In a city famed for winter sports, Toronto FC has been leading the way as one of the major forces in the MLS in recent years.

From launching in 2007 to being crowned MLS champions just ten years later, the club’s journey has been a rapidly successful one. Fans regularly pack into BMO Field on the banks of Lake Ontario to cheer on the team as they compete in the Eastern Conference.

With an NBA championship winning Raptors, and world famous Maple Leaf NHL side also in the city, Torontonians are spoilt for choice when it comes to elite sport. According to one official in the city though, it’s Toronto’s diversity which allows each sport, especially football, to prosper.

“Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world and there are so many different backgrounds,” says Chris Shewfelt, Vice President, Business Operations at Toronto FC and Toronto Argonauts. “Football is the global game – so this works out very well from our standpoint. We have a large base of soccer fans in this market, so really it has been our job just to convince them that Toronto FC and MLS Soccer is a great product.”

For Chris and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), which owns Toronto FC, Argonauts, Raptors and Maple Leafs, bringing football to the city was about allowing locals to experience something new and exciting, and a sport which has really caught the imagination of North American fans in recent years.

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BMO Field, the home of Toronto FC.

“When we launched it was about the fan experience and something that was totally unique and different to the market place,” he says. “As we’ve evolved though the years it’s been about an unbelievable product on the pitch that was working towards winning an MLS championship, so it’s really caught fire over the years.”

After hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2015, Canada will play joint-host to the men’s event in 2026 alongside the US and Mexico. As the most popular sport among youngsters in Canada, it’s a very exciting time for the sport.

“The FIFA 2026 Word Cup is going to be unbelievable,” Chris finishes. “What’s going to happen here for the sport in Toronto and in the greater Toronto area will be transformative. It’s going to take soccer to the next level.”

UCFB will be opening global study hubs at Toronto FC’s BMO Field, as well as New York’s Red Bull Arena, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, giving students a true and wide look at global sport. Find out more.