May 13, 2009 CSL Press Conference (from CSL media release)

CSL kicks off Friday while making plans for the future


On an occasion usually reserved for the season’s opening kickoff, the Canadian Soccer League had a lot to say about the immediate future and well beyond at its annual pre-season press conference held at the BMO Field in Toronto on May 12.

CSL teams kickoff their 2009 campaign on Friday, May 15 when Quebec-based team Trois-Rivieres Attak, last season’s championship finalist, travels to Southern Ontario for a game against Italia Shooters at Maple, just north of Toronto and the following day, the Attak will visit Esther Shiner Stadium in North York for TFC Academy’s season opener.

Trois-Rivieres Attak is the reserve team for last year’s Canadian champions, Montreal Impact of the USL and TFC Academy is owned by Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.

With six teams in the National Division and four teams in the International Division, the CSL, Canada’s only professional soccer league, will be of a five-month duration through to the playoffs late September into October leading to the championship game.

The league announced a new playoff format with eight teams qualifying and the first round quarter-final and semi-final games played as a 2-game home and away series. There will be a grand finale one-game final for the CSL Championship.

CSL commissioner Cary Kaplan announced ambitious expansion plans bolstered by an announcement that the CSA has accepted the CSL into membership conditional upon the league meeting certain standards over a period of time into 2010. Western Canada is especially on the CSL’s agenda and Kaplan repeated his belief expressed to the Canadian Soccer Association’s annual general meeting at Banff on May 2 that the CSL can play a strong supporting role to Canada’s top teams when it comes to professional soccer.

“Canada is fortunate to have three quality professional teams at the top, but we have lacked a serious second tier and we at the CSL believe we can fill that void,” he said to Canada’s top soccer administrators at the Alberta resort.

Friday’s game is an 8 p.m. start at the Joan of Arc ground in Maple, on Major McKenzie Drive just east of Hwy 400 at McNaughton, while the Trois-Rivieres Attak game against TFC Academy will go at 3 p.m. at Esther Shiner Stadium on Saturday.

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