May 23, 2024
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Project8 AFC Toronto City

Project 8 Adds Team In Toronto

By on April 26, 2023 0 2133 Views

The planned professional women’s soccer league slated to launch in 2025 will include a team in Toronto.

This morning saw Project 8 announce the arrival of AFC Toronto City, who join the Vancouver Whitecaps and Calgary Foothills in a league that aims to have eight clubs ready for kickoff in two years’ time.

The league’s first Ontario-based club will be helmed by female executive team that includes Helena Ruken as CEO, Brenda Ha as COO, and Jill Burgin as CMO, who collectively represent a leadership team that deep roots in the North Toronto Soccer Club.

The NTSC has fielded a women’s League1 Ontario team out of Downsview Park since 2021, while the club itself has been in operation since 1980. Now, however, two of its boardroom (Ruken and Ha) are ready to join the professional game, while Burgin brings in the marketing angle.

“As one of the founding clubs for Project 8, we are excited to be the first to bring women’s professional soccer to Toronto,” states Helena Ruken, who is also the President of the North Toronto Soccer Club. “We are a group of passionate advocates for equity, diversity, and inclusion, and we’re excited to rally even more partners, supporters, and our local community to join us on this journey towards kicking off women’s professional soccer in Toronto.”

AFC Toronto City will unveil its identity and crest later on this year. At the moment, it’s not known where AFC Toronto City will call home within Toronto.

Helena Ruken, Chief Executive Officer AFC Toronto City; Diana Matheson Co-Founder and CEO of Project 8; Shilpa Arora, General Manager, DoorDash Canada.

The league also announced the arrival of DoorDash Canada as its fourth founding partner, with the company joining the likes of CIBC, Air Canada, and Canadian Tire.

“Toronto is a hub for sport, and with AFC Toronto City joining, this is only going to further help to grow the game and build a greater community, and stronger player opportunities in an already talented city,” says league co-founder Diana Matheson. “DoorDash Canada’s commitment and passion for championing women and girls – both on and off the pitch – are values Project 8 shares. This makes them another strong partner to Project 8 and will accelerate our ambition of creating visible opportunities for women in sport.”

The upcoming league is still awaiting a commissioner and, of course, a more formalized name than Project 8. Matheson aims to secure teams from coast-to-coast for the five remaining markets, earmarking the necessity of a teams in central Canada, Quebec, and the Atlantic. It’s estimated that it will cost a club between $8-10 million to buy into the league, which intends to operate to a salary cap and designated player structure similar to MLS, with a minimum salary akin to the NWSL’s $35,000.

More news to come as the story develops.

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