April 15, 2024
  • April 15, 2024

5 Things to Know About the L1 Cup Draw

By on March 1, 2024 0 975 Views

It’s official: League1 Ontario has announced the draw for the 2024 edition of the L1 Cup, which features a revamped tier system based around L1O’s new pyramid.

This includes teams across all three divisions in both the men’s and women’s leagues. Here’s how the cup draw looks:

Both brackets feature the majority of teams that make up the Premiership of either leagues receiving a bye to the Round of 16 while the rest of L1O duke it out in the first round.

Before the competition kicks-off in April, here are five things you should know about the L1 Cup to be ready to cheer on your favourite team at first whistle!

1) The Cup is Back

Photo Credit: League1 Ontario

It has been too long! Our beloved has returned in full glory! After a five-year hiatus, the league has returned the L1 Cup in-season tournament to fans.

Coming into 2024, only two teams have ever won it on the men’s side while the women have seen four different sides hoist the trophy – all of whom have a chance to reclaim the glory this season.

Here are the previous winners:

FC London2017
North Mississauga SC2015
Vaughan Azzurri2014, 2016, 20182016
Woodbridge Strikers2015, 20172018

Having had a strong showing to their 2023 seasons, Vaughan’s mens squadx London’s, NMSC, and Woodbridge’s women’s sides were all granted byes to the Round of 16, putting them just that much closer to another championship.

2) League2’s Debut

The introduction of the promotion and relegation to League1 Ontario has brought with it League2 Ontario, the third tier of the L1 system. This division will play host to all new L1 expansion sides as well as the reserve squads of any Championship and Premiership sides.

For the L1 Cup, no reserve squads will take part, however The Borough FC (men’s), the Sudbury Cyclones (men’s), Rush Canada (men’s/women’s), and the St. Catharine’s Roma Wolves (women’s) will see cup action in the inaugural season of L2O.

The first round of the men’s bracket has the Cyclones taking on the 2018 L1 regular season champions FC London. Rush Canada will remain close to home with a face off against L1O-P side Burlington FC. Rounding out this year’s expansion sides is The Borough FC, who will be taking the Lakeshore East GO train on their way to Kinsmen Park to challenge the returning Pickering FC.

Oppositely, the women’s bracket sees the self-demoted SCR Wolves go head-to-head against Tecumseh SC while Rush were drawn against Toronto powerhouse Master’s FA, who fielded a woman’s team in the reserve division last year.

3) TBC = TFC

Photo Credit: League1 Ontario

Don’t be fooled by the graphic put out by the League, the first round matchup between the North Toronto Nitros and “TBC” is bound to be a stellar match!

As previously reported by Northern Tribune, a source has confirmed that TFC III / TFC Academy will be awarded the remaining L1O-C license for the upcoming season. The announcement of the acquisition has been held off as Canadian Soccer Business and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment negotiate details related to business, sponsorships, and operations, namely the length of commitment for the license.

This match-up will have a L1O-P tour de force in the Nitros taking on a storied club in TFC. Having gone 9W-4D-7T with a phenomenal 44GF in 2023, the Nitros bring fierce competition to this inter-city derby while their south-end rivals return to the L1 scene having been crowned champs in the league’s first-ever season in 2014.

4) Massive Match-Ups

This new formatting and the draw has gifted fans with a slew of heavyweight tilts both confirmed and possible. These are three that I am keeping my eye on come tournament time.

L1O Women’s – Alliance v North Toronto

Separated by a solitary three points during the 2023 season, North Toronto barely edged out their Scarborough-based opponents in Alliance United. With their sole meeting during the 2023 season being a 1-1 draw and both programs known for bringing skilled, dynamic plays to the pitch, this Round of 16 meeting will be one for the ages.

Guelph United Camilo Vasconcelos
Photo Credit: Guelph United

L1O Men’s – Guelph United v The Borough/Pickering

Guelph United are in a ways rebuilding. Since their championship in 2021, an exodus of their star talent has left them as a shadow of their title-winning selves. In 2022, they missed the playoffs entirely while in 2023, they were eliminated by way of a 2-nil loss to Vaughan. Oppositely, newcomers The Borough are looking to make a name for themselves while Pickering will be hoping to rebuild the L1 reputation they once had. The winner will travel to the Royal City to take on Guelph in a match that is sure to wow.

League1 Ontario Blue Devils
Photo Credit: Bob Twidle

L1O Women’s – Blue Devils v Scrosoppi/Burlington

Nothing beats a good ol’ derby and with Burlington, Oakville, and Milton all being a stones throw away from one another, it’s a sure thing that the fans of these three fantastic programs will be cheering on their squads in any of these three cities. Additionally, with Scrosoppi having just been granted a license to operate a women’s team, the 2023 men’s Runners-Up will be hoping to replicate their men’s success in the women’s division this season.

5) More Soccer, Sooner

The L1 Cup doesn’t just bring with it renewed rivalries, intense matches, and higher stakes, but it also kicks off the L1O season sooner. Announced alongside today’s draw, the league head office has revealed that the first round of the 2024 L1 Cup will take place in April, ahead of the normal season launch in May where teams will compete in the Premiership, Championship, and League2 for the divisional hardware and potential promotions to the upper league or even the Canadian Championship (men) or Inter-Provincial Championship (women)!

The 2024 League1 Ontario season is set to kick off in April as teams begin their yearly campaign with the opening matches of the all-encompassing L1 Cup. Club kit releases as well as the league-wide schedule release are expected within the coming weeks.

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