ANALYSIS – The Canadian star sprinter, Andre De Grasse, will be investing in AFC Toronto. De Grasse, most famous for his success in Rio 2016, is an accomplished sprinter, winning many medals over the years.
AFC Toronto Gets Andre De Grasse On Board
We are thrilled to welcome @De6rasse to our ownership group! We believe his passion for empowering youth through sport matches our dedication to bringing women’s professional soccer to the Toronto sporting community.
— AFC Toronto (@AFC_Toronto) January 17, 2024
READ MORE: AFC Toronto City Team Is A Part Of The Project 8 League
AFC Toronto, the new professional women’s soccer team that will play their first game next year, got a celebrity to get involved with the team. De Grasse will be the celebrity of the team, which provides the team with much needed publicity. This is what De Grasse said about being part of the investment group (source: The Canadian Press of CBC Olympics):
“Bringing a women’s soccer league and having a franchise in Toronto is a pretty cool thing to have and I just hope that I can play a big part in it. Hopefully it can blow up into something big and go somewhere because obviously I’m a big fan of women’s soccer.”
In that same article, it was revealed that De Grasse will get involved with the grassroots side of soccer:
“I was more thinking about it from a grassroots community side,” De Grasse, who played youth soccer with the Scarborough Azzurri-Blues, said in a phone interview. “Just trying to be a part of something that’s pretty cool.”
Background of Andre De Grasse
De Grasse was front and centre in Rio 2016, as he competed with Usain Bolt and won one silver and two bronze medals. The silver medal was in the 200 metres and the bronze medal won was in the 100 metres and the 4×100 metre relay. He also won three more medals in Tokyo 2020, which included winning gold medal in the 200 metres. In that same Olympics, he won bronze in the 100 metres and in the 4 x100 metres relay.
Internationally, De Grasse has won five gold medals. His first two were in Toronto in the 2015 Pan American games, where he won gold in the 100 metre and 200 metre race.
This is what Usain Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter legend, said about De Grasse and his form back in 2021 (source: Thomson Reuters of CBC):
“Andre De Grasse is more consistent any time he is in shape he is always on the podium,” Bolt told Reuters. “So if that continues on this line he would be the guy to watch, or he will be the guy to beat.”
This form has also been proven true recently, as he won his first Diamond Trophy in the 200 metres, as seen in the main photo above.
What This Move Means for Project 8 and AFC Toronto
AFC Toronto is forging their own way with the first-ever first-tier professional women’s soccer team in the city and right now the only team in the province of Ontario. Having celebrities being involved in professional sports teams is nothing new. Will Ferrell, a famous American actor and comedian known for his famous movies like Daddy’s Home, is one of the current owners of Los Angeles FC.
Another example is the Whitecaps part-owner, Steve Nash, who is a famous NBA Hall of Famer from British Columbia. He has been involved with the team since they got into MLS in 2011. It is unclear if Nash will be involved with the Project 8 team in Vancouver, but since the Vancouver Project 8 team will be owned by the Whitecaps, it is definitely a strong possibility. This is what Diana Matheson said about the move made by AFC Toronto in the same Canadian Press, CBC Olympics article:
“We are thrilled to hear that Andre will be investing in Toronto’s women’s professional team,” Matheson said. “Andre is joining an investment group in Toronto that, like he does, understands the incredible impact that sport has on individuals and communities, as well as the significant growth potential of women’s professional sport in Canada.”
For AFC Toronto, it means having a public face to the club that has not played a game yet. That is something not to be understated as Drake was not a Global Ambassador of the Toronto Raptors until 2013. It also creates a certain excitement in a big city that sometimes needs big stars to promote their brand.
Future Plans for AFC Toronto and Project 8
AFC Toronto, the incoming new pro women’s soccer team in Project 8 set to kickoff in 2025 will have season tickets available this fall.
Project 8 will also announce a league name soon.
AFC Toronto also dropped “City” from its moniker.
— Ben Steiner (@BenSteiner00) January 17, 2024
READ MORE: Canada’s First Professional Women’s League Announced
There does seem to be exciting plans coming up for both AFC Toronto and Project 8 Sports. With the plan of having eight teams, likely four teams in each division, it will be interesting to see who Toronto’s potential rivals are, as they are the only confirmed team in the East Division. Vancouver and Calgary, the first two confirmed teams of the league, will be in the West Division.
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports, of an Andre De Grasse Headshot, on September 17, 2023.