Ottawa Fury FC says it has confirmed its return to the USL for 2019, effectively silencing rumors of a potential shift to the Canadian Premier League.
The Canadian Premier League is taking shape for its 2019 launch, and will feature clubs in several prominent markets around the country. Ottawa has been competing in the USL since 2017, but rumors had mounted that the club may opt to leave the Division II circuit after this season and shift to the upstart CPL.
However, the club is denying that rumor. Though Ottawa has changed leagues before–jumping from the NASL to the USL after the 2016 season–Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group CEO Mark Goudie says that the club has already committed to the USL for next season. Goudie did not completely dismiss a future shift in leagues, but emphasized that Ottawa’s current focus is on building a competitive USL club. He also noted stability as a factor in remaining in the USL. More from the Ottawa Sun:
Asked if there was pressure to move to the new all-Canadian league, Goudie said: “I don’t think so. The pressure is internal. The CPL and what they’re trying to put together is awesome. I think it’s really good for Canadian soccer. We’ve had dialogue with them and we’ll continue to have dialogue with them.
“For us right now, the best place for us to be playing professional soccer is in the USL and we look forward to a successful season next year.”
Asked why the Ottawa club would stick with the USL, Goudie said: “We’ve been in two leagues in four years now. We started with the NASL and the USL is a stable league. It’s a good league. We kind of know what to expect.”
Asked if the door was open for a future move, Goudie said: “For sure. The USL’s aware of that, we’ve been up front with them. We’ll continue to talk to the CPL and see how their business unfolds. We wish them all the success in the world in 2019 and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Seven teams have been announced for the Candian Premier League’s inaugural 2019 season. It is expected that the league will field eight teams in its first season, with the potential to add more clubs down the road.
Image courtesy Ottawa Fury FC.