Concacaf President Victor Montagliani was unsure of what the standard of play would be like in the Canadian Premier League prior to its inaugural season kicking off.
But after watching the CPL complete its first campaign, Montagliani admitted he was impressed with the quality of the league.
Montagliani offered his views on the CPL’s first season on the recent Footy Prime The Podcast with hosts James Sharman, Craig Forrest and Danny Dichio.
The head of Concacaf cited strong showings by Cavalry FC and York9 FC in the Canadian Championship, as well as Forge FC’s solid run in the Concacaf League, as indicators of the quality to be found in the CPL.
“I have to be honest: I was really surprised with the level of play,” Montagliani told Footy Prime The Podcast.
“Not only the obvious results, where Cavalry knocked off the Whitecaps in the Canadian Championship… York probably should have knocked off eventual champions Montreal, but (to) also have Forge, who went as a debutant and actually did well in the Concacaf League against some tough Central American teams, those results are a little bit of a litmus of the quality that was in the league.”
Montagliani, a former president of Canada Soccer, also discussed the importance of the CPL being Canada’s top domestic league, something the country didn’t have since the old Canadian Soccer League folded in 1992.
“One of the things that I’ve noted in my travels throughout the world is that this is what (the CPL) is all about… As a footballing nation, this is the one thing you have to have, and the one thing you can never ever give away is your sovereignty. Having a national league, whatever that national league is – it might not be the EPL, it might not be Serie A, it might not be MLS, and that’s fine – but it’s yours. That’s something that every country has and every country is proud of, and it’s a base for every country. Canada finally has theirs after many years of going without one,” Montagliani said.
“I think (the CPL has) done well. I think it’s a strong leadership group, not only at the club level, but at the league level, and I think the future is bright for that league.”
To listen to the full interview on Footy Prime The Podcast, click here.