NEW TEAMS UNDER DISCUSSION
The Canadian Professional Soccer League's deadline of midnight, Thursday, January 15 to receive new franchise applications to kickoff the 2004 season has come and gone and the final league formation is expected to be announced soon.
The CPSL has so far awarded a franchise to a group in Windsor, Ontario and discussions with others are taking place.
Adding Windsor to the loop and shedding Ottawa Wizards and Durham Flames puts the count at 12 teams as the time for schedule preparation approaches.
Although based in the Canadian city with home games at Windsor Stadium, the only new team accepted so far has strong ties with its U.S. neighbours and will have fan support from the Detroit area and other parts of Michigan. There will be one or two home games in the 2004 schedule played just south of the border.
The principal force behind the Windsor entry is Jeff Hodgson, a former outdoor and indoor player at Detroit, Tucson, Arizona and Windsor, with coaching experience at Western Michigan University where in 1995 he took the university women�s team to the U.S. national championship.
Other owners are John Dowhan, a schoolteacher and now assistant soccer coach at the University of Windsor and Gary Maccagnone a successful businessman in the trucking industry.
Hodgson and Maccagnone both already have ownership in youth soccer in Michigan and strong ties to the soccer community with Tecumseh and La Salle youth soccer clubs in the Windsor area.
In making the announcement, CPSL president Vincent Ursini welcomed the group to the CPSL, which has considered several new franchises in Ontario and Quebec recently.
�We believe this new group is interested in entering professional soccer for the long term and that kind of dedication with strong local support both sides of the border makes the organization an ideal and attractive addition to our league,� he said today.
The 2004 season will get underway in May, with games through to early October. An expanded Open Canada Cup competition is expected to take prominence during the first half of the campaign with the Rogers Cup CPSL championship playoffs at season�s end.