Ottawa Fury FC, which many had expected to make a move to the new Canadian Premier League next year, has opted to remain in the United Soccer League next season.
"We’re happy with the USL. We’ve confirmed to the USL that we’ll be back next year." said Mark Goudie, president and CEO of Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which owns the soccer team.
But Goudie says the door is open to joining the new Canadian pro league down the line. "And the USL is aware of that," he said.
The CPL has announced plans to kick off next spring with eight teams. It has announced seven already, with many thinking Ottawa would be the eighth.
"The CPL and what they’re trying to put together is awesome. I think it’s really good for Canadian soccer," said Goudie. "We’ve had dialogues with them and will continue to have dialogues with them.
"I think 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."
Attempt to reach the CPL for comment were not immediately successful.
Ottawa and Toronto FC 2 are the only Canadian teams in the 33-franchise USL this season. TFC 2 has already announced it will play in the new USL Division III next season.
Goudie says the USL "serves our purpose," noting the Fury has been in two leagues in four years, including the NASL.
"The USL is a stable league … it’s a good league and we kind of know what to expect from it," he said.
Ottawa currently stands ninth in the USL Eastern Conference with a 10-13-5 record.
CPL teams announced for next year are HFC Wanderers FC (Halifax), York City 9 (suburban Toronto), Forge FC (Hamilton), Valour FC (Winnipeg), FC Edmonton, Cavalry FC (Calgary) and Pacific FC (Victoria).