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Sinclair says new U.S. loop will help Canadian squad

The Canadian Press

12/14/2012 7:34:47 PM

VANCOUVER -- Canadian captain Christine Sinclair said Friday she will play in a new U.S.-based women's professional soccer league slated to start up in 2013.

"The new professional league in the U.S., definitely, I need to be a part of that," said Sinclair following a 2015 Women's World Cup logo unveiling ceremony at B.C. Place Stadium.

Slated to start next spring, the new eight-team circuit is a joint venture between the Canadian, U.S. and Mexican soccer federations. Canada has committed to placing 16 international-calibre players in the yet-to-be-named league, while the U.S. will place up to 24 and Mexico will contribute at least 12.

Players are still waiting to see where they will wind up playing

"Not a lot of information has been released," said Sinclair.

The new venture is a third effort to launch a women's pro league in the U.S. following the failures of Women's Professional Soccer and the Women's United Soccer Association.

The WPS folded as a result of a dispute with a former club owner. The suspension of its season last January came on the same day an international transfer window closed -- and left Sinclair and a number of players without teams to play on in an Olympic year.

Consequently, the Canadian team had to scramble to set up a Vancouver-based residency camp for her and others who did not secure roster spots with European pro teams.

Sinclair said the new league will give Canada's top players a chance to play against the world's best on a regular basis. It will also help coach John Herdman prepare the same training schedule for all players.

"In the past, there's been a half dozen of us playing professionally. ... It's just going to help our team tremendously," Sinclair said.

The 29-year-old Burnaby, B.C., native hopes that Vancouver and other Canadian cities will house teams in the new league. The Vancouver Whitecaps announced last week they will not field a team in the W-League, a lower-tier circuit operated by the U.S.-based United Soccer Leagues.

Whitecaps chief operating officer Rachel Lewis, whose organization strives to develop talent for Canada's men's and women's teams, attributed the decision largely to the formation of the new U.S. pro league and the plan to place Canadian internationals in it.

"I'd love to see (the new league) head up to Canada," said Sinclair.

Star Canadian striker Melissa Tancredi said she will wait a year before playing in the new league, because she plans to finish her chiropractic studies first.