Pro Soccer In Regina? FC The-City-That-Rhymes-With-Fun?

The 24th Minute (extra points if you can tell me how it got its name) is one of the three authoritative blogs on Canadian soccer. It reported on meetings concerning the North American Soccer League (which is to Major League Soccer what the AHL is to the NHL), where possible expansion franchises were discussed.

One, Neil Malhotra and his Ottawa group, has been known for some time. The other, a group from Regina (yes, Saskatchewan) was a bit surprising.

The Saskatchewan group is looking to include a NASL team with its plans to build a stadium for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. For those that don’t know, the Riders are a big deal in Saskatchewan. Like, a really big deal. So, there is a good chance that a stadium plan there might have legs.

Well, the downtown domed stadium project requires more events than Roughrider games in order to pay its way. A pro soccer team would mean an extra 15 or so dates a year: however it’s a good question as to whether there’s enough support in Saskatchewan to support a soccer team. That said, I’d buy season tickets for this. In a heartbeat.

Here’s the NASL home page. Apparently there’s going to be a team in Edmonton next year.

Wonder what Rod Pedersen and Mitchell Blair think of this. Who’s the money behind this? The provincial soccer association? Planet Roughrider?

Author: Stephen LaRose

2006 winner of the Canadian Association of University Teachers's Award of Excellence in Journalism for a bunch of prairie dog stuff. Invited into the best homes in Regina. Once.

1 thought on “Pro Soccer In Regina? FC The-City-That-Rhymes-With-Fun?”

  1. Thanks for this Stephen.

    It’s a dream, I thought, to hope for some semi-pro/pro soccer in Regina post CSL (early 90s).

    For me a local soccer team of some signifigance is the most important soccer solution to many problems in Canada’s culture.
    -It raises the profile of the game from soccer mom to competition worth shelling out some dough for.
    -It gives the youth something to aim for. Rather than the current choice of the talented 14-15 year olds to if they’re really good and lucky, leave for Van City-Toronto youth systems or go to europe. Most if not all stop progressing after high school, maybe play some Canadian college then city leagues for the rest of their lives.
    -It raises the level of local soccer which benefits national teams. Any Sask players who get really good from this could be additions to the national player pool.

    I have lots of doubts- some in the 24 blog posts suggest it is really important to get out the soccer community to support this. That is true, but its far more important to tempt get people who’ve never watched a soccer game to go.
    On people being interested: in such a small market, and with Saskatoon being the bigger soccer city, a provinical team in Regina, like the riders, might alienate some SToon folks. They’d have a right to ask why not them (easy answer is stadium, if they had a 10000 seat grass field they’d already probably have a bid/team).
    One benefit is that unlike big cities where local soccer people are hard wired into leagues overseas tied into their ethnic background and snobish about the quality of North American soccer (I read how many angry posts when TFC was looking for a name and “Inter Toronto” was causing many Italian fans [Roma, AC Milan, Parma, Juve …] and non Italian fans alike to promise ‘never to go to a game if they were called “Inter” ). Regina is small and desperate enough for entertainment and that there wont be many soccer people in the know who are too superior (although word of causion, Edmonton and Calgary’s A league teams failed misserably in a few short years some say because of poor marketing and snobish attitudes regarding the level of play) to watch locally, rather its likely to become a big game in town.

    We don’t need a domed stadium for this to happen. The playing surfaces at Taylor Field and the proposed stadium are exactly the same and although field turf isn’t ideal, other A league level teams play on it with football lines.

    I could go on and on

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