Toronto named 3rd franchise in Canadian women’s pro soccer league set to start in 2025

For Diana Matheson, “this one’s a little personal.”

The Canadian professional women’s soccer league, set to kick off in 2025, announced its third franchise on Wednesday: A.F.C. Toronto City.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Calgary Foothills, the other two teams, were announced in December alongside the league itself, which is being spearheaded by a company called Project 8, of which Matheson is co-founder and CEO.

Matheson, of Oakville, Ont., called Toronto a “hub for sport.”

“I know how impactful it would have been for me as a young girl growing up playing soccer in Oakville to have a pro women’s team down the road,” the ex-national team member told CBC Sports. “The sky’s the limit for a team in Toronto.”

A.F.C. Toronto City will become the area’s first-ever professional women’s soccer team.

“This is only going to further help to grow the game and build a greater community and stronger player opportunities in an already talented city,” Matheson said.

WATCH | Matheson discusses Toronto franchise with CBC Sports:

Canadian professional women’s soccer league announces Toronto as 3rd franchise

Diana Matheson, the CEO of Project 8, shares her excitement about a professional women’s soccer team coming to Toronto. Vancouver and Calgary have been previously announced as team locations.

The announcement may also spark a wave of momentum for professional women’s sports in Canada — a market referred to as “significantly underdeveloped” and estimated between $150-$200 million in a report written by leaders of the field that was released on Monday.

The report, led by Canadian Women and Sport, said most of that market is derived from periodic events like the Olympics and CP Women’s Open, but “the path to a vibrant professional women’s sport market in Canada is through in-market leagues and teams.”

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association will reportedly start a formal league, featuring nearly every player from the North American rosters at the recently completed world championship, next fall.

And the WNBA is set to host its first-ever game in Canada in May, an exhibition featuring Canadian Olympian Bridget Carleton.

Women in top roles

A.F.C. Toronto City will feature three women in top leadership positions.

Helena Ruken, president of the North Toronto Soccer Club, will serve as the team’s CEO, while Brenda Ha, a fellow board member, will be COO and Jill Burgin, a marketing professional, was named CMO.

“We are a group of passionate advocates for equity, diversity, and inclusion, and we’re excited to rally even more partners, supporters, and our local community to join us on this journey towards kicking off women’s professional soccer in Toronto,” Ruken said.

WATCH | Matheson announces league set for 2025 kickoff:

Diana Matheson announces Canadian women’s pro soccer league coming in 2025

2x Olympic Medallist Diana Matheson announces that she’s launching a Canadian women’s professional soccer league that will commence in the spring of 2025.

Matheson said the league will announce franchises as they come until all eight spots are filled. She said a league name is on deck, potentially by the summer.

“We’ve got good interest in about two-thirds of the markets we want to be in, but we could use some more leads,” Matheson said. “So Prairies, I’m looking at you, we’d love to hear from you.”

Matheson added that Canada Soccer has been “fantastic behind the scenes” as she pursues league membership and sanctioning from the national sport organization.

The league also announced DoorDash as its fourth corporate sponsor, joining CIBC, Air Canada and Canadian Tire.

“The business model, the reason why this thing works in 2025, is because Canadian companies are stepping up and getting behind it,” Matheson said.

Source link

Source: News

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *