Professional soccer is coming to Vancouver Island and we now know the name of the team.
The Pacific Football Club — or Pacific FC — is the newest addition to the Canadian Premier League. The team name was announced Friday in Esquimalt, B.C.
"Soccer is such an important sport in this country these days," said Canadian Premier League (CPL) Commissioner, David Clanachan.
"It's the fastest growing sport … it's equally played by as many men and women as it is by boys and girls."
The CPL granted Vancouver Island entry into the domestic men's soccer league at the beginning of June and the CPL itself expects to launch next spring with eight to 10 teams.
Clanachan said Canada's three Major League Soccer teams have done a "phenomenal" job playing the sport, but they aren't considered truly Canadian teams because they play in an American league.
The CPL is a league built "for Canadians, by Canadians," said Clanachan, and with the opening of the Pacific FC, it now spans the nation coast to coast.
He said the CPL has specific rules that dictate 50 per cent of a team's players must be Canadian.
Why Vancouver Island?
Clanachan said the local support on Vancouver Island for a professional soccer club has been overwhelming. The team will play out of Westhills Stadium in Langford, within British Columbia's Capital Regional District.
Langford Mayor Stewart Young was passionate about soccer during the negotiations surrounding a team being headquartered there, said Clanachan.
"It was nice to see that happen because normally there are a lot of roadblocks," he said.
"It's great to work hand in hand with municipalities and that's something we've tried to do across the country."
Large crowds turned out at the team name announcement in Esquimalt on Friday. Clanachan said it was heartening to see the support.
"At the end of the day, it's the community that owns the club. Not necessarily the owners or the league, we're just stewards of it, really."
With files from All Points West
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