On May 8, the Canadian Premier League (CPL) launched the “On Tour” series, which will debut next month in Kelowna, BC. The new series will see the CPL, Canada’s top flight of men’s professional soccer, stage competitive games at neutral sites across the country in the coming years as the League continues its mission to connect with fans from coast to coast and expand the League to new communities.

“Our new On Tour series is an innovative way to bring our League, Clubs and players to prospective new CPL markets, and we’re thrilled to be making Kelowna our first stop ‘On Tour’ this summer,” said Mark Noonan, Commissioner, Canadian Premier League. “We look forward to engaging with existing CPL supporters in the Okanagan Valley, attracting new fans to our game, meeting with Kelowna city officials and turning the On Tour series into a destination event for other potential CPL communities.”

Kelowna 2024 will be supported by the City of Kelowna, Tourism Kelowna and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport for British Columbia. The lead-up to matchday will include various family-friendly events and celebrations in the Okanagan Valley, where CPL coaches, players and personalities will be on hand to make visits to local schools and participate in guest coaching opportunities with local clubs.

CPL Announcement 2
Pictured (left to right): Rob Friend, President, Vancouver FC; Mayor Tom Dyas; Mark Noonan, Commissioner, CPL; Mason Trafford, Commercial Director, Cavalry FC. Photo credit: Mayor Tom Dyas, LinkedIn

Festival goers will be invited to an official Kelowna 2024 kickoff event as well as a gameday tailgate, among other activities to be staged for all ages in the days leading up to the match. More details about the festivities will be announced as they become available.

"We are thrilled to be the first stop of the Canadian Premier League’s On Tour series and showcase the passion and enthusiasm for soccer in the Okanagan,” Mayor Tom Dyas, City of Kelowna. “Kelowna is home to a continually growing soccer fan base, with almost 7,000 players throughout the region, of which more than 5,000 players are ages 18 years and under. We are also very interested in exploring the possibility of having a CPL franchise based in Kelowna in the future. With the FIFA World Cup scheduled in Canada for 2026, this Tour is a chance for us to test the waters and see how ready we are for this next step. I can only imagine the potential positive impact that today’s announcement will have on the future of soccer in our city.”

“The Canadian Premier League On Tour soccer festival in Kelowna is exciting news for soccer fans,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Events like these inspire young people to participate in sport and dream big. With the World Cup coming to Vancouver in 2026 we know soccer will continue to excite and unite fans throughout B.C. We are pleased to support events like this tour to bring more visitors to the Okanagan, bringing benefits to small businesses and the local community.”

Lisanne at CPL Announcement Event
Tourism Kelowna President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne, speaking at the launch event.

The 2024 edition of the “On Tour” series will see Vancouver FC face Cavalry FC in Kelowna, B.C., in their second meeting of the regular season. The match—which marks the first time the league will stage a one-off competitive match at a neutral site venue—will be played at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl (home of the Okanagan Challenge of the Pacific Coast Soccer League) on Sunday, June 16, starting at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT. It will be featured as the TonyBet Match of the Week broadcast on OneSoccer, the dedicated home for Canadian soccer. 

The match will mark a homecoming for Vancouver FC President and former Canadian Men’s National Team striker, Rob Friend, who grew up in Kelowna. Friend was the first soccer player inducted into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame in 2022.

“I am thrilled to bring the inaugural edition of the On Tour Series to Kelowna,” said Rob Friend, President, Vancouver FC. “I know how passionate everyone in the Okanagan Valley is about community, and what an opportunity this will be for local soccer fans to rally around our game and our League. It makes sense for Kelowna to be the first stop in this series, and I can’t wait to see the city set the standard for what the On Tour series can be going forward.”

Vancouver, the CPL’s most recent expansion club, will face one of the League’s most successful outfits in Cavalry FC. The Calgary-based club lifted the CPL Shield last fall as winners of the 2023 regular season.

“The On Tour series is an exciting concept, and we are delighted that Kelowna is the chosen market to launch,” said Ian Allison, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cavalry FC. “While considered a neutral site, Cavalry fans are known to be a passionate and nomadic group, so I expect we will be well supported in the Apple Bowl on June 16. The Okanagan Valley is also home to many who once, or still, call Alberta home, so it should provide for a great Tour stop. I expect to see a good representation of our colours come matchday, and our coaches and players look forward to engaging with the soccer community. We may even bring the 2023 CPL Shield for photo ops and inspiration.”


Header image: Pictured (left to right): Nikki Robinson, Director of Business Development, Tourism Kelowna; Lisanne Ballantyne, President & CEO, Tourism Kelowna; Rob Friend, President, Vancouver FC; Sara Correa Haslehurst, Business Development, Sports & Events, Tourism Kelowna