Pro league coming just in time for Calgary women’s soccer players

A recent announcement of a new women's professional soccer league has been met with incredible enthusiasm, especially in Calgary, with Foothills Football Club named as one of the founding franchises.

By Sandra Prusina

A recent announcement from long-time national team player Diana Matheson on a new league has been met with incredible enthusiasm, especially in Calgary, with Foothills Football Club (FC) named as one of the founding franchises.

“We’re at the point in women’s soccer, where if we do not build this league, in 10 years, we are not going to be able to compete on the world stage,” Matheson said Friday in a conversation with CityNews. “Women’s soccer has grown mostly through investment in national team programs. That’s how the game has really come up around the world. Canada has been good at that. We’ve always had enough of a talent pool to beat the best teams in the world. But that’s changed.”

The two-time Olympic medalist says the money has now shifted to the professional game and nations like Mexico, Spain, and England have strong leagues, which have expanded their respective talent pools by hundreds of players. Canada is the only country in the top 10 of the FIFA women’s rankings without a professional league, which Matheson believes is a massive detriment to the future of the sport.

Diana Matheson chats with Sandra Prusina about the exciting news:

Her league aims to kick off in 2025, giving a cushion for plenty of planning time. But it was also a calculated decision by Matheson and her partners at Project 8 to release the information about the league now.

“It’s because of the young girls and women that are playing soccer in this country and are making decisions about their future,” she explained. “We want them to know pro soccer in Canada is coming, and you have somewhere to play as of 2025. So that was really important to us.”

Mya Jones talks to Sandra Prusina about professional women’s soccer in Canada:

And that news is music to the ears of players who suit up for Foothills WFC.

Calgary’s Mya Jones is a senior at the University of Memphis. She plays for Foothills during the summer months as part of the pro-am United Women’s Soccer, but with her college soccer career coming to an end, the question is, what’s next? Until now, it would be searching for a spot in Europe or trying to get drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League.

The 2022 American Athletic Conference All-Conference First Team member says the Canadian pro league announcement gives her options.


“Players like myself, players from around the country, young players, it’s giving us a development pathway to strive for something bigger than professional soccer outside of Canada but within Canada,” Jones explained. “Ideally, I would love to play in my hometown, my own country. This is something I’ve been looking forward to. I honestly didn’t expect it to be this soon. When I saw the year 2025, I was very surprised, but I’m glad they’re making it happen.”

Her Memphis and Foothills teammate Grace Stordy feels the same way, calling the news career-changing.

“It’s incredible,” she said with a smile. “Being able to come home to something that’s familiar and knowing all the girls that I could possibly be playing with is incredible. In this city, if you want it, you can go get it, and no one will tell you no, and everyone in the community will support you. I think Calgary is a perfect spot for a team like this.”

Plenty of work will be going on behind the scenes at Foothills over the next few years to get this Matheson-led project off the ground. However, the brass at the club is prepared for the challenge and says they’re all ready to hit the ground running.

“We’re grateful we have a pathway, and now it becomes so important, and we’ve got to get everything right — from grassroots to our [women’s] program,” Lee Tucker, Foothills WFC head coach, said. “Obviously, as we build toward this over the next few years, it’s making sure we do get things right in the right places, at the right areas, at the right times.

He also adds with a smile, “We’re Alberta’s team. It’s now about what we can do to support players in Alberta.”

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