With Sunderland A.F.C. set to make a tour across Canada this summer with their U23 squad, Canadians in unusual cities get to see a glimpse of one of the biggest teams in English soccer history. Sunderland U23 will be heading to cities with no professional teams, which is leading people to speculate that this can be a test for these cities to see if they can maybe hold a team in the Canadian Premier League.
This got me thinking, can we see Sunderland invest in the CPL? Probably not, but that also got me thinking about what other European giants can make the jump across the pond and be the second team to do so after Atletico Madrid gave birth to Atletico Ottawa after the Ottawa Fury folded. Here are five teams that I believe we could see invest in the future, in no particular order.
5. Manchester City
Manchester City is coming off a season where they recorded their eighth league title, and that wasn’t their owner’s only trophy this year. Man City’s owners have a history of starting, as well as investing, in clubs all over the world. Some notable names under their control would be Melbourne City in Australia and Troyes in France. Now, City Football Group typically buys their teams and does not start them from scratch, but I do believe the growth in Canada Soccer will appeal to lots of teams overseas. If City Football Group does want to invest in a CPL city, I think it would have to be a big city where a stadium is already built and will be ready to go as soon as possible.
4. Borussia Dortmund
With ties already in the Canadian soccer system, Dortmund is the next obvious choice. Having a team in the Ontario city of Waterloo, Dortmund may already have their city of choice. Playing under the name BVB IA Waterloo in League One Ontario, Dortmund may look to be the first team to make the jump from L1O up to the CPL. With affiliate clubs in India and Thailand, they can see Waterloo become their first pro team in North America if they were to make that jump from the Pro/Am league.
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3. Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (PSG)
With the CPL in the middle of their fourth season, there are still no foreseeable plans to have a team in Quebec any time soon. With being one of the richest clubs in the world, PSG could be a perfect fit for the French province. With constant tension between fans and CF Montreal, Montreal could be a good place to settle for PSG, but may I suggest Quebec City? With no professional team in the second biggest city in Quebec, this could be a gold mine. With people in the city hungry for a Pro team, I believe this could be one of the biggest fan bases in the league, and by adding PSG’s name connected to it, we will surely see the team succeed in the city and the league.
2. S.L. Benfica
Being the most successful team in Portuguese soccer history, Benfica may be the team to target the huge population of Portuguese supporters in Canada. Benfica has attempted to connect with teams outside of Portugal before with Polish club Zagłębie Lubin. With a new Canadian league looking to expand, Benfica could jump on that Canadian wagon. With heavy Portuguese populations in Ontario and Quebec, both provinces could be home to the European giants.
1. Red Bulls
With teams all over the world, Red Bull GmbH may very well be looking to add a new team to the CPL. Already with a couple of teams on this side of the pond with clubs in New York, and in Brazil, they also have teams in Europe with FC Red Bull Salzburg in Austria and most notably RB Leipzig in Germany. The young Canadian league could be another possible location for Red Bull to throw their name into. This could be big for the CPL with new sponsorship possibilities as well as an owner who would be willing to invest in their team and league. Red Bull has had a team fail before in Red Bull Ghana, which only lasted six years, which makes me think if Red Bull were to commit to the league, it would have to be more of an established league and possibly they would be an owner to come in and save a team from going under.
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