The draw is done and the 2019 Men's League1 Ontario Champions, Masters FA Saints, now know their opponent for Qualifying Round I of the 2020 Canadian Championship: it's local neighbours, CPL side York9 FC.
"We're very excited to play one of the local Ontario clubs in the highest level competition in Canada," said League1 Ontario Men's Division Commissioner, Dino Rossi.
"The fact that local supporters of York9 and Masters will be able to attend both legs of the match is a special occasion. This could be our version of a "subway" derby!"
Canada Soccer’s 2020 Canadian Championship will feature 12 teams from four leagues across four rounds beginning 17 June 2020 and culminating in the crowning of the 2020 Canadian Championship winner on 23 September 2020. The 2020 Canadian Championship winner will raise the Voyageurs Cup and be provided Canada’s only direct entry into the 2021 Concacaf Champions League competition.
"The Canadian Championship provides Canada’s professional clubs and those playing in standards-based leagues with the direct qualification route to the Concacaf Champions League competition," said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer General Secretary.
"Canada Soccer is proud to provide international playing opportunities to its member professional clubs and deliver an exciting Voyageurs Cup competition to fans from coast-to-coast."
The 2020 Canadian Championship schedule reflects regional considerations to ensure that team travel is minimized and local rivalries are fostered for the coast to coast competition. Canada Soccer’s Men’s Professional Game Committee which includes representation from all four leagues competing in the competition had the opportunity to review and provide input to the final schedule at its November 2019 meeting.
2019 League1 Ontario Men's Champions, Masters FA Saints (Photo: Kevin Raposo Photography)
Eight teams will enter Qualifying Round 1 to play two-legged home and away matches on 16-25 June 2020. Premier Ligue du Quebec (PLSQ) Champions AS Blainville, making their third straight Canadian Championship appearance, and League1 Ontario (L1O) Champions Masters Futbol Academy were drawn into separate brackets to provide them with an opportunity to face Canadian Premier League (CanPL) sides HFX Wanderers FC and York9 FC, respectively. Four other CanPL sides will compete in Qualifying Round 1 including FC Edmonton who will face Pacific FC while Valour FC will match up against rivals Forge FC.
The Quarterfinal Round will run 7-17 July and see 2019 Canadian Championship Semi-Finalists Cavalry FC (CanPL), who advanced the furthest of CanPL teams in last year’s edition, join the competition along with Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Toronto FC and 2019 Canadian Championship winners Montreal Impact.
Quarterfinal matches will take place 8-15 July 2020. The Semi-Final Round will take place 12-19 August 2020 with the Final Round scheduled for 16-23 September 2020.
2020 Canadian Championship Schedule
Qualifying Round 1 (16-25 June 2020):
Match 1 - FC Edmonton (CanPL) v Pacific FC (CanPL)
Match 2 - Valour FC (CanPL) v Forge FC (CanPL)
Match 3 - AS Blainville (PLSQ) v HFX Wanderers (CanPL)
Match 4 - Masters Futbol Academy (L10) v York9 FC (CanPL)
Quarterfinal Round (7-16 July 2020):
Match 5 - Winner Match 1 v Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS)
Match 6 - Winner Match 2 v Cavalry FC (CanPL)
Match 7 - Winner Match 3 v Montreal Impact (MLS)
Match 8 - Winner Match 4 v Toronto FC (MLS)
Semi-Final Round (11-20 August 2020):
Match 9 - Winner Match 5 v Winner Match 6
Match 10 - Winner Match 7 v Winner Match 8
Final Round (15-24 September 2020):
Match 11 - Winner Match 9 v Winner Match 10
Ryan Telfer, York9 (Photo: courtesy of CPL)
About the Canadian Championship:
The Canadian Championship is Canada Soccer’s highest domestic professional soccer competition and is the sole qualification route for Canadian professional clubs into Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
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. The winner has the opportunity to compete in international competition including the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League and ultimately the FIFA Club World Cup.
As Canada Soccer’s highest domestic professional soccer competition, Canadian Content is a focus of the competition and since 2017 the Canadian Content rule has required that three eligible Canadian internationals start each match with nearly 60% of the starting line-ups in the 2019 edition featuring Canadians.
In 2019, the Canadian Championship featured 13 teams including three Major League Soccer clubs, Toronto FC, Montréal Impact FC 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 de Soccer du 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 recognises the Canadian Championship's Most Valuable Player, with Ignacio Piatti the 2019 winner. The award is named after the late George Gross, an honoured member of the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame.
New in 2019, the Best Young Canadian Player Award recognised the player 21 years or younger who made the biggest impact in the Canadian Championship.