Canada’s most populated youth sport is on the verge of getting its own professional league, as the Canadian Premier League (CPL) has unveiled branding and vision for a Canadian-based soccer league.
The league is set to kick off in 2019.
The logo features a maple leaf punctuated by a north star, with “pitch green”, “sky navy”, and “ocean blue”, which “reflects our cultural mosaic as seen through the colours of the Northern Lights.”
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The red version of the emblem will be used for special occasions such as Canada Day, and when clubs play in the Champions League.
Many details are still being released about the league, including number of teams and how it will relate to Major League Soccer (MLS), which already boasts three Canadian franchises in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
On their wesbite, canpl.ca, there is a countdown until the announcement of the first team.
It is speculated that the league will consist of 6-10 teams, and ownership will be an all-Canadian combination of CFL and NHL owners.
MLS success paves the way for Canadian Premier league
The MLS has come an incredibly long way since its founding in 1996, and now has true top European talent playing its league. Even though they’re primarily former stars who are nearing the twilight of their career, it still elevates the quality of play, displays a level of financial competitiveness in the global transfer market, and brings North Americans to watch soccer games.
Zlatan Ibrahamovic, David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and David Villa are all examples of big names that have crossed the Atlantic to play in the MLS.
Further, in 2008 the average MLS franchise was valued at $38-million. Now, just ten years later that number has ballooned to $223-million in 2017.
The most intriguing impact, however, is at the grassroots level where kids are exposed to not only Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby on television, but also the likes of Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco and Vancouver Whitecaps stalwart Kendall Waston.
When the MLS expanded to Vancouver in 2011, and to Montreal in 2012, a foundation was laid for Canadian soccer. It’s already possible to argue that the Canadian Men’s National Team has and will continue to improve due to the academies that Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto invest in.
17-year old Whitecaps phenom Alphonso Davies is one example, while Cyle Larin, who won MLS Rookie of the Year in 2015 and was the first Canadian to be drafted first overall in the MLS SuperDraft, will be a top option for the men’s team moving forward.
The new league will also have Canadian roster requirements that would guarantee at least a set percentage of Canadian players on each team. American MLS franchises have roster rules that demand they field a certain number of Americans, allowing Americans to develop their game on home soil. Even though Canada has 3 MLS franchises, no such roster rules exist for them, meaning the long-term interest of Canadian soccer isn’t always considered.
The Canadian Premier League would implement those rules, ensuring Canadians are receiving playing time and ample development opportunity.
In truth, Canada faces a long road to improving its soccer resumé on the world stage. But it always starts with the level of competition available to the country’s top youngsters.
Which is precisely what the Canadian Premier League hopes to improve.