Johan Cruyff Institute and League1 Canada enter education partnership

Toronto, ON – (April 16, 2024) – Johan Cruyff Institute and League1 Canada have agreed to a partnership that will support the education and career development of people associated with soccer at the Pro-Am level in Ontario and British Columbia.

Johan Cruyff Institute is a global business school that was founded in 1999 and delivers academic programs across sports management, marketing, leadership, and football business. Operating out of Barcelona, Spain, the organisation also has campuses in the Netherlands, Mexico, and Peru, and one of the first online platforms delivering education worldwide.

In his playing career, Johan Cruyff amassed more than 550 appearances across Europe and North America and on the international stage. Through Johan Cruyff Institute, his legacy continues to develop athletes and sports professionals to become the next generation of leaders in sports business.

League1 Canada is focused on developing a critical bridge from high-performance youth soccer to the professional game. The League1 Canada national alliance currently boasts four Pro-Am leagues operating in the country’s largest provinces – League1 BC, League1 Alberta, League1 Ontario, and Ligue1 Québec – and will feature nearly 200 teams, female and male, participating in its standards-driven competitions in 2024. Future expansion is targeted for Atlantic Canada and the Prairie Provinces.

Collectively, these leagues have provided an important platform for players, coaches, match officials, and administrators to step up to the highest levels of the sport domestically and internationally, with close to 300 former League1 players moving to the professional level over the past decade.

Starting today – on the eve of League1 Ontario’s 10th anniversary season kicking off – this partnership will bring 25 years of expertise and resources to players and club staff across the League1 Canada network. A key feature of this relationship will be the availability of scholarships, awarded to selected individuals and increasing development opportunities for them to build careers in the game.

Mariël Koerhuis, General Manager at Johan Cruyff Institute, said: “Canada, being qualified for the 2026 FIFA World Cup as host, is an important field for further educational purposes in football business and sport management in general.

“It is one of the arenas where we definitely seek to create synergies. Together with League1 Canada and by means of activating this partnership, we seek to reach out to more sport professionals in Canada and beyond for the better of sports.”

John Gibson, Interim General Manager of League1 Canada, said: “This partnership between League1 Canada and Johan Cruyff Institute further reinforces that this is an exciting time to be involved in the sport of soccer in Canada.

“One of League1 Canada’s aims is to develop capacity across the Canadian soccer landscape. This new partnership aligns perfectly with that goal by providing greater access to unique education opportunities for ambitious players, coaches, match officials, club staff and league officials to develop and thrive as professionals in the sport industry.

“This partnership has enormous potential to benefit individuals associated with our member leagues wherever they are in their career journey, and to help shape the future generations of Canadian sports leaders.”