Led by Canadian soccer hero Diana Matheson and business partner Thomas Gilbert, Project 8 has announced its plans to launch a professional women’s soccer league in Canada. The organisation has outlined its vision to launch a professional league in 2025 “founded on the principles of inclusion, community, and identity.” The two founding teams are Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Calgary Foothills SC.
“We’re making this product for everyone who believes in this dream,” wrote the Project 8 team to their fans via project8.ca. “This League (will create) opportunities for Canadians, not just for players, but for fans, referees, coaches, and management. We’re here to grow the sport (and) to bring Canada’s first women’s sports league to life.”
Matheson along with Christine Sinclair, who will serve as an advisor and brand ambassador, announced the plans for the eight-team Canadian league on Monday 5 December 2022. Founding partners are CIBC and Air Canada while other members of the project include Georgia Simmerling, Shawn Small and Nathalie Cook.
“Women’s soccer is the fastest growing sport industry in the world,” wrote Project 8 to potential team ownership. “This League represents an incredible opportunity to get in from the get go.”
Across the past two decades, Matheson and Sinclair have been synonymous with soccer in Canada. On the pitch, they led Canada to a fourth-place finish at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003, a Concacaf Championship in 2010, and back-to-back Olympic bronze medals in 2012 and 2016. As team captain, Sinclair most recently captained Canada to an Olympic Gold Medal in 2021.
“This is excellent news for our sport nationally and Canada Soccer is in support of the proposal for the launch of a women’s professional league in Canada,” said Dr. Nick Bontis, Canada Soccer President. “We are always open and willing to work with individuals and organisations that want to further develop the women’s game, which is a vitally important part of Canada Soccer’s Strategic Plan. This initiative is aligned with work we have already started and the launch of a women’s professional league prior to the FIFA World Cup 2026 has always been one of my priorities as President.”
“This is a defining moment for soccer in our country,” said Breagha Carr-Harris, Canada Soccer’s Head of Women’s Professional Soccer. “The addition of a Canadian professional women’s league advances the game and player pathways domestically and it strengthens the ecosystem globally. We are excited that our research and strategic planning in the past few months aligns with the vision put forward by Diana Matheson and Project 8.”
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