Canadian Women's Soccer Team Excited For Northern Super League's 2025 Debut | CBC Sports


Growing up in Sudbury, Ont., Canadian women’s national team forward Cloe Lacasse didn’t garner as much attention as she might have in a big city like Toronto. She believes that reality will change with Canada’s pro league, unveiled Tuesday as the Northern Super League, set to kick off in April 2025.

Players value possibilities, growth potential of top domestic pro league

Daniel Rainbird · The Canadian Press

· Posted: May 30, 2024 9:12 PM EDT | Last Updated: 3 hours ago

Canada forward Cloe Lacasse (20), seen celebrating with Evelyne Viens during a SheBelieves Cup soccer match in February 2023, said the NSL provides “a second oppurtunity” for many women’s soccer players. (Mark Zaleski/The Associated Press)Cloe Lacasse wishes a professional women’s soccer league existed in Canada when she was younger.

Growing up in Sudbury, Ont., the Canadian women’s national team forward didn’t garner as much attention as she might have in a big city like Toronto.

Lacasse believes that reality will change with Canada’s pro league, unveiled Tuesday as the Northern Super League, set to kick off in April 2025. Former Canadian international Diana Matheson is the league’s chief executive officer and co-founder.

The NSL will kick off a 25-game season in April 2025 with franchises in Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax and Calgary — which unveiled its Calgary Wild FC team name and logo Thursday.

“It’s something that really resonates with me,” Lacasse said Thursday at Centre Nutrilait. “I wish when I was younger that this existed because my journey wasn’t easy.”

WATCH l Matheson on 2 new teams and newly named Northern Super League:

New name, 2 new teams revealed for Canadian pro women’s soccer leagueFounder Diana Matheson explains how they came up with the league’s name and announces all the teams that will be involved in the first season.

The No. 9-ranked Canadian women’s national team takes on No. 31 Mexico in a pre-Olympic friendly Saturday afternoon at Montreal’s Saputo Stadium. Canada will play Mexico again Tuesday at Toronto’s BMO Field.

The 30-year-old Lacasse, who finally broke into the Canadian women’s team in 2021, played professionally in Iceland and Portugal before her prolific goalscoring in those leagues helped her land in England’s FA Women’s Super League with Arsenal.

“I had a very difficult journey to get where I am just because there was no visibility,” Lacasse said. “There weren’t many coaches, so I didn’t have those eyes on me, and I think this league will provide that for kids that maybe aren’t drafted into a [National Women’s Super League] or WSL.

“It gives them a second opportunity, almost.”

Competitive salary cap expectationsEach NSL team is expected to have a $1.5-million initial salary cap for 20 to 25 players on a roster and the minimum salary is $50,000. Franchises will be allowed up to seven foreign players and one marquee player whose salary will only account for $75,000 against the cap.

For reference, the NWSL — the top tier in the United States — increased its salary cap to $2.75M US from $1.375M this season for 22- to 26-player rosters.

Even Canada’s players plying their trade in Europe and the U.S. see playing professionally at home as a possibility down the line.

“I’m really happy where I’m at right now,” centre back Vanessa Gilles, who currently plays for Lyon in France, said. “But obviously it’s something that’s going to be very interesting moving forward for a lot of Canadians. It’s no secret playing at home in front of your friends and family is a huge plus. The downside of being a professional is being away from your loved ones and missing so many life events.”

Lacasse is happy chasing her soccer dream in Europe, too, but wouldn’t rule it out either.

“Everyone on this team is seeing this league as a place that they could potentially land,” Lacasse said. “You could definitely see some big names in this league in the future.”

The league will also have an impact on the development of future talent for the national team, they say.

Value of a domestic pro leagueLacasse and Gilles are focused on playing Mexico as Canada prepares to defend its Olympic title at the Paris Games this summer. But even Mexico provides a window into what this new league could mean for Canadian side.

Mexico’s Liga MX Femenil was founded in 2016 — and Lacasse says the Mexican national team is already reaping the rewards.

“They’ve gotten so much stronger throughout the last four or five years,” Lacasse said. “That’s an attribute to that professional league they started in Mexico. It’s kind of exciting to be able to see a team that’s had that.

“They started building an academy, they started building a pro league and it’s showing with the professional players now.”

Gilles hopes the Canadian league can make a similar impact.

“Mexico has been one of the teams in the past few years to really prove what it is to invest in your team, invest in your home league,” Gilles said. “We need it to be competitive among the national team and have players at the highest level [in Canada].”

After facing Mexico, Bev Priestman’s group is expected to play more exhibitions in Europe during the July 8-16 FIFA international window before the Paris Olympics. Canada opens its tournament July 25 against New Zealand.

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