Professional soccer is set to kick off in the Township of Langley next spring with Vancouver 2023 debuting as the Canadian Premier League’s ninth franchise.
The CPL announced Vancouver, Saskatchewan, and Windsor were chosen as expansion locations for the professional soccer league in November, and on April 13, Vancouver 2023 announced it will debut for the 2023 season with Willoughby Community Park serving as the soccer club’s home turf.
The team is owned by SixFive Sports & Entertainment LP (SixFive), a Canadian-based investment fund.
“We are very excited to announce our home field with the Township of Langley and to bring the Canadian Premier League to Langley Events Centre,” said Rob Friend, President of Vancouver 2023. “This partnership allows our continued commitment to invest in local communities, and we are ready to serve the Fraser Valley with an exciting and intimate professional soccer experience.”
The professional soccer league has teams from coast-to-coast and serves as a pathway for players to develop and showcase their skills while helping to grow the game and build support for the sport.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Township of Langley and Metro Vancouver into the CPL family,” said Glen Johnson, Executive Vice President, Canadian Premier League. “The popularity and excitement surrounding soccer in Canada has never been greater. Having a Canadian professional club playing at Willoughby Community Park will be a key driver in the development of Canadian talent in the region. It will also open the door to many new and exciting opportunities for the region’s passionate soccer community.”
“The Township of Langley is pleased to welcome Vancouver 2023. Sports help us create healthy and successful communities and having the CPL at Willoughby Community Park gives residents an exciting opportunity to see professional soccer close to home and can help inspire youth players to take up the sport,” said Mayor Jack Froese.
Willoughby Community Park is also home to the Langley United Soccer Association (LUSA) and club members shared their excitement with the news.
“Having a professional football team right in the heart of our own player development farm is something that we have dreamed about for years. Now that this is a reality with the new CPL franchise it will aspire our young players to strive to be the best they can be and hopefully one day soon a Langley United youth player will run out in the uniform of the new CPL franchise club. We love our Vancouver Whitecaps but to have a professional CPL team right in our community is something really special.” said Mark Parker, LUSA Tecnical Director.
Marcel Horn, LUSA Ececutive Director shared, “We are thrilled for our community at the arrival of a truly Canadian Professional soccer league right here in Langley. The CPL will open a whole new world of possibilities for the youth within our club, the Fraser Valley and beyond and inspire the next level of commitment to this wonderful sport. I am thankful we have a Township who is proactive in seeing the importance such a franchise can play in building community pride and engagement with the outdoors and has worked so hard to see the vision into reality. LUSA looks forward to expanding our player pathways and working together with Six Five Sports to continue to grow Canada’s global soccer footprint.”
The league’s matches are broadcast exclusively via the CPL’s media partner, One Soccer and are available on OneSoccer.ca, Telus (channel 980) and FuboTV.
About the CPL
The CPL was founded in 2017 and launched two years later with seven teams: Cavalry FC (Foothills County, Alta.), FC Edmonton (Edmonton, Alta.), Forge FC (Hamilton, Ont.), HFX Wanderers FC (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Pacific FC (Langford, B.C.), Valour FC (Winnipeg, Man.) and York United FC (Toronto, Ont.). Atletico Ottawa (Ottawa, Ont.) joined the league in 2020.
Under the current format, each team plays 28 regular season games with the qualifying teams then competing in the playoffs with the champion also earning a berth in the CONCACAF League where they face teams from Central America and the Caribbean.
The league is also focused on providing a high-level opportunity for Canadians and to improve the talent level across the country. To do so, some of the rules in place include a minimum quota of Canadian players on the roster and in the starting line-up, certain requirements for domestic under-21 players, and a Canadian university draft.
The 2022 season began on April 7 and runs until October with Pacific FC the current champions.