Saskatoon

Summer Soccer Series in Saskatoon gauging Sask. interest in pro footy

A series of exhibition soccer games kicking off in Saskatoon over the weekend will gauge Saskatchewan's interest in professional footy.

First Canadian Premier League game was played in Hamilton earlier this week

The Summer Soccer Series will gauge Saskatchewan's interest in a possible professional soccer team. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports)

A series of exhibition soccer games kicking off in Saskatoon over the weekend will gauge Saskatchewan's interest in professional footy.

The Canadian Premier League played its very first games earlier this week, including the inaugural game in Hamilton last Saturday between the hometown Forge FC and York 9 FC. The game ended with a 1-1 draw.

"I think part of the intrigue about this league is that it's an opportunity for young players who, for last 20-odd years, have not had a significant opportunity to play soccer domestically and to develop their opportunity to play pro soccer," said Joe Belan, who was approached as a possible investor for a CPL team in Sask.

There are no professional soccer teams in Saskatchewan and no high-level amateur leagues. The furthest a player can go is the university level.

"The idea with this whole — not only the Summer Soccer Series — but the goal of trying to establish a Canadian Premier League pro team here in Saskatchewan, [is] to give those players some more continuity and something to strive for to get to the next level," Belan added.

The SK Summer Soccer Series will feature a team of Saskatchewan's top male soccer players, the SK Selects, play exhibition games against professional and high level amateur teams this summer.

The first game will take place at the Gordie Howe Sports Centre when the Calgary Foothills, the USL League 2 Champions, visit at 7 p.m.

"We think that the Summer Soccer Series will give us some very valuable information that we can establish a strong foundation, that when we're ultimately ready for a Canadian Premier League that we're coming out of the gate very strong."

With files from CBC's Peter Mills

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