Editor: With a town as diverse and geographically separated as Langley, it can sometimes be difficult to unite the community around one project. However, there might now be the opportunity to do just that.
As of May 2017, Canada has its first nation-wide, Tier 1, FIFA-sanctioned professional soccer league. For many young girls and boys who grew up in Langley like myself, soccer was one of our first loves. The sports scene in Langley is much more varied than just soccer. Football, rugby, hockey, baseball, and lacrosse are just a few of the sports that play at various levels, and all of them bring a level of excellence to our sporting scene. However, with this new league, there’s a really interesting opportunity to bring professional, high-level soccer to Langley.
There are some obvious challenges that jump out immediately. For one, where would a team play? McLeod Athletic Park is a location that immediately springs to mind. Or perhaps building it near the Langley Events Centre to centralize our sporting scene.
Another question is, who would pony up for such a team. By pulling together private industry (there would have to be an ownership group), non-profit organizations, as well some government to help with the planning, it’s an achievable goal.
Playing out of Langley comes with some advantages, like being centrally located in the Lower Mainland. People don’t have to drive all the way out to Vancouver to watch professional games, and when Langley eventually gets some rapid transit it will be easier for others to get out here.
The success of the LEC and the teams that play out of it demonstrate that high level sports can be run out of Langley, and as long as there is the proper planning and the community is consulted throughout the whole process, there is little downside in exploring a bid for a team.
Imagine what it would do for all those young kids who play soccer in Langley and the entire Fraser Valley to know that they could play professional soccer in their own backyards. Imagine what it would do for the athletic community to have a made-in-Langley project that we could all support.