The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)

Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

There are reports that the Fraser Valley could be in line for a Canadian Premier League expansion club.

An article posted on a popular soccer website, Transfermarket.us, suggests that the CPL is looking to expand in British Columbia and both the Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley Regional District are listed as possibilities.

The CPL, which was founded in 2017, is considered the top of the Canadian soccer system. There are currently eight teams in league, with clubs based in Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Halifax, Winnipeg and Toronto. B.C. has one team, Pacific FC, in the league based in Victoria.

Pacific FC, which plays out of Langford’s Westhills Stadium, has had a successful entry into the league and averaged over 3,000 fans in the 2019 season.

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The Transfermarkt story says it has learned that several German Bundesliga teams are interested in investing in a CPL club, which makes the possibility of expansion more likely.

Their sources suggest that Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen could be among those interested in investing.

The @onesoccer Twitter account, one of the largest Canadian social media accounts also weighed in on the potential of a Fraser Valley team, asking social media users what a good name for a team from the region would be.

It’s unclear which Fraser Valley city a CPL team would be located in, but venue possibilities could be Abbotsford’s Rotary Stadium, Langley’s McLeod Stadium or Chilliwack’s Exhibition Stadium. Another possibility could be the new turf field facility near the Langley Events Centre.

Dan Village, the general manager for the Abbotsford Soccer Association, said a CPL franchise in the Fraser Valley has the potential to be a success.

“A Fraser Valley franchise could do very well, in my humble opinion,” he told The News. “Done properly and marketed well, it could be quite a successful entity given the large number of players we have in the Valley. I could see a strong fan base from Surrey to Chilliwack supporting this team. The current B.C. franchise in Langford often has fans coming on buses from as far away as Nanaimo on game day. One could easily see games being hosted not only in one venue but also throughout the Valley.”

Ian Knight, the technical director for the ASA, said the team could be a pipeline for future local soccer talent, including university talent from nearby programs like the University of the Fraser Valley and Trinity Western University.

“There would become a tangible option for potential USport players to access the CPL,” he said of the potential new team. “Obviously, the current contingent of UBC and TWU players within the CPL currently (or who have gone on to the MLS) is testament to this and the hope would be that UFV would have a future player or two graduating to the pro ranks with a franchise in our backyard. In addition, the opportunity for young, aspiring youth players (male and female) to be able to access the professional game environment is crucial to fueling their ambition and long-term involvement in the sport.”

The News has asked the CPL and Pacific FC representatives for comment, but neither has replied.

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