The takeover ensures Guelph United and Guelph Union will compete in the Men’s Premier Division and Women’s Premier Division respectively, as they did in 2022, now with both teams working together under the same ownership to optimize their impact in the soccer community.
All competitive women’s teams will continue to be named Guelph Union, with the hope that a Women’s Reserve Division team will also take to the field in the upcoming season.
Instrumental in the deal was Keith Mason, the general manager of Guelph United who will now, in addition, take on the same role for Guelph Union. He is tasked with adding to the staff and player rosters to ensure the city remains competitive in both Premier Divisions.
Mason said: “It’s an exciting time for Guelph. To have the two premium, semi-professional soccer teams under one umbrella is going to be fantastic for our community.
“Uniting of the two makes us a complete club; we can offer the same sort of quality and services to the women’s side as the men’s side and help players reach that next level, whether that's getting into L1O or beyond.
“Between the first and second team, around 27 of those 40 players from 2022 have committed to Guelph Union this year, so we will be working with new and returning players.
“The short-term goal is to field a competitive Guelph Union team in both the Women’s Premier Division and Women’s Reserve Division and push for those playoff spots. Then we will continue to build after that to get to the top end of the tables.”
Guelph Union and Guelph United were founded as separate entities with the prospect of joining programmes. In 2021 Union opted out of a debut L1O season in the smaller, COVID-19-restricted campaign, while the Men’s Premier Division side went on to win the league title at the first time of asking and were rewarded with a place in the Canadian Championship.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have become important pillars in their community, providing on-field opportunities for Guelph-based players. Between the two clubs, they have also supported youth soccer, women’s coaching opportunities, the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington, and the Red Cross to help Ukrainian people in the country’s war with Russia.
“At Guelph United we did a good job on the field, on selling our product, and helping out with the Ukraine initiative,” added Mason.
“They [Guelph Union] have done a lot in terms of community outreach and supporting local charities. We can learn a lot from them and are looking forward to continuing to build our relationship with the local community. We will be a stronger, all-round club because of it.
“Guelph United recognizes the outstanding contribution of the previous owners of the franchise Guelph Soccer and its staff for the work they did to build a successful franchise. This made the transition of ownership a seamless process and Guelph United strives to continue to build the legacy of Guelph Union.
“Guelph Union will be keeping their name and Guelph United will be the umbrella organization. We like that there is a distinctive name for the women’s team so they have their own identity.
“By adding the women’s team, we are completing the final piece in the jigsaw by offering both adult male and female competitive soccer in the Guelph community.”
Guelph United in the Canadian Championship