Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Premier League Buys Ontario's League 1, Looks to Develop Talent There

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Premier League Buys Ontario's League 1, Looks to Develop Talent There

Article excerpt

CPL purchases Ontario's League 1 circuit

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TORONTO - The Canadian Premier League added depth and a place to percolate talent on Wednesday by purchasing Ontario's League 1.

The new pro circuit says League 1 will become "an integral part of the CPL," providing future opportunities for players "who are not quite ready, to further develop their skills and find success in the professional game."

The Canadian Premier League is slated to kick off next spring with seven teams.

Founded in 2014, League 1 started with a 10-team men's division. It has grown to 17 men's and 13 women's teams.

League 1 is designated as a third-division men's league. CPL will be considered Canada's top-flight, a top-tier league as MLS is in the U.S.

"A win-win for soccer in Ontario and really soccer in our country," Johnny Misley, Ontario Soccer's chief executive officer, said of the CPL deal.

"This truly provides a real solid pathway for players, even coaches and referees for that matter, to support and be one level below what is professional soccer now and a domestic league program," he added. "So it's fantastic."

League 1 is deemed a pro-am league. Most players are amateur but some teams offer a few players "modest compensation," according to Misley.

League 1 says more than 100 of its men and women have graduated to pro soccer.

Sigma FC's Cyle Larin (now playing with Turkey's Besiktas) and Richie Laryea (Orlando City) were selected in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. Mo Babouli, MVP of League 1 in 2014, went on to make the Toronto FC first-team roster along with fellow League 1 alumni Chris Mannella and Raheem Edwards.

Babouli, who spent a season with Al-Ittihad in the Syrian Premier League, is currently with the indoor Mississauga MetroStars while Mannella is with Ottawa Fury FC and Edwards plays for the Chicago Fire.

CPL commissioner David Clanachan says having the League 1 women's teams provides the CPL with an entree into the women's game. …

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