The upsurge of the Canadian national team has been mirrored by the inaugural season of the Canadian Premier League, which will decide a maiden champion over the next week
Canada’s defeat of USA earlier this month was seen as a pivotal moment for the men’s national team, their first victory against their southern rivals in 34 years. Another critical point in the country’s relationship with soccer will come when Cavalry and Forge battle it out to become the Canadian Premier League’s first ever champions.
The two-legged CPL final is the culmination of the inaugural season of the competition and its outcome will be an indication of the league’s success. Five years in the making, the league has seen more than 400,000 attendees this season, including 17,611 for Forge’s opening fixture. Average attendance for the year has been a healthy 4,279.
Part of the planning has seen organizers target the return of successful Canadian exports including Marcus Haber and David Edgar, who have enjoyed solid careers in the UK. Teams are limited to seven foreigners, with only five permitted to start any game. Edgar moved to England aged 14 to follow his dream, eventually playing in the Premier League for Newcastle.
“It’s been in the pipeline for a long time and I knew a lot about it because I was one of the ones they wanted to come back because I’ve been involved in the national team, I’ve been abroad and played at a high level,” Edgar explains.
Joining the CPL in its first season was not always part of the plan for Edgar due to “unfinished business” in England. The defender, however, was impressed by what he heard and eventually signed up. The CPL even asked for his advice due to his experience in Europe.
Fans have always been there but they’ve never had the chance to pick a team from where they are from to support