MLS Soccer Italia exclusive interview with Paul Beirne
Project Manager – Leading the launch of the CPL
What are the aims of Canadian Premier League?
- The CPL is, quite simply, Canada’s national soccer league a professional league from coast-to-coast.
- Playing in world-class venues, the CPL will bring professional soccer to communities across our great country.
- While success on the world stage is the ultimate goal, the CPL is also a boon for the entire soccer ecosystem in our country.
- With the CPL, more Canadians will now have a clearer pathway to playing professionally, and we’ll also cultivate a new generation of officials, coaches, referees and businesses under the halo of soccer.
- And locally we will unleash soccer fans’ unique and authentic passion as we usher in an era of rivalries among Canadian communities for generations to come!
- We have not officially confirmed the launch for the league. We have only said that we don’t make any announcements until we are ready.
We know that at the moment the cities of Hamilton and Winnipeg will have their own team involved in the CPL. Which other cities are going to join CPL?
- We are currently working with some incredibly passionate and committed ownership groups to establish professional soccer clubs in key communities across the country.
- We have not officially confirmed any specific markets at this point, but we are expecting to have clubs coast to coast.
How important is it for CPL to involve schools and universities?
- We are working closely with prominent soccer clubs and associations across the country including Canadian schools and universities.
- We expect the CPL to be a destination opportunity where university players can aspire to play and launch their professional soccer career.
The CPL wants to develop soccer in Canada by investing in players and coaches of Canadian origin. What policy will the CPL apply to foreign players?
- I can confirm that the league will have a mix of domestic and international players. We will have further details on CPL rosters and domestic vs. international player ratios at a later date.
In recent years, Canada has developed many policies for the recognition and empowerment of people belonging to the Inuit, First Nations and Metis groups. Could the CPL make a rule that includes at least an athlete of these ethnic groups in the roster of each team?
- The CPL will be an inclusive league giving opportunities to the best Canadian players and that includes Aboriginal players.
- We will have further details on CPL rosters as at a later date.
How important is the development of merchandising both in Canada and in other countries?
- For the league to resonate with Canadians, there has to be an authentic soccer experience in every CPL community. Obviously, marketing, branding and merchandise play an important role in creating this experience.
- We will be working closely with all clubs to make sure they are embracing an image that reflects each community.
- We will most definitely be in close consultation with supporter groups across the country. It is their league – and it is important that they have a say in how it is presented.
What kind of relationship are you going to develop between CPL and MLS?
- As a Day One employee at TFC, I know firsthand the amazing work the MLS has done for soccer in the United States. There are obviously many lessons we can learn from the MLS.
- We hope to have a great working relationship with MLS, but the leagues are two totally separate entities.
- MLS is the United States’ domestic league and CPL is Canada’s professional soccer league. Our key market is Canada – developing Canadian players and creating a prosperous league for Canadian fans.
In Canada, there are more than one million citizens of Italian descent. How important is it for CPL to involve Italian communities?
- Italian Canadians are among the most passionate, informed and engaged soccer fans.
- Some great Italian Canadians have already been very active in setting up club supporter groups across the country.
English translation of the questions by Silvia Della Rossa