June 3rd Edition

The Northern Super League has arrived!

It is a truly historic week in Canadian football. 

The Northern Super League is born and a world-class professional women’s football league feels one significant step closer to coming to Canada. This week not only did we find out what the ‘Project 8’ league is going to be called but a number of exciting details about its inaugural season, including locations, team names and even some more roster rules.

Plus the Canadian Championship is down to a thrilling final four, the CanWNT have kicked off their summer series with a dub, Jesse Marsch named his first squad as CanMNT manager and all the biggest and best from Canadian footy ahead in The Northern Pitch.

Project 8

⭐️ The Northern Super League is here

Graphic: NSL

The ESPN W Canada Summit hosted a game-changing moment in Canadian soccer history this week as Project 8 revealed that the league will be called the ‘Northern Super League’.

While that was the highest-profile announcement this week from the league it likely wasn’t the most significant. The NSL also revealed its final two clubs for its inaugural season, which will be based in Montréal and Ottawa.

Finding an ownership group in Québec has been an issue for past and current Canadian national leagues, so to be able to do it in the league’s first year is a huge. Isabèle Chevalier and Jean-François Crevier will own the club.

Last week, it was revealed that the league would have a highly competitive salary cap of $1.5 million. This week, Diana Matheson announced that the league will also have a marquee player rule, similar to designated players in MLS. That will be crucial in the league’s stated goal of convincing at least one CanWNT player to join each club in its first year.

Finally, we now know what at least one club will be called, as the Calgary Foothills-owned club was unveiled as Calgary Wild FC — complete with some pretty slick owl branding. They will play at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, home of the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders. It was also revealed that the Vancouver Whitecaps entrant will have a different name than the MLS side.

This is only the start, more branding, roster and logo announcements are expected in the coming weeks. But as the league’s tagline says, be where it all begins — grab some merch and support the launch. Can it be April 2025 already?! (Jk, we kinda want to see Copa América and the Olympics first).


🏆 2024 CanChamp reaches its final four

Photo: Pacific FC

Get ready for more drama, because the Canadian Championship final is setting up for just that.

With Pacific FC stunning CPL league-leaders Atlético Ottawa on Wednesday, the semifinals are set to feature a pair of regional Darbys as it is CPL vs. MLS for the third time in four years.

In the first semifinal, Pacific FC take on the Vancouver Whitecaps in an enticing BC darby. This will be the third time they have met, but the first time that the Island club will get to play at BC Place. Pacific famously defeated the Whitecaps during a thrilling 4-3 at Starlight Stadium in 2021. We even made a doc about it. The winner of that match will host the final.

Meanwhile, in a rematch of the 2020 CanChamp Final, which Toronto FC won on pens, the most successful club in CanChamp history will take on the most successful CPL side, Forge FC. After defeating CF Montreal over two legs in the quarters, Forge will be full of belief that they can pull off the upset again.

The only downside is that we now have to wait until early July before we actually see these matches played. 


🇨🇦 CanMNT drop roster for huge friendlies

Graphic: Canada Soccer

A week ago, Jesse Marsch revealed his first squad as a manager of the Canadian men’s national team, the 26 names who will represent Canada in a main pair of high-profile friendlies against The Netherlands (June 6) and France (June 9).

Marsch called several players back into camp who were not in the squad last time out against Trinidad and Tobago, including Charles-Andreas Brym, Kyle Hiebert, Junior Hoilett, Richie Laryea, Tom McGill and Dominick Zator. Canadian U-20 goalkeeper Grégoire Swiderski, who plays for Bordeaux’s B side, will also be in camp as a training player.

The new Canada gaffer suggested this was an opportunity to see a few European-based options. Specifically, players like the Whitecaps’ Ali Ahmed were mentioned as players who still have a good chance of being part of the Copa squad.

This will be an incredible opportunity for those players, especially some of the younger ballers in the group like Ismaël Koné, Moïse Bombito, Jacob Shaffelburg, Mathieu Choinière and Theo Bair, should they see the pitch, to show what they can do and learn against two of the best national teams in world football.


🇨🇦 Canada take down Mexico in Montréal

Montréal summer is blessed. What adds to that blessing is CanWNT's game against Mexico at Stade Saputo, the first game of the Send-Off series.

It's a highly technical game. The first half may have gone scoreless, but it was nonetheless good football. Sharp passing and accurate crosses dictated the fluidity of the game. That is something this stadium was not getting for CFM before the midweek DC game. Ball movement on both sides was good.

With all the passing, the finishing was left to be desired. In the first half, Canada’s finishing clearly indicated what was missing. They defended well and countered precisely, but it was missing a spark in the final third. Perhaps Marie-Yasmine Alidou is that missing piece?

Evelyne Viens came off the bench and changed the game. The game changed as soon as the Serie A winner stepped on the pitch. Mexico had no answer for her. Viens’ runs and chance creations made Canada’s attack come alive. She assisted both goals of the game.

Adriana Leon and Cloé Lacasse scored for Canada. Leon started the match and had been attacking the box and prowling for a goal. She finally found the net on a counter with a cheeky touch to control the ball. Lacasse scored on a masterful timed run to beat the offside and to cooly finish in the final third—highly technical goals.

It was a good day. CanWNT left Stade Saputo with a 2-0 win over Mexico.

Shoutout to the Mexican fans. They are the best fans in Concacaf and always bring a massive vibe. Sí se puede!

Canucks Abroad

🌍 Everybody wants Jonathan David

Photo: Lille OSC

🇮🇹 Jonathan David to Atletico Madrid? It was Arsenal, then AC Milan and now Atletico Madrid. JD has been on many radars, and until a solid lead happens, he will remain on the radar. One thing is certain: clubs need strikers, and Atletico needs one. Maybe one day he returns to Atletico Ottawa via Madrid? Fingers crossed.

🇮🇹 Is Roma interested in Ismaël Koné and Jonathan David? Well, well, well, a new club has joined the JD race. Lille has set the price at €40 million, which is not a problem for Roma since his wage is relatively low at €2 million. Roma’s only competition for JD in Italy is AC Milan. But AS Roma also wants a toonie by aiming to get Ismaël Koné. JD’s reps also represent Koné and have brought the Montrealer’s name to the discussion table. Roma are reportedly interested in Koné as he fits what Roma are missing in the midfield. If this transfer goes through, expect a few more Roma kits at your next pick-up session.

🇩🇪 Phonzy to stay in Munich? Former Manchester City captain and Burnley coach Vincent Kompany becomes Bayern Munich’s new coach. The Belgian was keen on retaining Phonzy in Munich and has opened extension talks in the past few days. With Real Madrid opting to play the long game and acquire Phonzy for free, Munich is keen on negotiating an extension. Davies needs to secure the bag in the foreseeable future.

🇩🇰 David — no, not that one — also on the move? 22-year-old Promise David (no relation to Jonathan, who we’ve already mentioned twice above) has been lighting up the Estonian top flight this season, having already scored 12 goals in 14 league appearances (21 in 19, across all competitions) for Kalju. That record has attracted the attention of Danish Superliga side Randers, who, according to Tipsbladet, could be in with a transfer bid of up to €500,000 for the Brampton man. Kalju’s club president, for his part, has cooled those comments though, confirming the interest but saying the two clubs remain apart to SoccernetEE.

🇸🇪 Derek Cornelius rescues a draw. The former Whitecap headed home his second goal of the season for Malmö on Saturday, rescuing a 2-2 draw away at Brommapojkarna. It was a sweet one for DC, with the goal coming in the sixth of seven minutes added on in second-half stoppage time. Malmö remain seven points clear atop the Allsvenskan, though having also played an extra game.

😔 Columbus Crew fall short in the Champions Cup final. Spanish-speaking clubs have defeated two teams in yellow and black at a cup final. Wilfried Nancy and his team were defeated by Pachuca 3-0. Jacen-Russell Rowe and Mohammed Farsi will not lift the Champions Cup—shout-out to Farsi for getting the start and putting in a shift at the final.

Canucks at Home

🏡 Should Tani Oluwaseyi get called up to CanMNT?

Image: MLS

🤔 Should CanMNT call up Tani Oluwaseyi? The young forward has been having a solid season with seven goals. Oluwaseyi opened the game with a thumping header and contributed an assist to set up Minnesota’s 3-1 win over Sporting KC. If Canada does not call up the in-form striker, they may lose this talent to Nigeria.

🪓 A four-point week for the Timbers. Phil Neville’s duo of Canadian goalkeepers split shifts this week, ahead of Maxime Crépeau’s call to camp. It was arguably former CFMTL shotstopper James Pantemis who shone brightest this week for #RCTID though, saving an early Sebastián Driussi penalty in a 2-0 win over Austin — the Rose City’s first clean sheet of 2024. Kamal Miller also saw all 180 minutes this week while Zac McGraw was on the bench for both.

⚓️ The Nova Scotia Messi™️. Who needs the Argentinian one when Kentville’s own also comes with a mullet? Jacob Shaffelburg opened his MLS account for the season, scoring the insurance in Nashville’s 2-0 midweek win against Cincinnati. The goal? A daisy-cutter smashed in past Roman Celentano at the near post.

Other news

📰 In other news this week

Photo: Men in Blazers

🇬🇱 Greenland in Concacaf. The Danish territory has submitted an application to play in Concacaf. Greenland is on the move and aims to expand and improve their footballing infrastructure. If accepted, Greenland will be the 42nd member of Concacaf.

🥶 Vassili Cremanzidis leaves CF MTL. More drama with bleu-blanc-noir. Olivier Renard’s deputy sports director followed suit. Cremanzidis was Renard’s right-hand man at the club and has been working at CF since 2019. Cremanzidis and Renard left the club due to tension with club CEO Gabriel Gervais. CFM has no front-office sporting department. Gabriel Gervais says he’s operating on what Saputo has mandated, but is he being set up as a scapegoat?

🔴 All of the MLS clubs had midweek games. Let’s start with Toronto FC. TFC travelled to Philadelphia on Wednesday. This game was even-keeled, as both teams couldn’t unlock the other and ended 0-0. On Saturday, DC United hosted TFC in a fiery match. Toronto had a two-nil lead all game until DC United returned in the second half to tie the game 2-2. Bernadeschi picked up a red card despite having a stellar performance. Silver lining: the combination of Osorio, Kerr, Etienne and Bernadeschi is scary.

🔵 It’s been a good week for Sunusi Ibrahim. CFM is starting to feel optimistic with a midweek 4-2 win against DC United, with Ibrahim scoring a brace. CFM is without four key forwards due to injury, and Sunusi Ibrahim is making his case as the first-choice striker. MTL travelled to Philly for a wild game. Sunusi scored a banger in the game's opening minute. A red card was issued for each team. Samuel Piette scored a goal to end the game 2-2. What a game.

🌊 Vancouver Whitecaps continue to have good vibes. Ryan Gauld is ridiculous. He scored a brace in Vancouver’s 2-1 away win at Kansas City. This past weekend, Vancouver hosted the Colorado Rapids and repeated their midweek result with a 2-1 win. The Caps squeak in a last-minute goal from a Damir Kreilach goal assisted by Ryan Gault.

🎫 Side note: BC Place ought to be sold out every game. MTL has been poor, but Stade Saputo has been sold out or at near total capacity all season. Vancouverites, support your club. They’re playing the best football in Canada. Ticket prices are as low as $30.

🔨 Déjà vu in Hamilton. For the third time this season in the 905 Derby, Forge would spot three on York as they celebrated their Pride Match on Saturday. Kyle Bekker kicked it all off after a botched Thomas Vincensini clearance landed perfectly for the skipper. Tristan Borges would curl in a delightful goal minutes later, with Daniel Parra winding back the clock to Montréal to ice the game in the second half, 3-0, the final.

⚖️ Pacific and Cavalry, equally balanced, again. Rounding into the second quarter of the CPL season, Pacific and Cavalry returned to Starlight this weekend. Steffen Yeates pulled out his inner Robin van Persie after just six minutes for the first goal. Tobias Warschewski would get the last laugh again though, slotting home all alone at the back post to rescue another point for the Horsemen in a 1-1 draw.

🏟️ Never count Ottawa out. With a barnstormer at TD Place on Sunday, it’s time again to ask — what is it with these two sides? Riley Ferrazzo would start this one off with a tiki-taka goal that would make Tata Martino and Inter Miami proud, before Tiago Coimbra made it two with 15 to go. Ollie Bassett would fish one out to get Ottleti on the board… and then LIMBS. Alberto Zapater, 111th minute goal. Oh, and Coimbra got a red, and there were about four more misses as well. 2-2, all square, at the final whistle.

⛈️ Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening. Valour was all set to welcome Vancouver onto a brand new turf field at the newly-renamed Princess Auto Stadium. Then the weather struck, delaying kickoff for almost two hours. The sun — and Jordi Swibel — eventually came out to play, though. The Aussie would bag his third and fourth goals of the season, playing front and centre in Valour’s second win of the season, 2-0, over the visiting Eagles.


🚨 CanWNT Ticket Giveaway Winner

To celebrate the CanWNT summer send-off series, we did a giveaway over on our Instagram page for 2 lower bowl tickets to see Canada take on Mexico at BMO Field.

The winner will be announced on the @darbymag Instagram page today! If you missed it, make sure to give us a follow so you don’t miss out next time

Northern Picks

This week's picks come from Erik Edwardson. He’s a semi-professional soccer player and creative currently playing for TSS Rovers in League1 BC. He’s obsessed with the beautiful game and has both a YouTube channel (Erik Edwardson) and a clothing brand (@innermotivesca) dedicated to it.

📺 What to watch

Manchester United & England national team legend Rio Ferdinand has a YouTube channel titled “Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE”. I get a lot of my footy news from their videos. Rio’s segment “Vibe with Five”, which recaps every Premier League match week, is a staple for me during the season.

🎧 What to listen to

I currently have Partynextdoor in heavy rotation. PND is a Canadian R&B singer-songwriter from Ontario. His latest album, P4, as well as PARTYMOBILE, are favourites of mine. If you’re in need of late night driving music, look no further!

Who to follow

I am a huge footy memorabilia fanatic and collector (mainly classic boots and match balls that I remember seeing the pros use during my childhood). For anyone with similar interests, @jona.leon7 has one of the best football boot collections I’ve ever seen including some rare 1/1 samples that were never released to the public. For match balls, it doesn’t get much better than @official_matchball_collector.

🧢 What to buy

If you’re looking for some fresh, footy-inspired trucker hats and clothing for this summer, check out my brand Inner Motives (@innermotivesca on Instagram). Drop 3 coming soon!

You can follow Erik on Instagram here.