London proceeds with women's team

KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

London City is moving forward with an entry in the Canadian Professional Soccer League women's division even though the sport's governing body hasn't given its blessing.

CPSL officials said yesterday they're in negotiations with the Ontario Soccer Association, which initially balked at the formation of a women's league.

"We think we're making enough progress that we will now be approved," said CPSL's Stan Adamson.

Adamson said the league began preparing for a women's division three years ago and submitted an application to the OSA last May.

In the past couple of months, concern has been expressed to the OSA that CPSL will take players away from other elite teams in the province.

Ryan Gauss, general manager of City's female division, said the resistance to his team stems from an unfounded fear there aren't enough top females to supply all teams.

"It's ignorant to say there's not enough talent," Gauss said.

"I hear girls say they don't have a place to play."

Gauss backed up his claim with statistics showing more than 150,000 females play soccer in Ontario.

There are many more who aren't registered.

An OSA meeting has been scheduled for early April to discuss women's elite soccer in the province.

Beginning in June, the CPSL plans to hold a three-month tournament, which it will call the Canada Cup and is similar to the men's event.

The teams will play a two-game series with each of the five other teams participating.

The top four teams will advance to the final weekend in September.

Besides City, other teams are Toronto Supra, North York Astros, Durham Storm, Windsor Border Stars and Vaughan Shooters.

All teams have the support of their governing districts.

City wants to hold the Cup finals for both men and women at Cove Road field and will submit a bid to the league by March 31.

The CPSL plans to launch a full league in 2006.

"We're looking to move women's soccer in London and Canada in the right direction," Gauss said.

City also announced yesterday that former Western Mustang and all-Canadian Eva Havaris has signed an intent- to-play contract with the team. She is also acting as a consultant to the club.

City will be coached by Tonino Commisso, who played for City's men's team for 13 seasons.

"We want to showcase female players," he said. "It's a feeding ground for the national level."

City plans to hold tryouts April 2-3.


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