(photo credit: project8.ca)
In December 2022, it was announced that a professional women's soccer league was on its way to Canada. Project 8 is set to launch in 2025 and is designed to bring the best possible professional pathway for womens soccer in Canada.
This will be the first professional league in Canada and will feature only Canadian teams. The league was co-founded by former Canadian women’s national team player Diana Matheson and Thomas Gilbert, along with the help of many former players and sponsors. The name of the league is said to be revealed early this year.
(photo credit: Steve Kingsman)
Three of the eight planned teams have already been announced, with the remaining five teams going on sale later in the year. The founding teams include Vancouver Whitecaps FC, A.F.C. Toronto City and Calgary Foothills. While A.F.C. Toronto City is a brand new club, Vancouver and Calgary are part of existing clubs.
The Vancouver Whitecaps play in the Major League Soccer and also have many development teams in place for young boys and girls. The club was founded in 2009 and was announced as one of the two founding teams in 2022. One of the most notable alumni of the Whitecaps is Canadian men's national team and Bayern Munich player, Alphonso Davies.
Calgary Foothills was founded as a youth club in 1972. It has had teams in both the Profession Development League and United Womens Soccer. The club works with youth from age three to 17 and works on getting players into post-secondary education. Noticeable alumni include Canadian men's national team and Vancouver Whitecaps defender Sam Adekugbe, recent San Diego Wave draft pick Mya Jones, and former Manchester United and Bayern Munich player Owen Hargreaves. Calgary Foothills also had a big part in developing Cavalry FC, the Calgary Canadian Premier League team. It is evident that this club has the desire to grow the game in not just Alberta but Canada as well.
(photo credit: Dirk Fontaine)
It was announced on Jan. 19 that Canadian Olympic Sprinter Andre DeGrasse has invested in the Toronto team. Names such as Ryan Reynolds and Christine Sinclair have been mentioned around the possibility of part ownership, with Sinclair already being named an advisor to the league.
The want and need for a league like this has been evident for many years. With the success of the women's national team over the last few years, it was a no-brainer for a league to be developed. Many young, talented, and hardworking female players will now have the ability to not only play professionally, but be able to play in their home country or even hometown team. This league is going to change the course of professional games and grassroots soccer. With these teams in place, bigger developmental programs can be added, creating even bigger pathways in the sport.
This league will change the layout of the womens game in Canada. The opportunity to play past your teenage years will be an option, and the idea of working in professional sports will be seen as a possibility. Little girls will have the ability to represent their country and play for a local team because the right pathways are being paved for them. This is more than just a league, it's a chance to be more.
Editor: Soleil Dam
Content Creator: Jenna Falkenheim