A soccer team in Calgary with world-class players in a growing league is set to deliver spectacular plays and fun for the whole family.
Cavalry FC is the Canadian Premier League's (CPL) team in Calgary, and since its inception in 2019 has been one of the top teams in the league. Former Cavalry FC team captain and current Team Commercial Director Mason Trafford had experience playing soccer around the world before he returned to Canada to play for Cavalry FC from 2019-2022, and he emphasized that the team and the Canadian Premier League is something special.
"It's literally world-class in terms of the facilities and people I don't think realize that, and then they come down here and they watch the soccer and they're like, 'hey, that guy has played on the National Team, or that guy has come here from Europe, that guy has played against Liverpool,' and they're like 'this is legit, this is really cool,'" he said.
On an international level Cavalry FC is home to several players who either played for some top European clubs or have played or are currently a part of the Canadian National team. This talent makes Cavalry FC special, as Trafford noted they are one of the league's most succeful clubs, winning pretty much everything there is to win except the elusive championship.
Trafford is excited to share this team with more community members this upcoming season and showcase what he expects should be another dominant team. Even if you aren't a soccer buff that recognizes certain players or names, Trafford still believes you'll know the club is special when you show up.
"When people come here, the reaction is 'that was insane.' I still think people might have this perception that it's some college field, some high school field, but they come here, and they go, 'oh my God, I feel like I was in Europe.'"
Playing out of Spruce Meadows at Atco Field, Trafford highlighted that the venue is perfect just for soccer fans, and it's also wonderful for the whole family.
"The kids are jumping in the bouncy castles and there's games in the plaza, it's almost like a day at the fair and there happens to be soccer in the background."
The game is truly an event, beyond the games and carnival-like atmosphere, there's also live music from local musicians. For their home opener coming up on April 30, they'll feature a set from Calgary band The Static Shift, and another local musician Ben McDowell will be singing the anthem. Beyond this, since the game is set at Spruce Meadows that in and of itself is a benefit, as Spruce Meadows is a beautiful location that's enjoyable to be a part of.
"You can come to have lunch and a few drinks and watch your kids run around the plaza and have fun, it's all happening here, you just need to get down here. Our biggest thing is you come down once and people are like, 'Oh my God, I had no idea that this was happening, this is pretty special.' That's 99.9% of the reaction we get from people."
Cavalry FC and the (CPL) are growing fast, so Trafford encourages everyone to be a part of the excitement of a budding new team and sport that could grow into one of the world's top soccer leagues. Trafford says soccer is growing fast in Canada and hopes that the growth of the league inspires a new generation of players. The success of Cavalry FC and the CPL is a success for Canadian soccer as a whole, and Trafford hopes people realize that aspiring kids hoping to go pro now have that opportunity in their own backyard.
"We are building pathways for kids to excel in their individual club and then get a chance here. You no longer have to move to Scandinavia like I did to get a shot at being a pro, play for Cavalry."
"We've already done it three or four times; we can send players to John Herdman's team (coach of the Canadian National Team.) We sold Joel Waterman to Montreal Impact, and he was in Qatar at the World Cup. This isn't semi-pro. This isn't amateur, this is full professional soccer, where players are legitimately going to World Cups. If you're involved with Cavalry... We're only going to keep growing and only going to keep getting better, but we need people to gravitate to the sport and go, yeah this is real."
Trafford played for the Cavalry for 4 seasons and believed in the direction of the club enough to stay on after retirement and he has one goal, to help people love the game of soccer as much as he does, "Get down here to Spruce Meadows because if you don't, you're missing out on something very new and exciting for Calgary."
Whether you're a die-hard soccer fan or just somebody who wants to enjoy an afternoon with the family, Trafford is confident Cavalry FC games have something for you. The team's home opener is coming up on April 30 keep up to date with the team and get your tickets at cavalryfc.canpl.ca.
Hear the full interview with Mason Trafford here: