May 20, 2024
  • May 20, 2024
League1 Canada Growth

League1 Canada: 2024 Season Preview

By on April 19, 2024 0 1144 Views

One week after the Canadian Premier League got underway, League1 Canada is back in action this weekend. With cup games in League1 Ontario plus domestic matches in Ligue1 Quebec, there’s plenty to look forward to as the new season starts up.

Here’s a look at each of the provincial leagues along with the League1 Canada Inter-Provincial Championship.

Matteo Polisi TSS Rovers

League1 British Columbia

League1 BC enters its third season with several several changes in terms of teams involved. Nautsa’mawt exited the league in the offseason, with the Victoria Highlanders more recently following suit on short notice. The latter won the men’s division regular season last year and was slated to face Pacific in the 2024 Canadian Championship. There is one new team though, as Burnaby FC joined the fold.

The League1 BC season starts on April 27, as Rivers FC hosts Altitude. One day later, a double-header will occur between Burnaby and Harbourside, and Whitecaps FC and Rivers. TSS Rovers, who would have taken on Victoria Highlanders on the Saturday, has a bye week instead.

The men’s and women’s matches will occur back-to-back, just as was the case last year.

Photo Credit: Tom Ewasiuk / AFTN Canada

The format of this season remains unchanged from 2023 despite there being one less team. After a 12-game regular season, the top four teams will enter the playoffs. The higher ranked team will host the semifinals (1v4, and 2v3), before the final will take place at Swangard Stadium on August 4.

Support Northern Tribune On Patreon

As was the case in 2023, the women’s regular season champion will qualify for this year’s League1 Canada Interprovincial Championship. The winner of the men’s regular season will enter the 2025 Canadian Championship.

League1 Alberta

Entering its first official season after doing an exhibition series in 2023, League1 Alberta will get the ball rolling in early May. The same five teams plus two new additions will compete.

On the men’s side, Calgray Blizzard joins after only fielding a women’s team last year. As for the ladies’ division, NDC Alberta joins the fold, with a similar setup to the other NDCs in the other League1 divisions. Finally, Calgary Southwest United is a completely new team, fielding a team in both gendered divisions.

The first ball will be kicked on May 7 as the Calgary Blizzard, who won the women’s final last year, hosts Cavalry U-21 / NDC. The Calgary Foothills, winners of the men’s regular season and playoffs in 2023, and Calgary Southwest United will also face off that same day.

Three days later, the Edmonton-based teams will have their first games of the year. The Edmonton Scottish will face Cavalry U-21 / NDC away, BTB Soccer Club welcomes Calgary Blizzard, and the St. Albert Impact meets the Calgary Foothills.

A unique feature for L1 Alberta this year is that matches between local teams will take place on Tuesday nights, while out-of-town games occur on Fridays. This is contrast to last year, where matches occurred on Fridays.

The format for L1 Alberta mirrors last year’s exhibition series: after meeting each other home and away, the top two teams will meet in the final. The final takes place on July 26.

Finally, the winner of the women’s division will qualify for the League1 Canada Interprovincial Championship. While not official, it is expected that the winner of the men’s division will compete in the Canadian Championship next year as well.

Photo Credit: Martin Bazyl / League1 Ontario

League1 Ontario

The biggest change in the League1 Canada landscape comes in Ontario as the league enters its tenth year. With it comes a format two years in the making.

Promotion and relegation has arrived in Ontario, with the 2024 season being the first year it is implemented. The results of the previous two years determined where the teams start in the pyramid. The League1 ON Premier Division will have 12 men’s teams and 10 women’s sides, the Championship features 10 in each division, while League2 Ontario sees 24 men’s teams (three of which are senior teams) and 20 women’s sides (two senior teams). Regular season action commences next week.

The format will change from previous years, as there are no playoffs in the top two divisions. Instead, the top team of tier two will be promoted, while the bottom of each division will be relegated. In the Premier Division, the second-to-last team will meet the runner up from the Championship Division. In the men’s Championship, the bottom team will battle the third place team from League2.

Playoffs will occur in League2, with four teams playing in a final four format. The top two in each of the conferences on the women’s side, plus the three conference winners and next best team on the men’s side, will make the playoffs there. It must be noted that the men’s Championship division will have 12 teams next year, with no teams being directly relegated from the division this year.

Regarding the (regular) season format, teams will face each other home and away (in principle) across all divisions. The one exception is in League2 ON women’s, where the teams will meet their conference opponents once each, as well as five teams for the other conference.

The champion of the L1 ON Women’s Premier Division will play in the League1 Canada Interprovincial Championship. As for the men’s Premier Division winner, they will partake in the 2025 Canadian Championship.

Finally, the L1 Cup returns this year after a five-year hiatus. A total 25 men’s teams and 20 women’s sides will take part. The tournaments get underway this weekend, with five rounds throughout the season to determine the winners.

Photo Credit: Raphael Williams-CLaudio

Ligue1 Quebec

Ligue 1 Quebec returns as 11 men’s sides and 12 women’s teams take part. The only team not returning from last year is Lanaudiere-Nord, who withdrew in the offseason.

The men’s format will not change from last year, as the sides face each other home and away. There will be two less games per team as a result of there being one less team.

The season starts on Saturday as the last two winners – FC Laval and CS Saint-Laurent – square off. Also on Saturday, Celtix du Haut-Richelieu hosts AS Laval. On Sunday, Royal Select Beauport welcomes CS Longueuil, AS Blainville battles Ottawa South United, and CS Mont-Royal Outremont takes on CF Montreal. CS Saint-Hubert has a bye.

A spot in the 2025 Canadian Championship is on the line for men’s regular season winner. Moreover, the top eight teams from the regular season will partake in the Coupe L1 Quebec.

The women’s division oversees a new format. Instead of a single table, the 12 teams are split into two groups of six. Group A consists of CF Montreal (NDC Quebec), AS Pierrefonds, Ottawa South United, CSMRO, FC Laval, and CS Saint-Hubert. In Group B, Association de soccer de Chaudiere-Ouest, AS Blainville, Royal Select Beauport, AS Laval, Celtix du Haut-Richelieu, and CS Longueuil take part.

Clubs will meet the teams in their group home and away, as well as the teams from the other group once. Following the 16-game regular season, the top two from each group will make the playoffs. The final is on 3 August, with the winner entering the L1 Canada Interprovincial Championship.

Below are the first round of fixtures in the women’s division.

League1 Canada Women’s Interprovincial Championship

This year’s League1 Canada Women’s Interprovincial Championship will occur in Ontario from 8-11 August. The four provincial winners face off in a final four format, with the exact site currently unknown.

Things become even more meaningful this year, as the winner of the tournament is expected to take part in the new CONCACAF Women’s Champions Cup. That team will enter the preliminary round, facing a club from El Salvador.

Previous winners from the L1 Interprovincial Championship are AS Blainville (2022) and Whitecaps FC (2023).

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *