Canadian Championship

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Canadian Championship
Championnat canadien
Canadian Championship 2021 logo.png
RegionCanada (CONCACAF)
Number of teams13
Current championsCF Montréal (5th title)
Most successful club(s)Toronto FC (7 titles)
Television broadcastersOneSoccer
2021 Canadian Championship

The Canadian Championship (French: Championnat canadien) is an annual soccer tournament contested by premier Canadian professional teams. The winner is awarded the Voyageurs Cup and Canada's berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.[1] It is contested by Major League Soccer sides Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and CF Montréal, eight Canadian Premier League sides, and the champions of League1 Ontario and the Première Ligue de soccer du Québec. The tournament is organized by the Canadian Soccer Association[2] and has been broadcast on OneSoccer since 2019.[3]


The Canadian Championship is a club soccer competition organized by the Canadian Soccer Association. The championship determines Canada's entry in the annual CONCACAF Champions League. Until the creation of the Canadian Premier League in 2019, all fully professional Canadian soccer teams played in United States-based leagues. Prior to the creation of the official competition in 2008, there was no domestic competition to determine the best Canadian professional team (as Canada Soccer's Challenge Trophy only crowned the best amateur team). Though a notable attempt was conducted by the Canadian Soccer League through the Open Canada Cup, which ultimately managed to attract professional and amateur clubs from British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.[4] The tournament was dissolved in 2008 after the creation of the Canadian Championship.

An unofficial Canadian Champion determined in the same manner as 2008–2010, a home-and-away series with the games taken from USL First Division (USL-1) regular season league games, was awarded by the Canadian national teams' supporters group, The Voyageurs. This unofficial Canadian Championship became less legitimate when Toronto was awarded a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to start play in 2007 in the USSF Division 1 MLS league above the USSF Division 2 USL-1 league. Toronto's USL-1 team self relegated, while the other two Canadian professional soccer teams did not play meaningful games against the new MLS team in 2007.[5]

For the 2008–09 season, CONCACAF changed their eight team FIFA Club World Cup qualification tournament from a two-legged aggregate goals knockout elimination format, named the CONCACAF Champions Cup, to a format mirroring the UEFA Champions League with a play-in round, a group stage, and lastly a two-leg aggregate score knockout format for the final rounds. The format change for the 2008–09 CONCACAF Champions League provided the opportunity to expand the number of qualifying teams from different countries, and Canada was awarded a single entry in the play-in round preceding the group stage. The year 2008 was the first time a Canadian entry had been awarded by CONCACAF since 1992, and the first time a Canadian team participated since 1976.[6] To award the new Canadian entry, the CSA created a new competition consisting of a home-and-away round-robin series between the three fully professional Canadian teams: Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps.[7] The 2008 Canadian Championship was contested between May and July 2008 and won by the Montreal Impact. As the Canadian champions, Montreal qualified for the 2008–09 CONCACAF Champions League.[6][8][9]

The 2009 Canadian Championship's format and participants were the same, contested by the three clubs in May and June 2009. It was closely contended by Toronto and Vancouver and won by the former via goal differential in the tournament's final game against the defending champions, Montreal, giving the Toronto franchise its first ever trophy and a spot in the qualifying round of the 2009–10 CONCACAF Champions League.[10] Toronto repeated as champions in the 2010 competition, qualifying for the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League. Toronto won it for the fourth consecutive season in the 2012 competition.

In 2011, with the start of a fourth fully professional Canadian soccer team, FC Edmonton, the competition was changed from the home-and-away round robin series to a double-leg aggregate score knockout cup format with the two MLS teams seeded first and second, and NASL teams seeded third and fourth based on league standings of the previous year and the USSF tiering of Division 1 and Division 2.[11] This format mitigated competitive concerns regarding already eliminated teams and the number of additional (extra to their regular league) games each team would be required to play during a season.

On June 6, 2016, Canadian Soccer Association general secretary Peter Montopoli told TSN that plans were well under way to expand the tournament to include an access point for any team in Canada. He said that he expected the expansion to take place for 2017. His statement seemed to confirm other reports saying similar.[12][better source needed] On March 9, 2017, Canada Soccer Association announced that from the 2018 edition the winners of the League1 Ontario and Première Ligue de soccer du Québec would compete.[13]

In January 2019, a new five-round format was announced to include the seven teams of the newly formed Canadian Premier League, bringing the total number of teams competing to 13.[14] In 2020, with the dissolution of Ottawa Fury FC, a modified four-round tournament was announced featuring 12 teams, the first contraction in the competition's history.[15] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 edition will be held between two teams qualified through league play.[16][17]


The champions are awarded the Voyageurs Cup

The winners of the Canadian Championship are awarded the Voyageurs Cup.[18] From 1993 to 2007, there was no domestic competition open to top-tier Canadian professional clubs. From 2002 to 2006, the USL First Division was the highest level in which Canadian men's soccer teams competed. The Voyageurs, a supporters' group, developed a method of tracking league results between Canadian clubs to determine a professional Canadian champion.

With the introduction of the Canadian Championship as a separate competition. the Voyageurs donated the cup to the Canadian Soccer Association to award to the winners. The trophy is still awarded by a Voyageurs member to the current winning club.[19][20][21]


Prior to 2011, the tournament consisted of the three professional teams in Canada in a home-and-away series with the top team winning entry into the qualifying stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. These teams competed in the two top US-based professional soccer leagues, which in 2010 was Major League Soccer and the temporary USSF Division 2 Professional League. In 2011, the North American Soccer League received sanctioning as the USSF's new second-division league.

When FC Edmonton joined the NASL in 2011, the tournament was expanded to include the four highest-level professional clubs in the country. The tournament now consists of two two-legged semifinals and a two-legged final. In the first semifinal of 2011, Toronto, as reigning champions, was assigned the first-place seed and played Edmonton, which was assigned the fourth seed as newcomers to the tournament. The two remaining teams, Montreal and Vancouver, faced off in the other semifinal. This was to be followed by a one-game final to be hosted by the highest remaining seed;[22] but the Canadian Soccer Association decided to go with a two-legged final instead. The format was repeated in subsequent years with the previous year's league placement being used to seed the teams.[2]

Starting with the 2014 competition, due to the introduction of the Ottawa Fury FC to the NASL, the two Canadian NASL teams play in a play-off quarter final to see which team makes it to the semifinals, in which the MLS teams will be introduced.[23]

Due to scheduling conflicts with the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup,[24] the 2015 edition was held during April, May, and August[25] but did not provide a competitor for the 2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League; instead the best-placed Canadian Major League Soccer team in the 2014 regular season was the country's representative.[24] The Whitecaps qualified for the championship on October 19, 2014.[26] The winner of the 2015 Canadian Championship qualified for the 2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League instead and starting in 2016, the competition will be held in June and July.[24]

Since 2017 competition regulations state that each team must field a minimum of three Canadian starters for each match.[27]

In 2018, following the suspension of operations at FC Edmonton, the format of the Championship was amended once more to allow for the admission of two clubs from the Division 3 provincial leagues: League1 Ontario and Première Ligue de soccer du Québec.[28] The two provincial champions meet in a first qualifying round, with the winner progressing to meet the sole Canadian USL team (not including Toronto FC II, which is a department of the MLS side Toronto FC), Ottawa Fury FC in a second qualifying round. The winner of this match joins the three Canadian MLS teams in the semifinals. A.S. Blainville and Oakville Blue Devils qualified to represent the Quebec and Ontario leagues respectively in 2018.[29][30]

In January 2019, the 2019 Canadian Championship format was revealed, with the introduction of the seven Canadian Premier League teams. With 13 teams competing, the competition was expanded to include three qualifying rounds along with the semifinals and finals. The first qualifying round begins with six teams, with three new teams entering each round until the semifinals where the previous year's champion enters. All rounds are two-legged match ups.[14]


Permanent Canadian Championship clubs
Team City League Years
Atlético Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario Canadian Premier League 2021–present
Cavalry FC Calgary, Alberta Canadian Premier League 2019
FC Edmonton Edmonton, Alberta Canadian Premier League 2011–2017
Forge FC Hamilton, Ontario Canadian Premier League 2019–present
HFX Wanderers Halifax, Nova Scotia Canadian Premier League 2019
CF Montréal Montreal, Quebec Major League Soccer 2012–2019
Pacific FC Langford, British Columbia Canadian Premier League 2019
Toronto FC Toronto, Ontario Major League Soccer 2008–present
Valour FC Winnipeg, Manitoba Canadian Premier League 2019
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Vancouver, British Columbia Major League Soccer 2011–2019
York United FC Toronto, Ontario Canadian Premier League 2019
2022 qualifiers for the Canadian Championship
Team City League Years
CS Mont-Royal Outremont Mount Royal, Quebec Première Ligue de soccer du Québec 2022
Guelph United F.C. Guelph, Ontario League1 Ontario 2022
Clubs that have previously participated
Team City League Years
A.S. Blainville Blainville, Quebec Première Ligue de soccer du Québec 2018, 2019, 2021
Master's FA Toronto, Ontario League1 Ontario 2021
Montreal Impact Montreal, Quebec North American Soccer League 2008–2011
Oakville Blue Devils Oakville, Ontario League1 Ontario 2018
Ottawa Fury FC Ottawa, Ontario North American Soccer League, USL Championship 2014–2019
Vancouver Whitecaps Vancouver, British Columbia USL First Division, USSF Division 2 2008–2010
Vaughan Azzurri Vaughan, Ontario League1 Ontario 2019


By year[edit]

Year Winners Runners-up Teams Format
2008 Montreal Impact Toronto FC 3 Home and away
round robin
2009 Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps
2010 Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps
2011 Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4 Two-legged knock-out
2012 Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2013 Montreal Impact Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2014 Montreal Impact Toronto FC 5
2015 Vancouver Whitecaps FC Montreal Impact
2016 Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2017 Toronto FC Montreal Impact
2018 Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC 6
2019 Montreal Impact Toronto FC 13
2020[31][32] Forge FC vs Toronto FC 2 Single match
2021 CF Montréal Toronto FC 13 Single-leg knock-out

By club[edit]

Rank Club Partici­pations Winner Runner-up Seasons won
1 Toronto FC 13 7 4 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018
2 Montreal Impact/CF Montréal 13 5 2 2008, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2021
3 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 12 1 7 2015

All-time table[edit]

As of November 21, 2021
Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Toronto FC 45 24 11 9 70 37 +33 86
2 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 41 15 13 13 54 48 +6 58
3 Montreal Impact/CF Montréal 45 15 12 18 50 55 −5 57
4 Ottawa Fury 20 8 2 10 21 34 −13 26
5 FC Edmonton 21 6 2 13 24 37 −13 20
6 Cavalry FC 10 5 2 3 12 8 +4 17
7 HFX Wanderers 8 4 1 3 14 13 +1 13
8 York United FC 8 3 2 3 11 9 +2 11
9 A.S. Blainville 7 2 1 4 4 6 −2 7
10 Pacific FC 5 2 0 3 7 9 −2 6
11 Forge FC 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 5
12 Vaughan Azzurri 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 3
13 Valour FC 4 1 0 3 5 8 −3 3
14 Atlético Ottawa 1 0 0 1 2 3 −1 0
15 Oakville Blue Devils 2 0 0 2 1 3 −2 0
16 Master's FA 1 0 0 1 0 5 −5 0
  • Statistics for Vancouver Whitecaps FC include the original Vancouver Whitecaps who took part in the tournament in the first three editions from 2008 through 2010. This team ceased operations in 2011 and was replaced by a new MLS franchise of the same name and ownership.
  • In 2012 the Montreal Impact of MLS replaced the former Montreal Impact of the NASL in the Canadian Championship. Statistics include data from both iterations of the Impact. They re-branded as CF Montreal in 2021.


George Gross Memorial Trophy[edit]

The George Gross Memorial Trophy was created by the Canadian Soccer Association in 2008 to recognize each tournament's most valuable player.[33] The Trophy was named after the late George Gross, a former soccer administrator and a respected journalist.

Year Player Position Nationality Team
2008 Matt Jordan Goalkeeper  United States Montreal Impact
2009 Dwayne De Rosario Midfielder  Canada Toronto FC
2010 Dwayne De Rosario Midfielder  Canada Toronto FC
2011 Joao Plata Forward  Ecuador Toronto FC
2012 Ryan Johnson Forward  Jamaica Toronto FC
2013 Justin Mapp Midfielder  United States Montreal Impact
2014 Justin Mapp Midfielder  United States Montreal Impact
2015 Russell Teibert Midfielder  Canada Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2016 Benoît Cheyrou Midfielder  France Toronto FC
2017 Sebastian Giovinco Forward  Italy Toronto FC
2018 Jonathan Osorio Midfielder  Canada Toronto FC
2019 Ignacio Piatti Forward  Argentina Montreal Impact
2021 Sebastian Breza Goalkeeper  Canada CF Montréal

Best Young Canadian Player award[edit]

The Best Young Canadian Player award was created by the Canadian Soccer Association in 2019 to recognize each tournament's best Canadian under-21 player.[34]

Year Player Position Team
2019 Zachary Brault-Guillard Defender Montreal Impact
2021 Jacob Shaffelburg Forward Toronto FC

Top Scorer of the Canadian Championship[edit]

The Top Scorer of the Canadian Championship is the player who scores the most goals during the competition. In case two or more players are tied, the first tiebreaker is most assists and the second tiebreaker is fewest minutes played.[35]

Year Player Nationality Team Total
2008 Roberto Brown  Panama Montreal Impact 2 goals (0 assists, 157 minutes)
2009 Dwayne De Rosario  Canada Toronto FC 3 goals
2010 Dwayne De Rosario  Canada Toronto FC 1 goal (1 assist)
2011 Maicon Santos  Brazil Toronto FC 3 goals
2012 Sebastien Le Toux  France Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 goals (0 assists, 168 minutes)
2013 Camilo Sanvezzo  Brazil Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3 goals
2014 Jack McInerney  United States Montreal Impact 3 goals
2015 Tomi Ameobi  England FC Edmonton 4 goals
2016 Jordan Hamilton  Canada Toronto FC 2 goals (1 assist)
2017 Sebastian Giovinco  Italy Toronto FC 3 goals
2018 Jonathan Osorio  Canada Toronto FC 3 goals (1 assist)
2019 Ignacio Piatti  Argentina Montreal Impact 4 goals
2021 Austin Ricci  Canada Valour FC 3 goals

Competition records[edit]


As of November 3, 2021
Rank Player Club(s) Nationality Appearances
1 Russell Teibert Vancouver Whitecaps FC  Canada 25
2 Jonathan Osorio Toronto FC  Canada 24
3 Justin Morrow Toronto FC  United States 20
4 Ashtone Morgan Toronto FC  Canada 19
5 Eddie Edward FC Edmonton, Ottawa Fury  Canada 18
6 Patrice Bernier Montreal Impact  Canada 16
7 Jay Nolly Vancouver Whitecaps FC  United States 15
Doneil Henry Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC  Canada

Top goalscorers[edit]

As of November 3, 2021[citation needed]
Rank Player Club Nationality Goals
1 Jozy Altidore Toronto FC  United States 6
Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC  Italy
Ignacio Piatti Montreal Impact  Argentina
4 Tomi Ameobi FC Edmonton  England 5
Jonathan Osorio Toronto FC  Canada
6 Camilo Vancouver Whitecaps FC  Brazil 4
Dwayne De Rosario Toronto FC  Canada
Daryl Fordyce FC Edmonton  Northern Ireland
Jack McInerney Montreal Impact  United States
Pedro Morales Vancouver Whitecaps FC  Chile

Bolded players are still active players with a Canadian team.

Top goalscorers by season[edit]

Season Player Club Nationality Goals
2008 Roberto Brown Montreal Impact  Panama 2
Rohan Ricketts Toronto FC  England
Eduardo Sebrango Vancouver Whitecaps  Cuba
2009 Dwayne De Rosario Toronto FC  Canada 3
2010 Chad Barrett Toronto FC  United States 1
Philippe Billy Montreal Impact  France
Peter Byers Montreal Impact  Antigua and Barbuda
Dwayne De Rosario Toronto FC  Canada
Marcus Haber Vancouver Whitecaps  Canada
Ty Harden Toronto FC  United States
Ansu Toure Vancouver Whitecaps  Liberia
2011 Maicon Santos Toronto FC  Brazil 3
2012 Eric Hassli Vancouver Whitecaps FC  France 2
Ryan Johnson Toronto FC  Jamaica
Reggie Lambe Toronto FC  Bermuda
Sébastien Le Toux Vancouver Whitecaps FC  France
2013 Camilo Vancouver Whitecaps FC  Brazil 3
2014 Jack McInerney Montreal Impact  United States 3
2015 Tomi Ameobi FC Edmonton  England 4
2016 Jonathan Osorio Toronto FC  Canada 2
Jordan Hamilton Toronto FC  Canada
Nicolás Mezquida Vancouver Whitecaps FC  Uruguay
2017 Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC  Italy 3
2018 Jonathan Osorio Toronto FC  Canada 3
Jozy Altidore Toronto FC  United States
Kei Kamara Vancouver Whitecaps FC  Sierra Leone
2019 Ignacio Piatti Montreal Impact  Argentina 4
2021 Austin Ricci Valour FC  Canada 3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Canadian teams set to do battle". Globe and Mail. Canada. March 27, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "2012 Amway Canadian Championship". Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  3. ^ "OneSoccer". Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  4. ^ "Canadian Soccer League - Articles". September 3, 2007. Archived from the original on December 26, 2007. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  5. ^ "Toronto Lynx move to PDL". Demosphere International Inc. October 10, 2006. Archived from the original on August 16, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Canada to create new club championship". Canadian Soccer Association. January 31, 2008. Archived from the original on February 29, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  7. ^ "Qualifying Format Unveiled for 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League". May 14, 2008. Archived from the original on March 17, 2015. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  8. ^ "Canadian soccer on its way to qualifying for FIFA". Vancouver Sun. January 28, 2008. Archived from the original on January 30, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  9. ^ "Canada's soccer teams unveil details for CONCACAF Champions League". Toronto FC Media Relations. March 26, 2008. Archived from the original on November 9, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2008.
  10. ^ "2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship Schedule and Results". Canadian Soccer Association. Archived from the original on April 21, 2009. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  11. ^ "Association confirms 2011 Nutrilite Canadian Championship schedule". February 18, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  12. ^ Tierney, Mitchell (April 23, 2016). "Report: Provincial Champions to Play in Voyageurs Cup as Early as 2017". Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  13. ^ "Report: Provincial Champions to Play in Voyageurs Cup as Early as 2018". March 9, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Battle of the North: Canadian Premier League squads learn paths to 2019 Canadian Championship". Canadian Premier League. January 10, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  15. ^ "Canada Soccer announces 2020 Canadian Championship schedule". Canada Soccer. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  16. ^ "Canada Soccer announces format for 2020 Canadian Championship Final". Canada Soccer. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  17. ^ O'Connor-Clarke, Charlie (February 11, 2020). "'We've formally asked for a meeting': CPL hoping to get Atlético Ottawa into 2020 CanChamp". Canadian Premier League. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  18. ^ "Association announces partners for new Nutrilite Canadian Champions League". May 23, 2008. Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  19. ^ "Voyageurs Cup Announced For A-League Teams". Canadian Soccer Association. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  20. ^ "The name game". Canadian Soccer News. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  21. ^ "A sports fan's worst nightmare". Maclean's Magazine. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  22. ^ Rollins, Duane (December 12, 2010). "Format of Canadian Championship may change". Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  23. ^ "Fury FC to Face FC Edmonton in Amway Canadian Championship". Archived from the original on December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  24. ^ a b c "Canada Soccer announces move to new timeframe for future Amway Canadian Championships" (Press release). Canadian Soccer Association. March 21, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  25. ^ "Schedule for 2015 Amway Canadian Championship set" (Press release). Canadian Soccer Association. February 4, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  26. ^ "Vancouver Whitecaps, DC United join Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy in 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League". Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  27. ^ "About the Canadian Championship". Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  28. ^ "About the Canadian Championship". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  29. ^ "Oakville Blue Devils qualifies for Canadian Championship - Canada Soccer". Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  30. ^ "AS Blainville qualifies for Canadian Championship - Canada Soccer". Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  31. ^ Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Canadian Championship was postponed until 20 March 2021. Following a Covid outbreak within the Toronto FC team, Canada Soccer again postponed the event and announced that the 2020 Canadian Championship final would take place as late as July 2022.
  32. ^ "2020 Canadian Championship Final May Be As Late As July 2022". March 25, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  33. ^ "George Gross Memorial Trophy". Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  34. ^ "L'Impact de Montréal remporte le Championnat canadien". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  35. ^ "Top Scorer". Retrieved August 16, 2018.

External links[edit]