U Sports men's soccer

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U Sports men's soccer
FormerlyCIAU Soccer, CIS Soccer
No. of teams48, in four conferences
Most recent
Cape Breton Capers
Most titlesUBC Thunderbirds (13)[1]
U Sports Men's Soccer Championship
Official websiteusports.ca/en/sports/soccer/m

U Sports men's soccer is the highest level of amateur play of association football in Canada and operates under the auspices of U Sports, Canada's governing body for university sports.[2] As of the 2018 season, 48 teams from Canadian universities are divided into four athletic conferences, drawing from the four regional associations of U Sports: Canada West Universities Athletic Association, Ontario University Athletics, Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec, and Atlantic University Sport.[2] At the end of every season, eight teams compete for the Sam Davidson Memorial Trophy, awarded to the U Sports Men's Soccer Championship team.

Season structure[edit]

Regular season[edit]

The regular season is eight to nine weeks long, depending on the conference. Teams play between 12 and 16 regular season games, depending on conference or division, with teams typically playing a home and home series with every other team in their conference or division. All regular season games are in-conference. Following the conclusion of the regular season, the Joe Johnson Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the Player of the Year in U Sports men's soccer.


After the regular season, single elimination playoff games are held between the top teams in each conference to determine conference champions. In the Canada West and RSEQ conferences, the top four teams qualify for the playoffs, with the fourth and first seeded teams playing one match and the third and second seeded teams playing another. The two winning teams then play for the conference championship. Because there are more teams in the Atlantic conference, the top six teams qualify, with the top two teams receiving a first-round bye. The sixth and third seeded teams play one match and the fifth and fourth seeded teams play another. The winning teams then go on to play the top two seeded teams, with the lowest remaining seed playing the first seeded team and the highest remaining seed playing the second seeded team. The winners of these two semi-final matches then play for the Atlantic conference championship.

The Ontario playoff system operates much like the Atlantic one, except it functions for both the West and East divisions. The top six teams from each division (twelve total) qualify for the playoffs, with the top two seeds of each division receiving byes. The champions of each division then play for the OUA conference championship. Because the OUA has 12 teams competing, it necessitates a longer post-season schedule. Consequently, the first round of the playoffs in the OUA occurs during the same week that each of the other three conferences are playing their last regular season games. The four conference champions automatically qualify for the U Sports men's soccer championship.

Men's Soccer Championship[edit]

The U Sports Men's Soccer Championship, first established in 1972, features eight teams in single elimination matches to determine a national champion. The championship hosts 11 games over four days at a predetermined host venue. The host team is automatically qualified for the tournament, as is each of the conference champions. Another berth is awarded to the second-place finisher in the Ontario conference and the two remaining spots are awarded to the second-place finisher in each of the remaining conferences. If an OUA team is hosting, three teams from the OUA qualify.[3]


Atlantic University Sport[edit]

University Varsity Name City Province Founded Soccer Stadium Stadium Capacity
Acadia University Axemen Wolfville NS 1838 Raymond Field 3,000
Cape Breton University Capers Sydney NS 2005 CBU Field N/A
Dalhousie University Tigers Halifax NS 1818 Wickwire Field 2,000
Memorial University of Newfoundland Sea-Hawks St. John's NL 1925 King George V Park 6,400[4]
Université de Moncton Aigles Bleu Moncton NB 1864 Moncton Stadium 10,000
Mount Allison University Mounties Sackville NB 1839 MacAulay Field 2,500
University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds Fredericton NB 1785 BMO Centre 2,500
University of Prince Edward Island Panthers Charlottetown PEI 1969 UPEI Alumni Canada Games Place 1,670
Saint Mary's University Huskies Halifax NS 1802 Huskies Stadium 4,000
St. Francis Xavier University X-Men Antigonish NS 1853 Oland Stadium 4,000

Canada West Universities Athletic Association[edit]

University Varsity Name City Province Founded Soccer Stadium Stadium Capacity
Pacific Division
University of British Columbia Thunderbirds Vancouver BC 1906 Thunderbird Stadium 3,500
University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat Kelowna BC 2005 Nonis Sports Field 200
University of the Fraser Valley Cascades Abbotsford BC 1974 Bateman Park 1,000
University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves Prince George BC 1990 Charles Jago Sport Centre N/A
Thompson Rivers University WolfPack Kamloops BC 1970 Hillside Stadium 1,060
Trinity Western University Spartans Langley BC 1962 Rogers Park N/A
University of Victoria Vikes Victoria BC 1903 Centennial Stadium 5,000
Prairie Division
University of Alberta Golden Bears Edmonton AB 1908 Foote Soccer Field 1,500
University of Calgary Dinos Calgary AB 1966 West Varsity Soccer Pitch N/A
University of Lethbridge Pronghorns Lethbridge AB 1967 U of L Community Stadium 2,000
MacEwan University Griffins Edmonton AB 1938 Clarke Stadium 4,100
Mount Royal University Cougars Calgary AB 1910 MRU Stadium Field N/A
University of Saskatchewan Huskies Saskatoon SK 1907 Field 7 in PotashCorp Park 400

Ontario University Athletics[edit]

University Varsity Name City Province Founded Soccer Stadium Stadium Capacity
East Division
Carleton University Ravens Ottawa ON 1952 Ravens' Field 3,000
Laurentian University Voyageurs Sudbury ON 1960 Laurentian Soccer Field N/A
Nipissing University Lakers North Bay ON 1909 Nipissing University soccer pitch 200
University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks Oshawa ON 2002 Vaso's Field N/A
Queen's University Gaels Kingston ON 1841 Richardson Memorial Stadium 10,258
Royal Military College of Canada Paladins Kingston ON 1876 Inner Field N/A
Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) Bold Toronto ON 1948 Monarch Park Stadium 5,000
University of Toronto Varsity Blues Toronto ON 1827 Varsity Stadium 5,000
Trent University Excalibur Peterborough ON 1962 Justin Chiu Stadium 1,000
West Division
Algoma University Thunderbirds Sault Ste. Marie ON 1964 Superior Heights Field 1,000
Brock University Badgers St. Catharines ON 1964 Brock Field 1,200
University of Guelph Gryphons Guelph ON 1964 Alumni Stadium 4,100
McMaster University Marauders Hamilton ON 1887 Ron Joyce Stadium 6,000
University of Waterloo Warriors Waterloo ON 1959 Warrior Field 5,400
Western University Mustangs London ON 1878 TD Waterhouse Stadium 8,000
Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks Waterloo ON 1911 Alumni Field N/A
University of Windsor Lancers Windsor ON 1857 University of Windsor Stadium 2000
York University Lions Toronto ON 1959 York Stadium 2,500

Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec[edit]

University Varsity Name City Province Founded Soccer Stadium Stadium Capacity
Concordia University Stingers Montreal QC 1896 Concordia Stadium 4,000
Université Laval Rouge et Or Quebec City QC 1663 PEPS Stadium 12,257
McGill University Redbirds Montreal QC 1821 Percival Molson Memorial Stadium 25,012
Université de Montréal Carabins Montreal QC 1821 CEPSUM Stadium 5,100
Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or Sherbrooke QC 1843 Stade de l'Université de Sherbrooke 3,359
Université du Québec à Montréal Citadins Montreal QC 1969 terrain #2 of Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard 1,000
Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes Trois-Rivières QC 1969 Stade de l'UQTR 1,500

Professional advancement[edit]

U Sports was previously not geared towards producing professional soccer players, though some U Sports players have turned pro. U Sports players are not eligible for the MLS SuperDraft, but are able to be selected in the CPL or USL draft. Top players in high schools and sports academies may opt not to play in U Sports so that they can turn pro directly.[5] Despite this, some U Sports alumni in the pro ranks include Haidar Al-Shaibani (Western), Nana Attakora (York), Gabe Gala (Toronto), Srdjan Djekanović (UBC).[6]

Since 2019, U Sports men's soccer players have been eligible for the CPL–U Sports Draft, a draft conducted by the Canadian Premier League.[7] This has allowed Canadian University Soccer players to have a direct route to a professional league after post secondary school. The creation of the draft has given a pathway to dozens of players since its inception. Not only do professional clubs now focus on drafting these players but they can be invited to training camps during the university’s offseason allowing for greater development. For those not drafted or signed they can return to school; if eligibility remains.


  1. ^ "History". U SPORTS.
  2. ^ a b "U SPORTS Identity". U SPORTS.
  3. ^ "Player regulations" (PDF). english.cis-sic.ca. 2011. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  4. ^ "King George V Park".
  5. ^ "From the CIS to the MLS: The road less travelled | the Ubyssey". ubyssey.ca. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Canadian Soccer News - CIS pushing for MLS draft entry: Coach". www.canadiansoccernews.com. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  7. ^ "CPL to partner with U Sports on sharing talent". www.sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2023-11-21.

External links[edit]