The CPL expansion team in the Vancouver area will launch the game in 2023 in the suburb of Langley

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The ninth Canadian Premier League franchise will start next spring in Langley, British Columbia

The league announced in November that a Vancouver-area team would be next. On Wednesday, the suburb of Langley and Willoughby Community Park were revealed as the home of the expansion franchise.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Township of Langley and Metro Vancouver to the CPL family,” said CPL Executive Vice President Glen Johnson.

“The popularity and excitement surrounding soccer in Canada has never been greater. Having a professional Canadian club playing at Willoughby Community Park will be a key driver in developing Canadian talent in the area. It will also open the door to many new and exciting opportunities for the region’s passionate football community.

Langley, a township with a population of approximately 145,000, is located some 45 kilometers southeast of Vancouver.

The Vancouver-area franchise is the first addition to the CPL since joining Atletico Ottawa in 2020.

The new team is owned by SixFive Sports & Entertainment LP, a Canada-based investment fund whose executives are involved in the ownership of champion CPL Pacific FC, which plays in Langford on Vancouver Island.

SixFive Sports is a global football fund “seeking investments in high-growth markets, under-managed European clubs and distressed or recovering opportunities”.

SixFive’s general partners are former Canadian internationals Rob Friend and Josh Simpson, investment entrepreneur Dean Shillington and Starlight Investments, a Toronto-based private real estate investment and asset management company.

The name SixFive comes from the size of Friend and Shillington.

Shillington is chairman of Knightsbridge Capital Group and owner of Caffe Artigiano, which has branches in British Columbia and Alberta.

Simpson has won 43 caps for Canada while Friend has won 32.

Simpson played in his football club for England Millwall, FC Kaiserlautern in Germany, Manisaspor in Turkey and BSC Young Boys in Switzerland. He retired in 2015 following a badly broken leg.

Originally drafted by the Chicago Fire in 2003, Friend opted to go to Europe and played in Norway for Moss FK and Molde FK and in the Netherlands with SC Heerenveen and Heracles Almelo. He then launched successfully in Germany, with Borussia Moenchengladbach, Hertha Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt and TSV 1860 Munchen.

He joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in January 2014 but retired later that year, aged 33, after missing more than five months of action due to concussion-related issues.

Friend is also co-founder and partner of the DRG Investment Group with Simpson.

Simpson is also co-founder and partner of Von Schwanau Invest AG, an international real estate investment group based in Switzerland.

Current CPL teams are HFX Wanderers FC, (Halifax) Atletico Ottawa, York United FC (Toronto), Forge FC (Hamilton), Valor FC (Winnipeg), Cavalry FC (Calgary), FC Edmonton and Pacific FC.

The league has already granted “exclusive rights” to an expansion franchise to a company considering starting a franchise in Saskatoon. Former Commissioner David Clanachan is working to establish a franchise in the Windsor area.

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