BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – From the 86ers to the Whitecaps and even our national teams, Swangard has been the venue for some of our region’s most memorable soccer moments.
TSS FC Rovers aims to write the next chapter in the stadium’s history, playing in the Premier Development League — planning to field an all-Canadian lineup with most players 23 years of age or younger, starting this spring.
For hockey fans, this is essentially the North American soccer equivalent to the Canadian Hockey League — it’s a place for elite junior players to bridge the gap between high-level youth soccer and either college or professional tiers like Major League Soccer.
“Canadians don’t have that many places to play,” says club general manager Willie Cromack. “For us, it’s all about Canadians, all about eventually passing those players on to ‘bigger, better environments.”
Cromack points out MLS has not developed as many Canadians as many had hoped.
The league has a discriminatory policy which defines all US players as domestic but treats Canadian players playing for US clubs as international players.
Given rules which limit how many international players a club has, this makes Canadians less desirable for US clubs.
This new club aims to provide another venue for young players to continue their development and perhaps contribute to the national team program.
“This is our opportunity to put forward a club that says ‘come one, come all,’ but you’ve gotta be Canadian, and we want to help you make it to the next level,” says Cromack. “Ultimately, we want to help produce a national team that will be better ranked than 120th [in the men’s world rankings as defined by FIFA].”
TSS FC Rovers plans to sell season tickets for about $75.