Canadians have been buzzing this week with news that Project 8 will launch a Canadian women’s professional soccer league in 2025, with the first two teams announced as Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Calgary Foothills SC. The project is led by Canadian soccer hero Diana Matheson along with her business partner Thomas Gilbert, but also features current Women’s National Team captain Christine Sinclair as an advisor and brand ambassador.
“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.”
The launch of a women’s domestic professional league is an important milestone that will support Canada Soccer’s Elite Player Pathway to the Women’s National Team while also providing an exciting competition for Canadian fans of all ages. The new eight-team league will also support opportunities for Canadian coaches, referees and administrators.
“Women’s soccer is the fastest growing sport industry in the world,” wrote Project 8 to prospective franchises on their official website, project8.ca. “This League represents an incredible opportunity to get in from the get go.”
The new league will build on the foundation of more than 40 years of women’s soccer in Canada, starting with the inaugural National Championship in 1982 and the first Women’s National Team in 1986. From regional leagues across the country, Canada Soccer have also featured semi-professional teams in North American leagues like the defunct USL W-League and more recently United Women’s Soccer where Calgary Foothills finished as 2022 runners up. At the professional level, Canada Soccer helped inaugurate the National Women’s Soccer League in 2013 alongside US Soccer and the Mexican Football Federation, a league that has featured 43 different Canadian footballers across the first 10 seasons.
At the international level, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team are currently preparing for their eighth consecutive participation at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023. Canada won Concacaf Championships in 1998 and 2010, Olympic Bronze Medals in 2012 and 2016, and then an Olympic Gold Medal in 2021.
“I would like to commend Diana and her team on the tireless work to bring professional soccer to our country, I know it has been some time in the making,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach. “It will that mean that Canadian players have the choice to play in Canada, so it really can support the development of our best young talent and sustain the future success of the Women’s National Team.”
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.
Check out Canada Soccer’s Schedule & Results page where you can find upcoming match schedules and past results leading to highlights, photos, match data, and more.