April 12th, 2024

Project 8 says three more clubs have asked to join proposed women’s pro league

By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press on April 4, 2024.

Three more clubs have submitted applications to Canada Soccer to join Project 8, the domestic women's pro soccer league currently under construction. Helena Ruken, left to right, CEO of AFC Toronto City; Diana Matheson, co-founder and CEO of Project 8; and Shilpa Arora, general manager of DoorDash Canada, are seen in Toronto in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Project 8, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

TORONTO – Three more clubs have submitted applications to Canada Soccer to join Project 8, the domestic women’s pro soccer league currently under construction.

Project 8 did not identify the new clubs. Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto have already signed up for the new league.

The applications for professional club admission will be considered at Canada Soccer’s annual general meeting in early May in Montreal.

“This milestone brings Project 8 closer to realizing the launch of Canada’s first professional women’s soccer league in 2025,” Project 8 said in a statement Thursday.

Canadian Tire, CIBC, Air Canada and DoorDash have already joined the league as “founding partners.”

“We started with the belief that there were partners and investors who would recognize the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a women’s pro soccer league that would not only change the pathways and futures of Canadian players but reshape the Canadian sport industry and its fans,” Project 8 CEO and co-founder Diana Matheson, a former Canadian international, said in the statement.

“Over this past year, that belief has shifted to reality. An incredible group of individuals, who will be introducing themselves over the coming weeks, have stepped up as partners and owners.”

Project 8 says league branding, player signings and ticket pre-sales are slated to begin in the summer.

The plan is for an eight-team, two-conference league to start play in 2025. AFC Toronto City became the new league’s third founding franchise in April 2023, joining the Vancouver Whitecaps and Calgary Foothills.

The franchise fee is $1 million with a need for an estimated $8 million to $10 million in total invested capital over the first five seasons in addition to necessary spending on infrastructure. Owners are buying a piece of the league as well as their own franchise.

Matheson is joined by Thomas Gilbert as the leaders of Project 8 Sports Inc.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2024.

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