League2 Ontario Gets Its First Club: The Sudbury Cyclones
With promotion and relegation coming to League1 Ontario next year, the three-tiered division has just confirmed the first team to join its third tier: the Sudbury Cyclones.
The brand new expansion side will call the James Jerome Sports Complex home along the city’s south end. Their official logo is set to be announced in the fall, along with some of the competition they’ll face in the upcoming semi-pro league.
All new League1 Ontario expansion sides will start from League2, which falls underneath both the League1 Ontario Championship and League1 Ontario Premier Division – but if they can succeed down there, promotion could see them rise up to Ontario’s top semi-professional division and fight for a spot in the Canadian Championship.
The expansion side is owned by SW Sports and Entertainment, who hope to create a matchday experience that will prove a big draw in The Big Nickel. Helmed by owner Dario Zulich and COO Bob Johnston, the duo are well-familiar with the sporting ventures in the area, already having stakes in the Sudbury Wolves Hockey Club, Sudbury Five Basketball Club, and Sudbury Spartans Football Club.
The name behind the team stems from a former National Soccer League side founded in 1976. They operated for five years and, like their new namesake, fought for promotion after starting in a lower division. They succeeded in that before financial issues saw the original Sudbury Cyclones close up shop in 1981.
The inaugural League2 side will focus on local player recruitment and aims to field a youth academy that includes U-14, U-16, and U-18 teams for both boys and girls, while a men’s U-19 team will offer a direct pathway up to the first team level.
While the Cyclones won’t field a women’s team in League1 Ontario right from the get-go, the club hopes to introduce such a side in the future.
“Top flight soccer is back in our city, and we could not be more excited to bring the brand and team to life over the coming months,” adds Cyclones Sporting Director Connor Vande Weghe. “The challenge of competing near the top level in the province is an exciting one for us.”
League1 Ontario had been impressed by the ownership group’s track record of running several sports teams in the Sudbury area, making the rebirth of the Cyclones a logical place for League2 to begin its team announcements.
“The ownership group showed great passion and ambition to raise the level of soccer in the city, and will bring a professional feel to League2 given their proven track record of running several successful sports teams in the community,” adds L1O Managing Director Matthew Braithwaite.
“We are looking forward to the Cyclones taking to the field in 2024 and working with them further to grow the game in Ontario.”