League1 Ontario Shrinks To 15 Clubs For 2021 Season
League1 Ontario has officially confirmed that the 2021 League1 Ontario season will begin next week, revealing the opening matches for both of its men’s division and women’s premier divisions – along with a largely shrunk number of participating teams than had previously been expected.
While 21 clubs were approved to participate in the men’s 2021 League1 Ontario season, the league now states that only 15 will be participating this year, with only seven of fifteen eligible women’s teams set to take to the pitch for a full League1 Ontario season.
The men’s 2021 League1 Ontario season will consist of twelve regular season matches. Some of the clubs who couldn’t commit for a full 2021 season will now be participating in a one-off Summer Championship Series which will run for a length of seven matches and will conclude by Labour Day.
With the full season schedule set to come soon, the opening fixtures for both the men’s and women’s divisions were just released by the semi-professional league, which achieved its target of a late July start following Ontario’s entrance to step three of its re-opening plan. This summer saw the men’s division announce five new expansion teams while the women’s division added three.
While it’s not immediately clear which clubs will only be participating in the Summer Championship Series, the opening weekend schedule confirms a few clubs that will be participating in the full 2021 League1 Ontario season.
The men’s division will kick kick off on July 30 with two simultaneous matches: Blue Devils FC versus North Mississauga SC, and Guelph United FC versus FC London. The following day will see Unionville Milliken SC against Darby FC, Pro Stars Brampton FC versus Sigma FC, and the North Toronto Nitros against reigning champions Master’s FA. The opening weekend of action will conclude on August 1 with Windsor TFC taking on Scrosoppi FC, and Vaughan Azzurri competing against 1812 FC Barrie.
The women’s division begins on July 29, with Vaughan Azzurri hosting Blue Devils FC at North Maple Regional Park. On July 31, the North Toronto Nitros will take on Hamilton United Elite, with FC London taking on the Woodbridge Strikers a few hours later.
That means there’s still a team apiece in both the men’s and women’s divisions that will be participating in the 2021 League1 Ontario season, but wasn’t scheduled for a match in the opening weekend.
A League1 Ontario official states that the number of clubs participating in the full 2022 League1 Ontario season is expected to be back to normal next year, with the current season having clearly been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.