Winnipeg soccer fans cheer on news of pro team

Winnipeg could be home to a new professional soccer team as part of the Canadian Premier League.

Winnipeg Football Club working towards new pro soccer team, would play at Investors Group Field

Joshua Delzell and other soccer players in Winnipeg are welcoming news the city could get a new professional soccer team. Delzell 22, plays for Southside SpVgg, German team. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Winnipeg's soccer community is welcoming the news that a new professional team could be coming as part of the Canadian Premier League.

"It's like having a hockey team. For us, it's like a big deal having somebody representing Winnipeg," said Abey Solomon.

He plays and coaches soccer and watches every Roma game at X-Cues Cafe & Lounge.

Soloman, who hails from Ethiopia, moved to Canada just after the Winnipeg Fury — the last pro soccer team — left, in 1995.
Abey Soloman thinks a pro soccer team could unite immigrants in Winnipeg, who played the sport back home before coming here. (Travis Golby/CBC)

He said having a professional soccer team in Winnipeg could unite immigrants in the city. 

"All our life, we just play soccer. And the same thing with some European countries too. So I think Winnipeg is more attractive because of the immigration system they have in Manitoba."

The Winnipeg Football Club has been working alongside the group to bring a Tier 1 FIFA sanctioned soccer league to Canada.

The Canadian Soccer Association voted Saturday to form a professional league, the Canadian Premier League, along with voting in Winnipeg as a member of the association.

"For the past 18 months, we have been working with the group that is spearheading this venture and have indicated our interest in founding a club here in Manitoba," said club president Wade Miller in a news release.

The team would play out of Investors Group Field and Miller said he expects the new league to be lucrative.

"We know from hosting the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup that this community has a passion for the sport," Miller said. "There has been a lot of work done behind the scenes to move this [endeavour] forward."

'Nice to think we'd be able to cheer'

Store owners like Cecilia Castro are also welcoming the news. Castro owns La Liga and plays soccer. (Travis Golby/CBC)
Cecilia Castro owns La Liga Soccer store in addition to playing and coaching the sport. She's excited for what a pro team could mean for the city and her store.

"We've probably been dreaming about a pro soccer team for quite a few years and if it does come to reality it would be great for everyone in the soccer community."

Joshua Dalzell agrees. He plays for the Southside SpVgg team.

"It's nice to be able to think we'd be able to actually cheer for games here. That'd be sweet," Dalzell said."

The Canadian Premier League said 10 cities from across the country have expressed interest in participating in an all-Canadian professional soccer league.

The league is targeting a start date in the fall of 2018.

with files by Erin Brohman