Women's pro soccer league aims to give girls a future in sport

Girls who grow up playing soccer in Calgary will soon be able to pursue the dream of playing for the hometown team. Or perhaps owning it. 

Organizers say it's about inclusion, equality in sport and opportunities for women 

A woman soccer player wearing red makes a header.
Canada's professional women's soccer league aims to hold its first season in 2025 with eight teams. (The Canadian Press)

Girls who grow up playing soccer in Calgary will soon be able to pursue the dream of playing for the hometown team. Or perhaps owning it. 

Calgary Foothills Soccer Club held a news conference Friday to talk about plans for the club to join a new Canadian women's professional soccer league. 

Announced earlier this month, the league has yet to be named, but it aims to host its inaugural season in 2025 with eight teams in competition. 

Foothills is one of the league's founding teams. The other is the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. 

Supporters are calling it a major step for Canadian women's soccer. They believe that Calgary can play an important role. 

A woman with dark hair and wearing a purple shirt talks before an indoor soccer pitch.
Diana Matheson, a former national women’s soccer team member and Olympian, is helping to build Calgary’s women's team. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Diana Matheson, a former national women's soccer team member and Olympic medallist, is helping to build Calgary's team with her business partners at Project 8 Sports.

Matheson says Canadian women's soccer talent is world class, and Calgary is a good pro-league fit. 

"Obviously, there's a huge sport culture here," she said. "Again, I think it's the Olympian capital of Canada. This club is community based, and it's coming up from the ground up, which is incredible." 

A blond woman wearing a black sweater stands before an indoor soccer pitch.
Deanna Zumwalt says the project of building a professional women's soccer league is about inclusion, equality and opportunities for women.  (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Deanna Zumwalt, the club's director of women's pro sport, says community support will be essential as work gets underway to develop the team over the next few years. 

Additionally, Zumwalt said, the project is about inclusion, equality in sport and opportunities for women. 

"Staying involved in the sport you love is going to be a reality," she said. "It could very well be as a professional soccer player. It could be in the front office. It could be being an executive on the team. It could be working in so many different ways. It could be owning a piece of the team."

Grace Stordy, a fullback playing for the University of Memphis in the United States, was a standout soccer star in Calgary. 

While she was planning to be dreafted by a professional team in the U.S., Stordy now aims to be one of the first professional league players in Canada.

"Now having this [league], obviously, my ultimate goal would be to come home and play soccer here," she said.

There's been no word yet on a venue for Calgary's team.

So far, league sponsors include Air Canada and CIBC. 


Jonathon Sharp is a digital journalist with CBC Calgary. He previously worked for CBS News in the United States. You can reach him at

With files from Dave Gilson