High hopes for premier league
Nik Ledgerwood went to Europe in 2003 in search of soccer employment. He was 18, excited and a little scared.
“It was all those kind of emotions. You didn’t know what to expect going there,” he recalled. “To be on trial, if you speak to any player, it’s a weird, uncomfortable experience. You have to fit into this team atmosphere, you don’t know any of the players or the coach. You don’t speak the language.”
The 33-year-old Ledgerwood ended up playing more than dozen years in Germany and Sweden before returning to his native Alberta.
Now, as one of the Canadian Premier League’s first signings, the defensive midfielder who has won 50 caps for Canada is looking to help others start their careers at home. Joining Calgary’s Cavalry FC is more than a job for him.
“I think people are going to underestimate how big of an impact this league will have on soccer in Canada — for the youth growing up, for all that next generation of players who want to aspire to be part of the national team and play professional soccer,” said Ledgerwood, a native of Lethbridge.
“Once this gets up and running, I think it will be the next biggest thing for Canadian soccer players because we didn’t have anything before.”
The CPL, set to kick off in April with seven founding clubs, announced the signing of Ledgerwood and nine other players Thursday. The league has already held a U-Sports draft, giving top collegiate talent the chance to make its squads.
Nik Ledgerwood, seen in action against Belize, is one of Canadian Premier League’s first signings. The CPL announced the signing of 10 players Thursday.