherlands only has 16.8 million people yet they have been to three World Cup finals.

A soccer league in Canada is a tremendous prospect, and soccer fans in Canada should be very excited. The only thing I ask is that you go out and support it if it comes around, as there is still a very real possibility that the league could flop within a couple years. I believe Canadian soccer fans deserve a league and would welcome it with open arms.