Canadian Premier League clubs will enter this year’s Canadian Championship in the first and second rounds of a revamped, 24-match domestic Cup competition, the Canadian Soccer Association revealed Thursday.
By virtue of gaining CSA membership in 2018, York9 FC – along with Cavalry FC, HFX Wanderers FC, & Pacific FC – will enter the tournament in Qualifying Round 1.
“The Canadian Premier League and its clubs are thrilled to be part of newly-expanded Canadian Championship,” said CPL Commissioner David Clanachan. “As we continue to grow the game in Canada, we are excited to see this tournament expand to 13 teams through the addition of CPL clubs.
“All Canadian Premier League clubs are looking forward to battling teams from other leagues for a coveted spot in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League as our vision is to create a solid foundation that will grow the game and help Canadians be a force on the world stage.”
The four CPL clubs who gained CSA membership in 2018 will join AS Blainville (PLSQ) and Vaughan Azzurri (L1O) in an initial six-club opening round that will produce three winners.
The round 1 winners will then be drawn against three remaining CPL clubs — FC Edmonton, Forge FC and Valour FC — in Round 2 to produce three third-round qualifiers.
The three third-round qualifiers will then be drawn against the Ottawa Fury (USL), Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS) and Montreal Impact (MLS) to produce three more fourth-round qualifiers.
Those winners will join defending champions Toronto FC (MLS) in a semifinal round that will whittle the competition to a pair of finalists.
The winner of this year’s Canadian Championship will secure a place in the 2020 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (CCL).
“The Canadian Championship presents another incredible opportunity for our players to excel and showcase their abilities at the club level,” Clanachan added. “Our clubs are delighted for this opportunity because winning the Canadian Championship provides a ticket to the biggest tournament in North America and, potentially, the biggest club competition in the world.”
*A draw will be held at a future date to determine round-by-round pairings.
*All rounds feature home-and-away aggregate series with away goals serving as the first tie-breaker
1ST ROUND (May 15/22)
*Includes CPL clubs that secured CSA membership in 2018 and semi-professional qualifiers
HFX Wanderers FC
AS Blainville (Cannot be drawn against L1O qualifier)
Vaughan Azzurri (Cannot be drawn against PLSQ qualifier)
2ND ROUND (June 5/12)
*Including Round 1 winners, CPL clubs that secured CSA membership in 2017 and tournament returnees FC Edmonton
3RD ROUND (July 10/24)
*Including MLS clubs and Ottawa Fury (D2)
SEMIFINAL ROUND (Aug. 7/14)
*Including defending champions Toronto FC
FINAL (Sept. 18/25)
SF1 winner vs. SF2 winner
“The Canadian Championship has evolved into a true domestic Cup competition, with multiple levels of entrants all battling to secure a coveted Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League spot. We are proud to welcome seven teams as first-time entrants from League1 Ontario and the Canadian Premier League that join six returning teams in our 2019 Battle of the North.” – CSA President Steven Reed.