(TORONTO, ON) – The Canadian Soccer League has accepted membership in the newly-formed Soccer Federation of Canada (SFC) and as a first step after removing itself from the Canadian Soccer Association and provincial soccer jurisdiction is prepared to make it easier for teams and new groups to step into professional soccer for the first time.
A newly structured CSL Second Division will provide an environment with ready-achievable semi-professional standards in which teams will have an opportunity to experience first entry pro soccer while playing in a highly competitive environment. The CSL Second Division was earlier approved for reserve teams only.
The CSL intends to introduce promotion and relegation between its two main divisions, a system rarely used in North America. Also, for new teams that apply for CSL First Division entry, they will have the option of playing their initial year in the Second Division, a first step that allows clubs to become accustomed to the disciplines and rigors of professional soccer. The CSL First Division is considered in Canada’s professional pyramid the next level below the top flight Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer (MLS) and FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League (NASL). Both of these leagues are U.S.-based.
The new Second Division will provide a member team with the opportunity to develop infrastructure, the team’s player base and also develop a close relationship with the immediate community – including the local soccer community. The CSL team can be a focal point in the community for the development of young players considering an eventual higher level professional soccer career in North America or overseas. The CSL will continue with its highly successful Reserve Division, which will drop down to a third level for an anticipated three divisions in 2014.
The CSL for some years has been disappointed by the number of Canadian women’s teams entering the United States to play first level women’s professional soccer and considers a Canadian women’s professional league long overdue. The CSL will now structure such a league and will be making an announcement in the near future.
At a recent league meeting, CSL club owners agreed the Canadian Soccer League should be a founding member of the newly-formed Soccer Federation of Canada (SFC), which provides private soccer entities, leagues and clubs in Canada with the necessary guidance and services needed to grow and develop within the Canadian soccer community. SFC members will draw on the federation for the appropriate administration of players, non-playing personnel, including coaches, match officials and various peripheral needs such as insurance. The SFC will also provide non-intrusive oversight while encouraging its member leagues and clubs to be independently structured for local conditions within an affordable business plan.