USA on the soccer field #11 - Why Canadian teams play in the United States?
Photo by Toronto FC

There are two national championships in operation in Canada. They are: Canadian Championship and Canadian Premier League (CPL). Explaining the competitions in the same order mentioned above, the first is very similar to other tournaments around the world, such as: US Open Cup and FA Cup. The second is the main league in the country. 

The Canadian Championship is the only competition that brings together all Canadian teams. All CPL clubs, MLS franchises and the champions of Ligue 1 Ontario and Primère Ligue de Soccer du Québec (PLSQ). Both are leagues from the provinces of Ontario and Québec. Canadian Premier League was created in 2019 to be Canada's top league. Unlike Major League Soccer (MLS), participants aren’t franchises. They are independent clubs. Currently, there are eight teams: Atletico Ottawa, Cavalry FC, FC Edmonton, Forge FC, HFX Wanderers, Pacific FC, Valour FC e York9 FC.

Journalist Thomas Nef was born in Chile and raised in Canada. In addition, he works at VAVEL USA. Therefore, he explained the differences between the competitions and highlighted the match between the Canadian Premier League champion and the MLS franchises.

“The Canadian Championship is our version of the FA Cup. The national cup. This competition is very important because it qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions League. Before the creation of the Canadian Premier League, only 4 or 5 teams played and now the competition has 11 participants. Due to COVID-19 and due to lack of time, only the CPL champion (Forge FC) will face Toronto FC; the best of the three Canadians who played against each other”, said Thomas.

In addition, Nef compared the soccer style of both countries. In his opinion, the United States has a better level than Canada and, even with immigration, they managed to maintain their own style of playing.

“Well, obviously American soccer has been much more successful. As well as the national team, the league and the players too. Among the national team I would say that they are game styles similar to the North American. I would say that immigration from both countries increases talent on the field. Canada is a long way from reaching the United States”.

Until 2019, there were four teams playing in the neighboring country. Ottawa Fury (club that played in the USL, but doesn’t exist anymore), Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact and Toronto FC who are in the MLS. There are many issues involved for them not to leave this league.

“Ottawa Fury is no more. It was dissolved after 2019. In 2020, Atletico Madrid came and bought a club called Atletico Ottawa. In the case of Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC and Montreal Impact, I don't see that being possible today. A lot has been invested in MLS. Time is money. In addition, as long as the Canadian Soccer Federation continues to allow it, they will still be there”.

Remember that Canada is only entitled to a place in the CONCACAF Champions League, as well as a Caribbean team also is entitled. The greatest number of vacancies are with Mexicans and Americans.