Moncton eyes spot in professional Canadian soccer league

Canada Soccer has hinted it would like to have a national league in place by 2018, and Moncton has just joined the list of cities across the country showing interest.

Several other Canadian cities have already shown interest in a league yet to be officially announced

Younes Bouida says he has started working on bringing a professional soccer team to Moncton within three years. (CBC)

Soccer New Brunswick, which is trying to bring a professional soccer team to Moncton in the next three years, hopes the city will get a spot in the proposed Canadian premier soccer league.

Canada Soccer has hinted it would like to have a national league in place by 2018, and a number of cities across the country have already expressed interest.

But very little is known about the proposed professional league, and there's been no official announcement from the Canadian Soccer Association.

When reached by CBC News, a spokesperson said the organization wasn't in a position to comment publicly at this time. 

Team in 3 years

Soccer New Brunswick has started working on bringing a professional team to Moncton in the next three years.

Younes Bouida, the executive director, said the national league is necessary if Canada wants to compete on the international stage.

"That's the top level in Canada," Bouida said. "Canada Soccer is working hard to build this league that will be a great showcase for our players here in Canada, and eventually having a national team be successful on the international stage."

The stadium at the University of Moncton has held some big events, including the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015. (CBC)

Bouida estimates the annual cost for running a team to be $5 million. He started talking with some potential investors, in and out the province.

"We had a few investors that were basically interested in investing in a project like that. They see the opportunity to have a team that will be a New Brunswick team, based here in Moncton. I think we have beautiful assets like the stadium, that we were successful to host international soccer events," he said.

Lots of seats to fill

The City of Moncton said it hasn't been approached by Soccer New Brunswick but is open to discussion.

"The city and the joint committee for the management of the stadium are always looking out for new opportunities," said Isabelle LeBlanc, director of communications for the City of Moncton. 

The stadium at the University of Moncton has about 9,000 seats. 

The city showed its potential to attract large crowds during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in 2014 and the Women's World Cup in 2015.

Bouida said each game in the national league could attract anywhere between 6,000 and 8,000 fans.