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Project 8 Launch

Canadian Pro Women’s League Set To Reveal Launch Teams And League Branding

By on April 4, 2024 0 899 Views

The planned women’s professional soccer league called Project 8 – a first of its kind in Canada – has confirmed that a total of six women’s club have formally submitted their applications to Canada Soccer, seeking professional club admission in the upcoming 2024 Annual Members Meeting ahead of the league’s own kickoff in 2025.

In the meantime, Project 8 Sports is expected to unveil its formal league branding soon, shedding its temporary moniker as it establishes exactly what Canada’s own professional women’s league will look like.

In tandem with that, club branding for the league’s six launch teams and future partner announcements are expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

“The unveiling of our league and club brands marks another pivotal moment in our journey, and we can’t wait to share the launch details with our fans,” says league co-founder Diana Matheson, who had announced her intentions to kickstart the league back in 2022.

“These brands represent our identity, our values, and our aspirations. As we prepare for this significant reveal, we’re reminded of the unity and strength within our community. Our league and its identity symbolize our collective ambition to elevate women’s soccer to new heights.”

Canada Diana Matheson
Photo Credit: Martin Bazyl

The league formally launched with two clubs committed to the project in the Vancouver Whitecaps and Calgary Foothills, with a brand new club called AFC Toronto also arriving to cover a crucial part of the Canadian market.

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There will be three teams joining the already-known clubs on the pitch when the league launches in 2025, though those destinations haven’t been formally unveiled. Last month we identified one set for the Atlantic by way of Halifax, where it was first leaked that the number of launch teams was locked in for six. There was a trademark recently filed for a team named the ‘Halifax Tides’, though it wasn’t clear if this was related to Project 8’s venture.

Hokulani Limited also announced it had purchased franchise rights in the league, though Project 8 has kept quiet on the buy-in from the company.

“It’s been an incredibly rewarding journey building this league over the past year – and we’re committed to keeping fans updated” says league co-founder Diana Matheson, who told us last year that she’d like to see some more eastern direction in club locations, with the Prairies and Quebec having been specifically targeted, too.

La Belle Province is an area that has eluded Canada’s top flight men’s league thus far, though it’s unclear if Project 8 has managed to land a team there.

(Left to right) Helena Ruken, Chief Executive Officer A.F.C. Toronto City; Diana Matheson Co-Founder and CEO of Project 8; Shilpa Arora, General Manager, DoorDash Canada.

The six teams Matheson has secured for her league will have a busy year ahead of them, with player signings and ticket pre-sales set to kick off in a matter of months. Matheson and the league leadership around her will continue working towards additional markets for beyond the league’s inaugural season, too.

“We started with the belief that there were partners and investors who would recognize the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a women’s pro soccer league that would not only change the pathways and futures of Canadian players, but reshape the Canadian sport industry and its fans,” adds Matheson.

“Over this past year, that belief has shifted to reality. An incredible group of individuals, who will be introducing themselves over the coming weeks, have stepped up as partners and owners. I am deeply humbled by the support we’ve received from leaders across Canada and throughout the soccer community.”

The league had originally intended to launch with eight teams split between east and west conferences, through with just six clubs accounted for it’s unclear if conferences will be included from the get-go.

The venture has landed high-profile corporate partners in Air Canada, CIBC, Canadian Tire, and DoorDash, with Matheson having told us that the league was seeking up to eight founding partners, with clubs being able to add their own local and front-of-jersey sponsors to drive individual club revenue streams.

With Project 8 confirming that the latter half of the league’s launch teams will be unveiled in the coming weeks alongside the league’s own permanent branding, it’s a pivotal time for Canadian soccer fans from coast-to-coast. Expect more news on the Canadian women’s game to follow soon.

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