From late April this year, Canada will be kicking off its inaugural Canadian Premier League – a new top-division competition to help improve football in the country.
Even with an initial roster of just seven teams it’s a great concept. However, the football traditionalist in me has one huge issue with the new league system.
The names of the teams.
Now yes, I realise how pedantic and ridiculous that sounds, but it for whatever reason genuinely gripes me.
I’m a huge fan of football teams’ names being tied geographically to a particular town or city that they represent. It gives them a real identity and are easily recognisable as a feature of that place.
The teams competing in the inaugural 2019 Canadian Premier League are as follows; Cavalry FC, FC Edmonton, Forge FC, HFX Wanderers FC, Pacific FC, Valour FC and York 9 FC.
Only FC Edmonton retain a name that actually features the name of the place in which they play. It is the only traditional-style club name present in the league, and it just gives the whole tournament too much of an element of Sunday league in my opinion.
Yes, technically, HFX Wanderers have their place of origin – Halifax – in their name too, but why on Earth did it need shortened like that? What is wrong with simply calling themselves Halifax Wanderers, like clubs anywhere else in the world would?
As for the others, I get that there are meanings behind some of them. York 9 for example is named as such because it represents the nine municipalities that make up the York Region in Toronto; but don’t stick numbers at the end of your club name unless it’s the year you’re founded. It just screams amateur football – not a serious, professional club.
The rest – Valour, Forge, Cavalry and Pacific – are the same. These are clubs representing Winnipeg, Hamilton, Calgary and Langford respectively, but you’d have no way of knowing that from just the club name.
They don’t present a clear connection to their local area, and so again feel just like a cool name thought up for your local five-a-side team, rather than a professional football club with genuine ambitions.
Obviously, with no games yet played in the league, we can’t say how competitive each team will be with each other, but at least one of the seven sides will be playing in the CONCACAF Champions League. Due to the way it’s being set up, there’s a real chance if Valour or Forge outperform FC Edmonton in the spring season, they will be in the 2019 edition of the North American Champions League.
It all just comes across a little bit odd. For such a slick and promising-looking step forwards for Canadian football, it seems to have missed a step through the naming of the clubs involved.
Given only the club roster list and no more information, there’s a good chance more people would think it the local Sunday league division rather than a top-level division with continental qualification.