Toronto, Ont. — With the Canadian Premier League currently in the closing months of its inaugural season, the rumour mill has already started looking to the future. Over the past couple of days multiple reports have surfaced related to both expansion and a new format as the fledgling league continues to take form.
According to a tweet posted today by Canadian soccer insider account Glass City, Fraser Valley, British Columbia will join the league in 2021. They will play out of the Langley Events Centre, which recently renovated its soccer field and facilities.
Just got word that the #CanPL club in the Fraser Valley is a done deal. They’re set to join the league in 2021, and I’m hearing they’ll likely play at the Langley Event Centre. Will add more details as they come in. ⚽️— (@GlassCityFC) September 4, 2019
Fraser Valley would become the second BC-based Canadian Premier League side, joining Victoria Island’s Pacific FC. Fraser Valley is a region in the province that includes Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission.
Unless something changes, it appears as though the 2021 season might be the next time the league sees any expansion. Journalist Manuel Veth reported in Forbes that 2021 is when the league could see two-three new expansion sides, while reported clubs from Saskatoon and Quebec look unlikely to join by next season.
Canadian Premier League commissioner David Clanachan has maintained in multiple interviews that the league is speaking to a number of different ownership groups. However, he has also tempered expectations about aggressive expansion in the next couple of years.
The second bit of news this week relates to the league’s structure going forward. The league’s heavy travel has been difficult to manage for some clubs, with injury-riddled HFX Wanderers FC perhaps the best example.
Speaking on Soccer Today! this week, Pacific FC owner Rob Friend said that the league is considering switching to an east and west division in order to combat travel problems. He also said that the league could be doing more in general to improve scheduling.
It will be interesting to see how all of this fits into the league’s stated goal of a single table with promotion and relegation. In that sense the league may take its cues from the non-league regional divisions of English football.