Saskatoon·New

Saskatoon could field first professional soccer club in province's history

Living Sky Sports is working with Prairieland Park in Saskatoon as the preferred site for a stadium.

Canadian Premier League awards exclusive expansion rights to a Sask. company

The Canadian Premier League has awarded exclusive rights to an expansion club to Living Sky Sports and Entertainment Inc. (Aaron Lynett/The Canadian Press)

Saskatoon could soon be home to the first professional soccer team in the province's history.

The Canadian Premier League (CPL) announced on Friday morning that it has awarded exclusive rights to an expansion club to Living Sky Sports and Entertainment Inc.

The agreement is contingent on the business's ability to provide a soccer stadium that is specific to the league's standards. 

Living Sky Sports is working with Prairieland Park in Saskatoon as the preferred site for a stadium in the area that is currently the site of the Marquis Down racetrack.

The park recently announced that it will permanently cancel thoroughbred racing, ending a 50-year relationship with the sport, to accommodate a venture into the world of soccer.

Living Sky Sports and Entertainment Inc. has identified Prairieland Park in Saskatoon as the preferred site for a stadium, in the area that is currently the site of the Marquis Down racetrack. (Supplied/Prairieland Park)

Alan Simpson, the founder of Living Sky Sports, is heading the effort of bringing a club to Saskatchewan. In a video posted to the CPL's website, Simpson says that they hope to hit the ground running with a 4,000 seat stadium "with the opportunity to expand as required."

He says that he wants kids in Saskatchewan to be able to aspire to a pro soccer level: "One of the things lacking in Saskatchewan is the vision for kids who are playing soccer recreationally or at the club level to be able to aspire, in a meaningful way, to play at a professional level."

Alan Simpson says he wants Saskatchewan youth to be able to aspire to play pro-level soccer. (matimix/Shutterstock)

A team's name and colours have not yet been decided, nor is there a specific timeline for the construction of the stadium, but Simpson is optimistic.

"Ideally we'd like to be part of the league and playing in 2023," he said. "That's a very ambitious timeline given what you need to do for a stadium."

Prairieland Park CEO Mark Regier says he is very excited and thinks this will be well-received. 

"We said we need to look at this, and we think this has a big future for Saskatoon, so we jumped on board," he said.

A Saskatchewan club would be the ninth member of CPL.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Candice Lipski is a CBC reporter and associate producer based in Saskatoon. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from UBC. Follow her on Twitter @Candice_Lipski or send her a story idea at candice.lipski@cbc.ca.

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