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2018 League1 Ontario Season To Feature New Format, Divisional Configuration And Several Exciting New Additions

03/14/2018, 10:00am EDT
By League1 Ontario staff

Highlights include single-table divisions, expanded playoff structure, Canadian Championship 2018 and All-Star matches hosted in Quebec

The League1 Ontario 2018 season is just around the corner, with a bevy of new changes to the competition format, and featuring the exciting debut of several new organizations to boot.

"We are very excited to see the continued growth of our league," said Dino Rossi, League1 Ontario Commissioner. 

"We are entering the fifth season of our men’s division and fourth season for our women’s league and it is incredible to see how far we have come in a relatively short amount of time."

The men's and women's schedules have been announced today and can be viewed here and here.

Now in a single-table format, the seventeen men's sides in the table will match-up only once, for a total of 16 regular season matches. The new competition format will really heap the pressure on respective table-toppers to ensure dropped points are kept to a minimum.

Following the regular season, a "Champions League" style group-stage playoff format in September and October is a new feature to the men's division that will see the top eight teams vie for a berth in the league Championship on October 20, 2018. The winner of that final earns the right to represent League1 Ontario in the 2019 Canadian Championship. 

On the women's side, thirteen teams will also compete in a single-table format, with the four top teams qualifying for an end-of-season playoff format that will determine the women's champions after a semi- and final match format. 

The women's division will now wrap up by mid-August, with playoffs being completed at the September 1 final.


(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

"We think the competition format changes we have adopted for 2018 will result in more meaningful matches over the course of the season for both our men's and women's divisions," said Rossi. 

"We are also very excited to add a Championship Final for our women, following the success of our first ever men’s final in 2017." 

Several new teams join the men's division in 2018, with a couple stalwart organizations taking a year of hiatus from competition. 

Unionville Milliken SC becomes the second team in League1 Ontario to declare full-professional status, while Alliance United FC and Darby FC add east-GTA firepower to an already impressive list of teams. You can learn more about Alliance and Darby here and here.

Durham United FA will take a year off from the men’s competition in 2018, with an eye to returning in 2019. North Toronto Nitros have opted not to renew their license.

"We are very pleased to welcome Unionville-Milliken SC, Alliance United FC and Darby FC to our men's division in 2018," said Rossi. 

"We expect that all three sides will be highly competitive in their debut seasons. At the same time, we are sorry to see North Toronto leave as they proved to be a very strong, well coached group. As for Durham United, we hope to see them back in the men’s division in 2019 as they are one of our founding teams."


(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

On the women's side of the league, the Oakville Blue Devils will complement their successful men's program with the establishment of a women's side, while the addition of Hamilton United Elite opens up a brand new geographic region of competition. Learn more about these teams here and here

DeRo United FA is a final addition to the women's section, and is expected to bring a strong mix of experienced and youthful talent from the east-GTA via their partnerships with UOIT and GS United. Sanjaxx Lions will take a break from women's competition in 2018.

"2018 looks to be the strongest yet for our women's division," said Rossi. 

"We believe all three new entrants will bring great quality to the competition and will create a lot of excitement for top level women’s football in their respective communities."


(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

The 2018 season promises to be an exciting one, with new elements of competition, new faces, and special events like the league's first involvement in the men's Canadian Championship, as well as men's and women's All-Star matches hosted by the PLSQ in Quebec on June 30th. 

"This is, without doubt, the most important year for League1 since our inaugural season in 2014," concluded Rossi. "We have so much happening this year, it’s almost dizzying." 

"We are very excited about the expansion of our All-Star game program with our partners at the PLSQ, which will now consist of both men's and women's All-Star games." 

"Obviously, Oakville Blue Devil's participation in the Canadian Championships is going to be a big highlight of the 2018 season and we hope they can make a deep run in that competition." 

"Also, the Canadian Premier League commencing next April, 2019 will be huge for our top male players that strive to make the jump to the top level of football. This is a great time to be involved in Canadian soccer."

Check out the team page for your favourite side via the respective drop-down menus on league1ontario.com or through the team thumbnail images at the top of the league webpage.


(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

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