‘It means the world’: Highlights from introductory press conference with York United’s new owners

Game Plan Sports Group, the new ownership group taking over Canadian Premier League club York United FC, was officially introduced to media on Thursday at a press conference held at York Lions Stadium. The Pasquel brothers, Eduardo (CEO), Ricardo (President and General Manager) and Miguel (Chief Commercial Officer and Head of New Strategy Alliances) addressed reporters and took questions as they were officially unveiled as the club’s new leadership.

The trio spoke on a variety of topics, from roster construction to stadiums to their general excitement for the trajectory of Canadian soccer.

Here are a few highlights of what the Pasquel brothers had to say.

On what appeals to them about Canada:

Miguel: “This has been a dream come true for us. We saw so many opportunities after we first contacted Mark [Noonan] and his team, we saw this was a big deal. We know Canada, we’ve been studying it the past several months. Soccer is growing, it’s a huge sport; more than one million players — three-year-olds and 50-year-olds play here in Canada. You’re going to be hosting the World Cup in 2026. So this is a big deal.

“When we look at it and all its advantages, it means the world to us. And like I was saying to some of the fans, this is also their team. When we look at the community, we want to grow with them.”

Ricardo: “I met my wife 25 years ago, and when I met my wife she’d just come back to Mexico because she used to live in Toronto. Ever since I met her, she’s been speaking very highly regarding Toronto — it was Toronto this, Toronto that, I started getting annoyed about Toronto. Then maybe 10 years ago was the first time that I came here and I said ‘Yeah, I get why you speak so highly of Toronto.’ So I’m very excited to be living here.”

On building a future home for York United:

Eduardo: “I think we play at a great stadium right now, we’re very grateful to the university — they’re a first-class university — but I also think we need our own stadium. For the fans, for our identity, for everything. We’re going to work on it, we’ll see some options and what’s the best option. We’re going to talk with the fans and the community, get them involved a lot in the decision, and we’re going to start working on that.”

On the state of the club’s roster and on-pitch vision:

Ricardo: “I think the team has great players — probably the best roster in the league. I don’t want to take a shot at Bobby and Forge and everybody, but I don’t think it’s going to be as happy for many years to come for them. We’re up for the challenge, I can tell you that.”

Miguel: “In the playoff game, we lost on the last play of the game, 1-0. Although [the sale] wasn’t official, we were looking as fans back then. When the game was over, it was so heartbreaking — back then it wasn’t official, now we’re officially part of this team as the owners, so we’re looking forward to putting out a great team and competing game by game.”

On building a community-first club:

Ricardo: “Since we were little kids, we used to support another team in Mexico — not anymore — but we would never identify who the owners were. It’s the community. Okay, this may be the day that we present ourselves as the owners of the team, but it’s going to be the city’s team, the community’s team.”

Eduardo: “We met last week with some important guys from York Region, some youth schools, we’ve talked to them already. We want to build something together with them in the community, with kids; that’s something we’ve already started looking at.”

On their philosophy in building a team with Canadian talent

Ricardo: “Our vision for the future is investing in young Canadian talent. That’s why we’re here, and I can tell you that’s maybe the most important factor. Obviously we have small, medium and long-term plans. … One of the plans we’re talking about is how can we be very competitive at every tournament, but at the same time having most of the roster be young Canadians. We have to find the correct balance, but in theory obviously it’s much easier than in practice.

“I can tell you we’re exploring every option, from leagues in Africa, Asia, Mexico, Latin America; if not, I think we wouldn’t be doing a great job. Regarding Mexico, I can tell you we have many connections with most of the teams, so we’ll reach out to them. We’re going to meet in maybe December, January and February, start building a relationship with them, get to know which players might be good for the CPL going forward.”