Canada Soccer’s professional club championship, the 2019 Canadian Championship, kicks off on 15 May with an expanded 13 team, 24-match competition format. Teams from League1 Ontario (L1O), Première ligue de soccer du Québec (PLSQ), United Soccer League (USL), Major League Soccer (MLS) and, for the first time, the Canadian Premier League (CanPL) will participate in the five-round competition. The winner will hoist the Voyageurs Cup after the second leg of the Final Round scheduled for 25 September. All games will be available live on OneSoccer.ca
“The Canadian Championship is the highest-level club competition in our country providing an opportunity for our Provincial amateur club champions to face Canada’s professional clubs with the ultimate goal to reach the international stage,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer General Secretary. “We are excited to welcome the debutant Canadian Premier League clubs along with first-time entrant League1 Ontario champion Vaughan Azzurri, who will join our returning clubs to compete for the coveted Voyageurs Cup and a chance to compete in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.”
PLSQ’s AS Blainville and L10’s Vaughan Azzurri SC will join CanPL teams HFX Wanderers, Cavalry FC and Pacific FC in Qualifying Round 1 with original CanPL teams Valour FC and Forge FC joining FC Edmonton in Qualifying Round 2. MLS clubs Montréal Impact FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and USL’s Ottawa Fury FC enter in Qualifying Round 3 with three-time defending Canadian Championship winners Toronto FC entering in the Semi-final Round.
Each round features a two-legged, home-and-away, aggregate score format with the away goals rule in effect. Teams who advance from the previous round will host the first leg of subsequent rounds pending facility availability. In the Final round, the higher seed team will select which leg they would like to host.
At the completion of the competition, the tournament MVP is named as the George Gross Memorial Trophy Award winner. The reigning MVP is Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio. Added to the competition in 2019 is the Young Canadian Player Award which will go to the best Canadian player in the competition 21 years of age or under.
Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League
After advancing to the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League for a second straight year in 2019 as 2018 Canadian Championship winners, Toronto FC fell in the Round of 16 to Panama’s Club Atletico Independiente de la Chorrera 1:5 on aggregate. Toronto FC’s 2018 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League run equalled the previous 2015 performance of Montréal Impact who also made the 2014-15 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Finals.
FIFA Club World Cup
The Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League winner advances to the FIFA Club World Cup to face the Club Champions of Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and Oceania. Spain’s Real Madrid are the defending three-time FIFA Club World Cup champions.
The Canadian Championship is Canada Soccer’s championship for professional soccer teams. Since 2008, the winner of the Canadian Championship is awarded the Voyageurs Cup. The winning team will also receive 30 medals.
Canadian Championship: George Gross Memorial Trophy
The George Gross Memorial Trophy recognizes the Most Valuable Player of the Canadian Championship. The trophy was named in honour of George Gross, an honoured member of the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame.
Selection of the George Gross Memorial Trophy will consider both the player’s impact on winning the Canadian Championship as well as his positive attitude and fair play throughout the Canadian Championship. The George Gross Memorial Trophy winner is selected by Canada Soccer.
Canadian Championship: Best Young Canadian Player Award
The Best Young Canadian Player Award recognizes the player with the biggest impact in the Canadian Championship. The Best Young Canadian Player must be 21 or younger in the year of the competition. In 2019, eligible Canadian players are born 1 January 1998 or later.
Selection of the Best Young Canadian Player Award will consider the player’s skill, his positive attitude, his embodiment of Canadian character and values, and his fair play throughout the Canadian Championship. The Best Young Canadian Player Award winner is selected by Canada Soccer.
About the Canadian Championship
The Canadian Championship is Canada Soccer’s highest domestic professional competition and is the sole qualification route for Canadian professional clubs into Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League and onto the FIFA Club World Cup.
Dubbed the Battle of the North, the Championship sets itself apart from all North American professional sports competitions that operate on both sides of the border as the only one to hold an all-Canadian competition that leads to the international stage.
Canadian content is a focus of the competition and since 2017, regulations state that each team must field a minimum of three eligible Canadian Internationals as starters for each match.
In 2019, the Canadian Championship will feature 13 teams including three Major League Soccer clubs, Toronto FC, Montréal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps FC; United Soccer League’s Ottawa Fury FC; seven Canadian Premier League clubs, FC Edmonton, Forge FC, Valour FC, Cavalry FC, HFX Wanderers FC, Pacific FC, and York9 FC; Première ligue du Soccer de Québec’s AS Blainville; and League1 Ontario champions Vaughan Azzurri.
The Voyageurs Cup has been awarded to the Canadian Championship winner since 2008. Created by the Voyageurs Canadian Supporters group, the trophy represents Canadian fans’ commitment to the game in our country. The George Gross Memorial Trophy recognizes the Canadian Championship’s Most Valuable Player, with Jonathan Osorio the 2018 winner. The award is named after the late George Gross, an honoured member of the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame.