Canadian Premier League president intrigued by Edmontonians’ push for return of pro soccer

WATCH ABOVE: Professional soccer hasn't had much success in Edmonton but with the Canadian Premier League set to kick off, the beautiful game could make a return to Alberta's capital. Quinn Phillips reports.

The Canadian Premier League is set to kick off in 2019 with a minimum of six teams, and Edmonton may be one of them.

The president of the CPL, Paul Beirne, was in Alberta’s capital again this week as part of the vetting process. He admitted he’s been to Edmonton a number of times before, but this trip was really about learning more about Edmonton’s soccer fans.

A supporter group has recently been pushing a campaign to bring back FC Edmonton, the North American Soccer League team which folded in November.

READ MORE: FC Edmonton folds after 7 seasons in professional soccer

“This is unprecedented,” said Beirne, who was involved with the launch of Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC. “This is coming from the fans demanding, almost… the Fath brothers closed the doors on FC Edmonton and the supporters said, ‘We’re not going to let you go.’

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“Supporters will tell you that the number of memberships that they have sold has outstripped their sales in the past.”

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Around 100 fans and soccer players packed a small venue for Thursday’s town hall with Beirne, another is set for Urban Tavern on Friday night.

Beirne also met with city councillors on this trip to discuss the future of Clarke Field as a home for strictly soccer. He said while they didn’t get into the nuts and bolts of it, city officials did seem positive about the idea.