Professional Women’s footy is coming to Toronto!
It was another potentially foundational week in Canadian soccer. There were more changes at the top of Canada Soccer. But the game keeps growing, as Project 8 took another big step forward in their aim to launch a much-needed Canadian women’s soccer league in 2025.
As always, we have all the deets on the biggest stories in Canadian footy ahead!
PHOTO: PROJECT8 SPORTS
At long last, women’s professional soccer is coming to Toronto.
On Wednesday morning, Project 8 Sports announced A.F.C Toronto City, the third prospective club in the Canadian professional women’s league, set to begin play in 2025. They join the Vancouver Whitecaps and Calgary Foothills as founding clubs.
The group is led by CEO Helen Ruken, who currently serves as the president of North Toronto SC. Toronto, it goes without saying, is a pretty important market for any Canadian league for television, marketing, populace and access to key partnerships. A.F.C Toronto City will join the league as a founding member for a reported $1 million expansion fee.
Project 8 is hoping to have eight clubs by the time they launch in 2025, with further announcements expected to come later this year. Who comes next remains to be seen, but Windsor might have just joined the mix this week. Ex-NFL tight end Luke Willson (the one with the world-class flow, not Owen Wilson’s brother) tweeted at Dallas Cowboy and fellow Windsor-local Tyrone Crawford about the possibility of starting a team.
This past week Project 8 also announced DoorDash Canada as a founding partner. That instantly makes them our food delivery service of choice (until someone gives us a bag to say otherwise). Companies seem to be cutting the check for Project 8, however, with Canadian Tire, CIBC and Air Canada all previously being announced as partners.
We’re excited to see what comes next for the league and it’s newest founding club.
Other news this week
SOURCE: PAT RYDER / DARBY MAGAZINE
6️⃣ Your friends at DARBY were blessed with the opportunity to design a 1-of-1 TFC Community Kit. While we weren’t one of the ‘Starting XI’, we did our thing and paid homage to the pitches across the city where footy dreams are born.
🔴 Speaking of the boys in red (grey these days), Toronto FC got a dub at BMO on Saturday over NYCFC. The newest member of the club CJ Sapong got the start and wasted no time opening his account by scoring the only goal of the match.
🔵 Meanwhile, in Kansas City, CF MTL walk away with a 2-0 win over Sporting KC. Montreal found some swagger and momentum after an abysmal start to the season. Finalement.
🌊 Vancouver Whitecaps hosted the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening and their undefeated streak continued with the game ending 0-0.
⚽️ Another CPL weekend kicked off with Halifax Wanderers hosting VFC in a battle of East vs. West, and just like the hip-hop beef in the 90s, it ended in a 1-1 draw. Back in the capital, Atletico Ottawa lost at home to the recently sold York United. Despite the developments off the pitch, York were able to walk away with a 1-0 win over Ottleti. That Molham Babouli freekick, class. Valour visited Cavalry and walked away with a 1-1 draw at ATCO Field. Lastly, Pacific hosted Forge resulting in three points for the visitors, and placing Forge in 3rd place.
🏟️ FC Barcelona Feminí advanced to their fourth final in five years. Yes, fourth final in five years. Absolute beasts. In front of over 75,000 fans at the Camp Nou, Barca tied 1-1 with Chelsea, winning on aggregate. Unfortunate news for Canadians Jessie Fleming and recently-injured Kadeisha Buchanan. However, for European women’s football, it’s tremendous growth.
💰Canadian Soccer Business acquires York United. CSB purchased the club from the Baldassarra family this past week. Owning a football club is expensive, especially for a private family business. The acquisition of the club by the CSB may be an indication that York is a strong and worthy market, or perhaps the CPL doesn't want another FC Edmonton situation.
👥 Canada Soccer announced a new transition leadership team last Tuesday while they seek to fill the role of General Secretary. Led by former Canada captain Jason DeVos, the team includes Kelly Brown, Mathieu Chamberland, Sean Heffernan and Paulo Senra. Hopefully a sign of more positive change as the federation continues to restructure.
SOURCE: HANIN MAZRI / DARBY MAGAZINE
🤕 More injuries for Canadians abroad this week as Kadeisha Buchanan was seen in a walking boot for Chelsea’s loss to Barcelona in the Champions League semi. Joining her on the growing list of injuries is Julia Grosso who picked up a thigh injury during training and is expected to miss two weeks.
🤕 On the mens side, Alistair Johnston hobbled off in the second half of Celtic’s semi-final win over Rangers and returned in walking boot and crutches. No timeline yet for his return. Finally, in the latest blow in a string of Ls for Bayern Munich, Alphonso Davies will miss the rest of the Bundesliga season. He suffered a “sustained muscle bundle injury” and could potentially return to action with his Canada squad for the Concacaf Nations League Semi-final versus Panama.
🔄 In slightly less tragic news, absolute stud muffin and CPL come-up Lukas MacNaughton was traded to Nashville this week. TFC traded MacNaughton plus cash to Nashville SC for CJ Sapong, and will be joining fellow Canuck and TFC alum Jacob Shaffelburg.
🥇As you’re likely already aware, Jonathan David is a beast. JD is currently sitting on 21 goals this season, only a goal away from Kylian Mbappe. In other words, the Ligue 1 Golden Boot aw/ard is still up for grabs. Can the Iceman from Ottawa man pull it off? We think so. Also, he’s getting massive links with EPL sides Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham ahead of the summer transfer window.
🇮🇹 In another massive transfer rumour, Tajon Buchanan may be leaving Belgium for Northern Italy. Specifically, he may soon be donning the famous blue and black of Inter Milan. The GOAT/prophet of transfer news Fabrizio Romano tweeted it himself, so you know it’s legit.
Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from our very own Ketsia N’kumbu.
📚 What to read
Our friends across the pond at Mundial recently launched their 25th issue: “The Football Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. This edition goes in-depth into the world of pick-up football: the culture, the unique structure, the icons and the myths. Available for purchase here.
📺 What to watch
HERSTORY. Arsenal Women just sold out 60,000 seats at the Emirates Stadium for their Champions League clash against Wolfsburg. CANWNT/CANXNT goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo and her club are 90 minutes away from booking a ticket to the Netherlands to face Barcelona. This will be one for the history books you won’t want to miss. 12:45 PM ET on DAZN
🎧 What to listen to
Have you heard about the mysterious Premier League baller-by-day and rapper-by-night sensation Dide? Well if you haven't, it’s time to get familiar. This rap sensation who glides on any drill or hip-hop beat while balling in the top leagues is taking the music world by storm. Despite a million views on his latest music video, people have yet to figure out who this character is. Nketiah, Ojo, Maguire? Who knows. One thing is for sure, the guy can rap.
✅ Who to follow
My pick for this week is STADE, the newly-launched international football agency and media platform based in New York City, founded by legendary shooter/director duo Matthew Stith and Ethan White. Follow their journey here.