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Women’s Pro Soccer To Plant Flag In Montreal

By on May 28, 2024 0 1028 Views

Canada’s professional women’s soccer league will launch next year with six teams, and at least one of them will call Quebec home.

Project 8 founder Diana Matheson has confirmed Montreal as a launch team, with the city set to join five other clubs as Project 8 establishes a professional women’s league throughout the country.

Flashback: Women’s Pro Soccer Coming To Canada

The team is backed by Isabele Chevalier and Jean-Francois Crevier. Chevalier is a veteran entrepreneur-investor – fans may have seen her on French edition of Dragons Den – while Crevier owns a an automotive and commercial lubricant manufacture and distributor of significant stature, adding big capital to the table.

Chevalier had put money where her mouth was even before the success of the PWHL, which has captivated fans in the country through its inaugural season and features three Canadian teams in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.

Soccer is a different beast in the Canadian market, but one they’re banking is on the rise.

“Yes, it’s women’s soccer, but there’s also a movement with that,” said Chevalier to Radio Canada earlier today. “When we embarked on the adventure, the hockey team had not yet been announced. You now see the craze, and the timing is right.”

Canada got its own men’s professional soccer league back in 2019, a time when Chevalier says might have worked for the women’s game, but also might not have. The men’s league has grown and puts a nice product on the pitch, but is still awaiting a team in Quebec and had to shoulder a pandemic just one year after launching.

“Today, it is high time that sport starts to have greater equity, that people recognize girls as athletes with the respect and recognition they deserve, and that they can make a living from their sport.”

Chevalier and Crevier haven’t kickstarted this project along: Amy Walsh has provided her experience as an athlete in this space, while former Alouettes President Patrick Boivin has added a sports management perspective.

The Montreal team is in its early stages and still awaits identity, colours, and a logo, with some of its identity set to be teased before its main launch set for September. While the team will be ready for 2025, a permanent home won’t be: they will play on different fields for year one as a stadium solution comes to fruition.

Chevalier says it will build upon a community-based identity. To that point, they plan to offer supporters the possibility to become minority owners in the team, though they are still working out the processes behind that.

Canada Diana Matheson
Photo Credit: Martin Bazyl

“It’s huge for us to have two entrepreneurs working here with us,” adds league co-founder Diana Matheson. “They understand the vision, they understand this opportunity we have to pioneer a new sector: professional women’s soccer in one of the strongest women’s sports markets in the world. They also understand that it goes beyond sport and that it opens doors not only for players, but for referees, coaches, businesswomen, sports therapists, journalists. The entire ecosystem benefits.”

Project 8 has teased today as one for large announcements, with their own formal news drop on Montreal’s addition still yet to drop. With Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto having been unveiled as launch teams with Halifax having surfaced in March, there’ll be one more as-yet-unannounced team still to join.

Project 8 is expected to unveil its own branding in the very near future, launching with all six teams in April 2025.

Source: Radio Canada

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