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COMMENTARY: CPL hopes to turn around the fortunes of Canadian soccer

Canada's Marcel De Jong, top, is tackled by Mexico's Hirving Lozano during first half FIFA World Cup qualifying soccer action in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, March 25, 2016.
Canada's Marcel De Jong, top, is tackled by Mexico's Hirving Lozano during first half FIFA World Cup qualifying soccer action in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, March 25, 2016. Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

In case you missed it this weekend, there was a major announcement that will hopefully go a long way towards ensuring Canada, one day, progresses from its minnow status on soccer’s global stage.

Canada Soccer has green-lighted the creation of the Canadian Premier League, a professional soccer league that aims to employ mostly Canadian players.

The league already has two confirmed ownership groups in Hamilton and Winnipeg and is expected to have anywhere from six to 10 teams by the time it kicks off in late 2018 or early 2019.

Let’s get one thing straight, the Canadian Premier League will not be on par with Major League Soccer or even the North American Professional Soccer League.

But it will be equally important in developing Canada’s soccer stars of tomorrow.

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READ MORE: Winnipeg Football Club hopes to bring new pro soccer league to Manitoba

Thousands upon thousands of kids put on a pair of soccer boots every year, yet why is it that Canada fails to make a dent with its national program?

READ MORE: Teen soccer star from Edmonton turns heads with Vancouver Whitecaps

I don’t put a lot of stock in the FIFA world rankings, but some do.

And by FIFA’s standards, our nation is currently ranked 108th on the planet, sandwiched between El Salvador and Jordan.

We’ve been as high as 40th, in 1993.

Part of reason Canada isn’t competing with soccer’s heavyweights is the lack of elite level coaching in this country.

Compare coaching standards and qualifications between soccer and hockey in Canada and you can see what I’m getting at.

But a big reason why we don’t develop more blue chip soccer prospects in this country is that after high school, college or university, the best of the best up and coming Canadian soccer players leave our country to develop their skills and seek stardom abroad.

The allure of playing European, or even South American, football is tempting for anyone wanting to launch their career on the right foot.

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That is a tremendous opportunity for an individual, if they get to play on a regular basis.

But staying home and developing with other Canadians, I think, will lead to better players and greater cohesion, and results, on the pitch.