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 currently contested by MLS sides Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and Montreal Impact, all seven 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 as of 2019, it is broadcast on OneSoccer.[3]

Canadian Championship
Championnat canadien
RegionCanada (CONCACAF)
Number of teams12
Current championsMontreal Impact (4th title)
Most successful club(s)Toronto FC (7 titles)
Television broadcastersOneSoccer
2020 Canadian Championship


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. Fully professional Canadian soccer teams play 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 2008–2009 season, CONCACAF changed their eight team FIFA Club World Cup qualification tournament from a two leg 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] As the Canadian champions, Montreal qualified for CONCACAF Champions League 2008–09.[6][8][9]

The 2008 edition was contested between May 2008 and July 2008 and won by the Montreal Impact. The 2009 edition'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 CONCACAF Champions League 2009–10.[10] Toronto repeated as champions in the 2010 competition, qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League 2010–11. 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] 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 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]


The winners of the Canadian Championship are awarded the Voyageurs Cup,[15] a trophy previously awarded to the Canadian USL First Division side with the best regular season record against other Canadian USL-1 teams. From 1993 to 2007, there was no domestic competition open to top-tier Canadian professional clubs. The Voyageurs developed a method of tracking league results between Canadian clubs to determine a professional Canadian champion. From 2002 to 2006, USL First Division was the highest level in which Canadian men's soccer teams competed.

The Voyageurs, a supporters' group, donated the cup to the Canadian Soccer Association to award to the winners of the Canadian Championship. The Voyageurs Cup was supervised by the Voyageurs from 2002–2007. The trophy is still awarded by a Voyageurs member to the current winning club.[16][17][18]


Prior to 2010, the tournament consisted of the top 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 were the only Canadian teams in the two top US-based professional soccer leagues, which for 2010 were 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;[19] 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.[20]

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 semi-finals, in which the MLS teams will be introduced.[21]

Due to scheduling conflicts with the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup,[22] the 2015 edition was held during April, May, and August[23] 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.[22] The Whitecaps qualified for the championship on October 19, 2014.[24] 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.[22]

Since 2017 competition regulations state that each team must field a minimum of three Canadian starters for each match.[25]

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.[26] 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 semi-finals. A.S. Blainville and Oakville Blue Devils qualified to represent the Quebec and Ontario leagues respectively in 2018.[27][28]

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 semi-finals and finals. The first qualifying round begins with six teams, with three new teams entering each round until the semi-finals where the previous year's champion enters. All rounds are two-legged match ups.[14]


Permanent Canadian Championship clubs
Team City League Years
Cavalry FC Calgary, Alberta Canadian Premier League 2019–present
FC Edmonton Edmonton, Alberta Canadian Premier League 2011–2017, 2019–present
Forge FC Hamilton, Ontario Canadian Premier League 2019–present
HFX Wanderers Halifax, Nova Scotia Canadian Premier League 2019–present
Montreal Impact Montreal, Quebec Major League Soccer 2012–present
Pacific FC Langford, British Columbia Canadian Premier League 2019–present
Toronto FC Toronto, Ontario Major League Soccer 2008–present
Valour FC Winnipeg, Manitoba Canadian Premier League 2019–present
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Vancouver, British Columbia Major League Soccer 2011–present
York9 FC York Region, Ontario Canadian Premier League 2019–present
2019 Qualifiers for the Canadian Championship
Team City League Years
A.S. Blainville Blainville, Quebec Première Ligue de soccer du Québec 2018, 2019
Vaughan Azzurri Vaughan, Ontario League1 Ontario 2019
Former Canadian Championship clubs
Team City League Years
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


    By year

    Year Winner Runner-up Teams Format
    2008 Montreal Impact Toronto FC 3 League format:
    Home and away round robin
    2009 Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps
    2010 Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps
    2011 Toronto FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4 Cup format:
    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

    By club

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

    All-time table

    As of September 25, 2019
    Rank Teams Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
    1 Toronto FC 42231186435+2980
    2 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 401513125144+758
    3 Montreal Impact 421311184654−850
    4 Ottawa Fury 2082102134−1326
    5 FC Edmonton 2062122435−1120
    6 Cavalry FC 8422107+314
    7 HFX Wanderers 6312119+210
    8 York9 FC 622265+18
    9 A.S. Blainville 621334−17
    10 Vaughan Azzurri 21013303
    11 Forge FC 201123−11
    12 Oakville Blue Devils 200213−20
    13 Pacific FC 200214−30
    Valour FC 200214−30
    • 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.

    George Gross Memorial Trophy

    The George Gross Memorial Trophy was created by the Canadian Soccer Association in 2008 to recognize each tournament's most valuable player.[29] The Trophy was named after the late George Gross, a former soccer administrator and a respected journalist.

    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

    Best Young Canadian Player award

    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.[30]

    2019 Zachary Brault-Guillard Defender Montreal Impact

    Top Scorer of the Canadian Championship

    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.[31]

    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

    Competition records


    As of August 15, 2018
    Pos Name Club Nationality Appearances
    1 Russell Teibert Vancouver Whitecaps FC  Canada 23
    2 Eddie Edward FC Edmonton, Ottawa Fury  Canada 18
    Jonathan Osorio Toronto FC  Canada
    4 Patrice Bernier Montreal Impact  Canada 16
    Ashtone Morgan Toronto FC  Canada
    6 Jay Nolly Vancouver Whitecaps FC  United States 15
    Justin Morrow Toronto FC  United States
    Doneil Henry Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC  Canada

    Top goalscorers

    As of September 18, 2019
    Pos Name Club Nationality Goals
    1 Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC  Italy 6
    Ignacio Piatti Montreal Impact  Argentina
    3 Jozy Altidore Toronto FC  United States 5
    Tomi Ameobi FC Edmonton  England
    Jonathan Osorio Toronto FC  Canada
    6 Camilo Vancouver Whitecaps FC  Brazil 4
    Dwayne De RosarioToronto FC  Canada
    Daryl FordyceFC Edmonton  Northern Ireland
    Jack McInerneyMontreal Impact  United States
    Pedro MoralesVancouver Whitecaps FC  Chile

    Bolded players are still active players with a Canadian team.

    Top goalscorers by season

    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 OsorioToronto FC Canada 2
    Jordan HamiltonToronto FC Canada
    Nicolás MezquidaVancouver Whitecaps FC Uruguay
    2017 Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC  Italy 3
    2018 Jonathan OsorioToronto FC Canada 3
    Jozy AltidoreToronto FC United States
    Kei KamaraVancouver Whitecaps FC Sierra Leone
    2019 Ignacio Piatti Montreal Impact  Argentina 4

    See also


    1. "Canadian teams set to do battle". Globe and Mail. Canada. March 27, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
    2. "2012 Amway Canadian Championship". Retrieved January 27, 2012.
    3. "OneSoccer". Retrieved August 8, 2019.
    4. "Open Canada Cup Expands - B.C. adds 24 teams". CSL media release. May 2, 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
    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. "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. "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. "Association announces partners for new Nutrilite Canadian Champions League". May 23, 2008. Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
    16. "Voyageurs Cup Announced For A-League Teams". Canadian Soccer Association. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
    17. "The name game". Canadian Soccer News. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
    18. "A sports fan's worst nightmare". Maclean's Magazine. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
    19. Rollins, Duane (December 12, 2010). "Format of Canadian Championship may change". Retrieved December 13, 2010.
    20. "2012 Amway Canadian Championship". Retrieved January 27, 2012.
    21. "Fury FC to Face FC Edmonton in Amway Canadian Championship". Archived from the original on December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
    22. "Canada Soccer announces move to new timeframe for future Amway Canadian Championships" (Press release). Canadian Soccer Association. March 21, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
    23. "Schedule for 2015 Amway Canadian Championship set" (Press release). Canadian Soccer Association. February 4, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
    24. "Vancouver Whitecaps, DC United join Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy in 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League". Retrieved October 19, 2014.
    25. "About the Canadian Championship:". Retrieved July 17, 2018.
    26. "About the Canadian Championship". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
    27. "Oakville Blue Devils qualifies for Canadian Championship - Canada Soccer". Retrieved January 12, 2018.
    28. "AS Blainville qualifies for Canadian Championship - Canada Soccer". Retrieved January 12, 2018.
    29. "George Gross Memorial Trophy". Retrieved August 16, 2018.
    30. "L'Impact de Montréal remporte le Championnat canadien". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
    31. "Top Scorer". Retrieved August 16, 2018.
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