Soccer Hall of Famer Jim Brennan to help lead York 9 soccer club in CPL - InfoNews

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Soccer Hall of Famer Jim Brennan to help lead York 9 soccer club in CPL

May 10, 2018 - 2:01 PM

TORONTO - The Toronto area is getting a new soccer team, with former Toronto FC trailblazer Jim Brennan leading the way.

Brennan, TFC's first captain and player signing, is part-owner of the York 9 Football Club, which will help kick off the Canadian Premier League's inaugural season in 2019.

Brennan is part of a local ownership group that includes Carlo Baldassarra, chairman and CEO of Greenpark Group, and Preben Ganzhorn, president of York Sports and Entertainment.

Brennan, who also served in Toronto FC's front office after retiring as a player, is executive vice-president and director of soccer for York Sports.

York 9 joins Hamilton, Winnipeg, Halifax, Calgary, and a group in B.C. — dubbed Port City, B.C., but yet to announce its location — as CPL clubs.

The new pro men's league is expected to have 10 members by the end of the year with eight taking part in the 2019 season. Edmonton and Ottawa are widely expected to be among those joining the lineup.

York's 9 moniker comes from the nine municipalities in the York Region north of Toronto: Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.

A native of Newmarket, Brennan says the region is a soccer hotbed.

"Now with our population at 1.3 million, there's a lot of people up here that love this game and really support it," said Brennan, who will oversee soccer operations at the CPL club.

The area has 55,000 registered soccer players.

"The demand's here, the support's here," Brennan continued. "The one thing we were missing in the region was actually having a pro club. And now we've been fortunate enough to bring one here."

While the York team will initially play on artificial turf at York University, there are plans to start construction on a 12,000- to 15,000-seat stadium in the region in the next three years. York will serve as the team's training home.

Calgary's team will play on grass at Spruce Meadows, better known for equestrian competitions. Halifax is expected to play on grass in a 6,500-seat temporary modular stadium on the Wanderers Grounds.

Winnipeg and Hamilton will play out of CFL stadiums.

Brennan, who signed with Toronto FC in September 2006, retired in April 2010 after appearing in 84 games. He went on to serve as assistant general manager, academy coach and first-team assistant coach before leaving when Toronto cleaned house in August 2014, firing manager Ryan Nelsen and all but one of his staff.

A gritty fullback-midfielder, Brennan also played in England for Bristol City, Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield, Norwich City and Southampton. He won 49 caps and scored six goals for Canada, starting every game in the historic 2000 Gold Cup triumph.

Brennan is in Canada's Soccer Hall of Fame both as an individual and member of the Gold Cup team.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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