TORONTO – Wednesday, May 17 - The CPSL is no more. It’s gone. It exists in the record books only, having been launched in 1997 with the first playing season the following year.
Its place has been taken by the CSL – the Canadian Soccer League - announced at a press conference in Toronto City Hall early this afternoon.
“It’s a new league,” explained Cary Kaplan, commissioner of old CPSL and now commissioner of the Canadian Soccer League in announcing the many changes that have taken place to give the league a new-look logo, a new culture, new rules, even a new relationship with the governing soccer bodies Ontario Soccer Association and the CSA.
“The CSL has greater autonomy following many discussions with the OSA and CSA during the past six months and that means the new league will have more room and able to develop stronger and be a force in Canadian soccer.
Kaplan told the gathering that most CSL games will be on weekends and games will be scheduled to be more satisfactory in North America and will not follow a schedule similar to those prepared for Europe.
“We think MLS coming to Toronto is great. So is the USL and we have no illusions about our place, our level of soccer. The important thing is we can all do things together as professional soccer in Canada and that leads to greater things for the game,” he said.
The Canadian Soccer League intends to develop further its Open Canada Cup and has included the USL’s Toronto Lynx this year. Eventually, the competition will result in a Canadian club champion to step into the world arena.
Kaplan expressed a cautious approach to expansion. “I believe we have learned a lot from the past,” he said, referring to leagues that have come and gone due mostly to the high cost of quick expansion in large geographic areas. “We will be moving along, but at a pace that makes sense for the league” he said
The CSL begins its five-month schedule of league, cup and playoff games this Friday at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke when Serbian White Eagles and Italia Shooters kick of an International Division at 7.30 p.m. There will be one game from the league’s National Division on Saturday when London City travels to Windsor Stadium for a game with the Border Stars, an 8 p.m. kickoff.
The Open Canada Cup gets underway with two Preliminary Round games involving amateur teams this weekend. Ottawa St. Anthony Italia is at home to Montreal Panellinios at the University of Ottawa on Saturday and there is one other game to be played at Brian Timmis Stadium in Hamilton, it’s Hamilton Serbs vs. GS United of Toronto, a 5 p.m. kickoff.