The push is on to bring professional soccer back to Calgary.

Joe Petrone recently left his senior post with FC Edmonton to devote himself full time to establishing a rival team within the North American Soccer League in Calgary.


Goalkeeper Brad Knighton played for the North American Soccer League's Carolina RailHawks last season. (Matt Slocum/Associated Press)

"I think it’s come of age, it’s past due and Calgary deserves a franchise," said the longtime player, coach and, more recently, technical director for FC Edmonton.

Petrone spent the last four years helping get Edmonton’s team up and running. Now he plans to build its southern rival for the 12-team league.

Calgary has been identified as one of 53 cities in North America where a NASL team might be a success, Petrone said.

Previous attempts to get Calgarians to embrace pro soccer have failed, Petrone admitted. But times have changed, he said.

"In 1970, we couldn’t find a game on television in Canada. Now it’s all over the network. Thousands of kids are watching it, all the kids know who the big stars are in the world," he said.

Petrone said he is searching for suitable investors.

"We’ve had some strong candidates come forward."

A Calgary team would likely play at McMahon Stadium, he said.