Soccer enthusiasts pushing for pro team in Moncton
The two men leading the charge believe a Canadian Premier League team could be a reality within two years
Some soccer enthusiasts in Moncton are hoping to bring a professional team to the area and say they believe it could happen within two years.
Soccer podcaster Gareth Mitton and Soccer Dieppe president Taha Maarous told Information Morning Moncton they're trying to build support for a local franchise.
Maarous said the area is perfectly suited for a Canadian Premier League team, as Moncton has hosted major soccer events before, such as the FIFA U20 World Cup and the FIFA Women's World Cup.
"If FIFA decided to have a trust in our community and have this huge event here, probably the Canadian Premier League can have a team here," he said.
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The CPL is just wrapping up its inaugural season. The Halifax Wanderers are the only Atlantic Canadian team in the league.
Maarous said the women's World Cup in 2015 gave the sport's popularity a bump in the region.
"Having the FIFA World Cup here boosted our registrations in Soccer Dieppe. Now, imagine if we can have a professional team."
Maarous said there is already a good facility for a pro soccer team, and having an international airport helps too.
Maarous said that one of the major selling points for a team in Moncton is the rivalry it could create with Halifax.
"Sports will grow if there is a rivalry, and I think Atlantic Canada deserves another team," said Maarous.
Mitton, a former player from the United Kingdom, said he misses the atmosphere that a professional team brings to a city.
"One thing that I sorely miss from home is game day, and the walk to the game, and being apart of that atmosphere and that energy," said Mitton.
"I was incredibly impressed when I went to see the Halifax Wanderers, just how quickly that little subculture has permeated and developed."
Mitton said the sport of soccer has a special way of creating a community and being a cultural experience.
Mitton and Maarous have been trying to drum up support and awareness for their campaign through social media.
"It's really to create a movement, to create a swell, to demonstrate there is a demand, there is a desire to see this team come here," said Mitton. "That's really all we can do right now."
Maarous said they will reach out to provincial and federal officials about making the soccer team a reality, but the key to bringing in a successful franchise is to have a fan base ready.
Files from Information Morning Moncton