League 1 BC: What You Need To Know
Here’s what you need to know before the League1 BC debut season kicks off.
A new dawn is quickly approaching football in British Columbia: following in the footsteps of Ontario and Quebec, Canada’s westernmost province will have its own pro-am standard league kicking off for the first time this Sunday.
But before the ball gets rolling, here are some details to know about the new league.
Teams and season format
With a men’s and women’s division created, each gender’s league features the same number of teams. There will be seven in each, with all clubs involved fielding both men’s and women’s teams.
Three of the seven sides precede the league and have been around for quite some time. Victoria Highlanders and TSS Rovers are no strangers to such a level of football, competing in the USL League Two in recent years before making the switch.
The other familiar face is the Vancouver Whitecaps, who will be adding U-19 teams to the leagues. The Whitecaps also has a new men team in MLS Next Pro, though that is for the club’s U-23 roster. For League 1 BC, they’ll be fielding a U-19 team. For the ladies’ division, they will work in partnership with the National Development Centre. This allows young ladies in the U-17 and U-20 levels to play at a higher level provincially.
Of the four newly formed clubs, three of them have struck partnerships with universities in British Columbia. Varsity FC struck a partnership with UBC, playing their home games at the Thunderbird Stadium. Unity FC will work together with Trinity Spartans University. The other team that connected to a university is Rivers FC, who will be in collaboration with Thompson Rivers University.
The only new team not be connected to a post-secondary institution is Altitude FC. Based in North Vancouver, they were created by local investors and Faly Academy.
As for the season format, the seven teams take on each other twice, once home and away, in the gender divisions. The top two teams at the end of the regular season will play the final, to be played on BC Day (1 August). While not yet confirmed, the winner of the men’s league could partake in the 2023 edition of the Canadian Championship.
League 1 Canada
After several years of planning, League 1 Canada was officially created a couple months ago. Creating an alliance between the three provinces with pro-am standard leagues, League 1 BC, along with Ontario and Quebec’s equivalents, are now under one umbrella. The new structure allows for the leagues to share ideas and further strengthen the level of football at the provincial level.
In fact, the winner of the L1BC women’s division will partake in a Final Four against the League 1 Ontario champion and the top two teams from PLSQ. The Final Four takes place in Laval from 14-16 August.
The new organization named Dino Rossi as it’s inaugural President this week.
First weekend of games
The action gets underway on Sunday, with the first ever match of the new league being between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Victoria Highlanders. The schedule sets up primarily double-headers. The women’s match kicks off at 13:00 ET, with the men’s following at 15:30.
The other two games this weekend are between Rivers FC and Altitude FC (14:00 for the ladies, 16:30 for the men) and TSS Rovers against Unity FC (15:00 and 17:30).
Varsity FC is idle during the first weekend, taking the field for the first time on Thursday. They will go to Unity FC for that outing (18:00 and 20:00).
Fans interested in streaming the games can do so through a paid subscription.
The first season of League 1 BC promises to bring further excitement to football in Canada. With the game’s interest continuing to pick up momentum, the new league in BC could be the catalyst of more provincial pro-am based leagues to pop up. Hopefully L1BC will continue the momentum that is popping up all over the country.