Battle of the North expands as 2018 Canadian Championship schedule announced
Canada Soccer – The Battle of the North will kick off 6 June 2018 in Laval, Quebec as Première ligue de soccer du Québec (PLSQ) and League1 Ontario entrants join the 2018 Canadian Championship. The competition will culminate 15 August when the 11th Canadian Championship winner is presented the Voyageurs Cup earning themselves a place in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League and opportunity to play in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The 2018 edition of the Canadian Championship will feature an additional qualifying round with PLSQ champions AS Blainville hosting League1 Ontario (L1O) champions Oakville Blue Devils before traveling to play the return leg 13 June 2018 in Oakville. The winner will face Ottawa Fury FC in the second qualifying round over a home and away series on 20 and 27 June 2018 to determine who will advance to face reigning champions Toronto FC.
Adding teams from the highest levels of competition in Ontario and Quebec builds on the Canadian Content regulations instituted in 2017. All teams were required to start three Canadian players throughout the 2017 Canadian Championship, which will be carried forward in 2018 giving Canadian professionals meaningful minutes in a professional domestic cup competition.
“We are excited to welcome the champions of League1 Ontario and Première ligue de soccer du Québec into an expanded Canadian Championship,” said Canada Soccer General Secretary Peter Montopoli. “This competition is about showcasing Canadian Content at the top level of professional competition and providing an expanded opportunity for Canadian players, clubs and coaches to have the opportunity to compete in a meaningful national competition with the ultimate goal of advancing to the FIFA Club World Cup.”
2017 Canadian Championship winners Toronto FC will open defence of their title in the semi-final round on 18 July 2018 when they travel to face the second qualifying round winners. In the other semi-final, Montreal Impact FC will host Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The return leg will be played a week later on 25 July 2018.
The semi-final round winners will face off in the first leg of the Canadian Championship final round on August 8 before the final match, which will determine Canada’s 2019 CONCACAF Champions League entry, will be played on 15 August 2018.
2018 Canadian Championship Schedule (home team listed first)
First Qualifying Round (1QR)
6 June 2018 AS Blainville v Oakville Blue Devils
13 June 2018 Oakville Blue Devils v AS Blainville
Second Qualifying Round (2QR)
20 June 2018 Winner 1QR v Ottawa Fury FC
27 June 2018 Ottawa Fury FC v Winner 1QR
18 July 2018 Winner 2QR v Toronto FC
18 July 2018 Impact Montreal FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC
25 July 2018 Toronto FC v Winner 2QR
25 July 2018 Vancouver Whitecaps FC v Impact Montreal FC
8 August 2018 Winner Semi-Final v Winner Semi-Final
15 August 2018 Winner Semi-Final v Winner Semi-Final
About the Canadian Championship
- The Canadian Championship is Canada Soccer’s highest domestic professional soccer competition and it is the sole qualification route for Canadian professional clubs into CONCACAF Champions League and onto the FIFA Club World Cup.
- The current champions are Toronto FC who have won the tournament six times.
- Canadian content is a focus of the content and since 2017 competition regulations state that each team must field a minimum of three Canadian starters for each match.
- 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. The Trophy is named after the late George Gross, a respected journalist and honoured member of the Soccer Hall of Fame. Last year’s winner was Sebastian Giovinco of Toronto FC.
- In 2018, the competition will feature six clubs from four different leagues: Toronto FC (MLS), Impact Montreal FC (MLS), and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS) all earn automatic berths to the semi-final round. Ottawa Fury FC (USL) earns a second qualifying round berth. In addition, the champions of Ontario and Quebec’s top senior club competitions, League1 Ontario and Première ligue de soccer du Québec, earn entry to the opening first qualifying round.
- Since 2008, three Canadian winners have reached the Quarter-final stage or further in CONCACAF Champions League: Toronto FC once (Semi-finals in 2011-12), Impact Montréal FC twice (Quarter-finals in 2008-09 and Grand Final in 2014-15), and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Semi-finals 2016-17).
- In 2018, the CONCACAF Champions League format will change to a single-elimination tournament with the winner qualifying for the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup. As Canadian Championship winners in 2017, Toronto FC have been drawn against Colorado Rapids in the opening round.
Fans can follow along during the competition using #CanChamp on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
For more information on the competition, visit www.canadianchampionship.ca