"Beyond shocking": Rhian Wilkinson issues call for club women's soccer in Canada
Former Canadian women's national team star Rhian Wilkinson says it is "beyond shocking" that Canada has yet to develop a pro club opportunity for young domestic athletes, calling for more action to be taken in order to prevent talent loss at a crucial juncture in young playing careers.
Speaking to reporters on Zoom following her induction to the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame, Wilkinson affirmed her support for a pro women's soccer league by pointing out just how damaging its absence is for the future of the sport in this country.
"I think we're missing the point sometimes. There's a reason the CPL is not attached to the MLS," Wilkinson said.
"The MLS is for the few that are already making it; they're already on the national team, or they're already known names.
"We're talking about the reality of players after university. If (young women) haven't gone to a U.S. or Canadian university, and they don't have a foreign passport, they cannot continue with their career. They will not be able to go to Europe or the U.S. because they will be considered a foreign athlete, and they will cost so much money that it won't be worth it for those teams.
"It's a very rare player that will go that's not already playing on the national team.
"All the women's players and a lot of the men are waving the flag just so people understand that, at this time, if you're 21, and you have not made the (women's) national team, your career is over if you're Canadian.
"That is beyond shocking. I want everyone to understand why we're waving this red flag, because we are performing so well and if we're not using this moment to start a league?
"We're not saying blow it out of the water financially - we just need something in place that we can build on, because right now, at 21, you're retiring. It cannot be what we do to Canada to our athletes."
Former #CanWNT star and @CS_HallofFame inductee Martina Franko on the role having domestic pro club options had in her own career & development— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) March 1, 2022
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