Ottawa will join the growing ranks of professional soccer
clubs in Canada this summer when Capital City Football Club take the field as
part of the Canadian Soccer League.
The club, founded by Claridge Homes executive Neil Malhotra,
will play its games at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility at Mooney’s Bay Park.
Malhotra, who also serves as president for the non-profit
club, said the team is looking forward to providing local players with
professional soccer opportunities while also appealing to the diverse
population in the capital region.
“We’re trying to respect the traditions of the game and at
the same time create an affordable and fun experience,” he said.
The club will play a 26-game schedule this season and will
be looking to add a team to the CSL Reserve Division in time for the 2012
The club will be holding an open tryout at the Coliseum
sports dome on Bank Street on March 26 and 27. Malhotra said the club will be
looking to fill 20 roster spots for the upcoming season.
The club will be partnering with Ottawa South United. The
two organizations will be working together on coaching and player development
initiatives as well as the creation of a “European-style” soccer academy for
“It’s very positive in the sense that we have a lot of kids
that graduate from youth soccer ... but a lot of good kids that don’t really
have anywhere to go,” said OSU president Bill Michalopulos. “They want to stay
in Ottawa, but they don’t have anywhere to play really. So I think this bodes
really well for the talent that’s being developed in Ottawa.”
The club has appointed Shaun Harris as the team’s head coach
and technical director. Harris is a former MLS player who won the 2005 MLS Cup
as a member of the L.A. Galaxy and has worked in the development program of
England’s Everton FC.
Soccer in Canada has grown in leaps and bounds in recent
years. Since 2007, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps have joined the top-tier
Major League Soccer and Montreal Impact and FC Edmonton competing in the North
American Soccer League.
Two weeks ago, FIFA awarded the right to host the 2015
Women’s World Cup to the Canadian Soccer Association. Ottawa is among a group
of seven candidate cities vying to host the event.
Capital City FC joins the 14-team CSL and will compete
against Brampton City United, Brantford Galaxy, London City, Montreal Impact
Academy, North York Astros, SC Toronto, Serbian White Eagles, St. Catharines
Wolves, Toronto FC Academy, York Region Shooters as well as fellow newcomers
Mississauga Eagles FC and Windsor Stars for the First Division championship.
The season runs from the beginning of May until the October,
followed by playoffs.
The CSL is officially recognized as the third tier of soccer
in Canada, below MLS and NASL.
Ottawa This Week