Rob Friend, a Canadian former professional soccer player, was named president of the new Langley-based Canadian Premier League franchise announced on Wednesday, April 13. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Rob Friend, a Canadian former professional soccer player, was named president of the new Langley-based Canadian Premier League franchise announced on Wednesday, April 13. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

New Canadian Premier League pro soccer team to play out of Langley

Franchise to debut in 2023

Professional soccer is set to kick off in the Township of Langley next spring with the team currently known as Vancouver 2023 debuting as the Canadian Premier League’s ninth franchise.

On Wednesday, April 13, Vancouver 2023 announced it will debut for the 2023 season with Willoughby Community Park serving as the soccer club’s home turf. Grandstands will be added before the team begins play next April.

Vancouver 2023 is a placeholder description until a team name has been chosen.

The team is owned by SixFive Sports & Entertainment LP (SixFive), a Canadian-based investment fund led by financier and Knightsbridge Capital owner, Dean Shillington as well as former Canadian National Team and European League players Josh Simpson and Rob Friend and Starlight Investments.

Friend, a Canadian former professional soccer player, has been named team president.

“We are very excited to announce our home field with the Township of Langley and to bring the Canadian Premier League to Langley Events Centre,” Friend said.

“This partnership allows our continued commitment to invest in local communities, and we are ready to serve the Fraser Valley with an exciting and intimate professional soccer experience.”

Glen Johnson, Executive Vice President, Canadian Premier League, was “thrilled.”

“Having a Canadian professional club playing at Willoughby Community Park will be a key driver in the development of Canadian talent in the region,” Johnson said.

“It will also open the door to many new and exciting opportunities for the region’s passionate soccer community.”

Mayor Jack Froese said having the CPL at Willoughby Community Park “gives residents an exciting opportunity to see professional soccer close to home and can help inspire youth players to take up the sport.”

READ ALSO: Aldergrove soccer team remembers player with ‘passion’ for the game

The CPL announced Vancouver, Saskatchewan, and Windsor were chosen as expansion locations for the professional soccer league in November.

CPL has teams from coast-to-coast and serves as a pathway for players to develop and showcase their skills while helping to grow the game and build support for the sport.

Each team plays 28 regular season games with the qualifying teams then competing in the playoffs with the champion also earning a berth in the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) League where they face teams from Central America and the Caribbean.

For more information on the team, visit canpl.ca/vancouver2023.

READ ALSO: Former refugee turned Langley soccer star heading from LSS to TWU

READ ALSO: VIDEO: How a Langley soccer player overcame serious injury to play for the University of Michigan


Have a story tip? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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