Montreal, Ottawa join newly named Northern Super League pro women's soccer circuit

The new logo was unveiled on Tuesday. The league will be comprised of six clubs from key markets across the country. (Northern Super League - image credit)
The new logo was unveiled on Tuesday. The league will be comprised of six clubs from key markets across the country. (Northern Super League - image credit)

The official name and logo of Canada's first professional women's soccer league were unveiled on Tuesday along with two new teams as work continues toward its inaugural season.

Canadian soccer veteran Diana Matheson, CEO and co-founder of its organizing body, announced Northern Super League (NSL) as the name of the league previously known as Project 8.

Set to kick off in April 2025, the league will be comprised of six clubs from key markets across the country. Matheson confirmed teams in Montreal and Ottawa will join the previously announced franchises in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax.

"After years without a professional women's domestic soccer league, the Northern Super League and its six founding clubs will fill a significant void in Canada and bring about meaningful change coast to coast," Matheson said in a release. "We are proud to launch with a name that will instill pride in all those who play and love the game.

"With a brand that is fresh, we welcome all who want to be a part of this exciting moment in Canadian sports history."

"By intentionally omitting 'women,' the league firmly declares its ambitions to be equal to other leagues in professional sports, inviting all who love the beautiful game and who want to be a part of the growth in professional women's sports to feel included," the release read.

The NSL is sponsored by Canadian Tire, DoorDash, CIBC and Air Canada, while all six clubs are owned and operated by independent ownership groups.

The league will have a 25-game regular season followed by playoffs and a national championship in the fall of 2025. All teams will operate with a salary cap and minimum salaries aligned with established leagues worldwide.

"We want to be able to provide Canadian players great environments here and out-compete on salary with lots of different leagues around the world," Matheson told CBC Sports' Shireen Ahmed.

Matheson says the salary cap will initially be set at $1.5 million, with the plan to increase it in the future as the league's revenue grows.

"The bulk of roster building will happen towards the end of the year, but there could be the odd player announcement prior to that as well," Matheson said.

The Canadian-focused league will also feature international talent. Additional details on league executives, player signings and scheduling are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

"We know we need to have these professional environments across the country — high-performance pathways to pro, to the national team — to widen our professional player pool to be able to compete in the future with the rest of the countries in the world," Matheson added.

The league says its logo's colour palette was inspired by the aurora borealis, with the serpentine-style font symbolizing dynamic team play on the pitch. The four-pointed north star signifies the league's "strength, vision, and steadfast presence to cement itself as a beacon for what sport can and should be in Canada and beyond."

The brand launch also includes an official league website and merchandise.

"Congratulations to everyone involved in the exciting evolution of the newly-named Northern Super League," said Kevin Blue, Canada Soccer's CEO and general secretary. "Canada Soccer remains steadfast in its support for professional women's soccer in our country, and we will continue to work alongside Diana and the staff to ensure a successful kickoff next April."