Pickering FC Takes Electric City’s License, Returns To L1O
In what is seen as a turn of events for many, Pickering FC will be making a rather quick return to League1 Ontario.
Pickering failed to find partners in time for the 2023 campaign, resulting in their inability to participate in the senior division across both genders. They did have teams in the reserve division, with the women’s side winning the competition, while the men’s side finished second in their group.
However, as a result of pulling their senior teams, the league took their license, giving it to other teams for the 2024 season. Last month, it was announced that Scrosoppi FC received the license on the women’s side.
While the league has not awarded the other former Pickering license for a men’s team yet, it is expected that Toronto FC’s youth team will receive it.
Yet, Pickering FC has returned, and will be playing in League1 Ontario Championship in 2024. How is this so?
Pickering FC In, Electric City Out
To the surprise of many, Electric City has sold their license to Pickering, with the former ceasing operations after two campaigns.
This outcome stuns fans for multiple reasons. For one, the Peterborough-based ECFC expressed serious ambitions from day one, with plans to join the Canadian Premier League in the future. They also spent quite a bit for a L1O team, matching that a bit.
While neither the men’s side or women’s team reached the playoffs in their brief existence in the league, they were always on the running for a place in the postseason. They narrowly missed out, which led to the sacking of coach Randy Ribeiro at the end of last term.
This is the second time in the last three years that a club with serious ambition folded. Two years ago, 1812 FC sold their license after just one campaign in the league. Like Electric City, there were high hopes for the Barrie club.
Given former ECFC striker Jordan Brown’s recent comments, perhaps it is not as surprising to see the club collapse as they did.
Who Will Replace Electric City in L1O Premier?
As previously mentioned, both of Pickering’s teams will enter the L1O Championship Division for the 2024 campaign. As both of Electric City’s teams were due to enter L1O Premier, the question becomes who will replace the ECFC clubs in that division?
On the men’s side, that will be Woodbridge Strikers. They finished 13th in the combined two-year ranking, narrowly missing out on the Premier Division. Having conceded a late goal to Hamilton United Elite in the last round of last season – in a game that determined the final spot in the division – Woodbridge was set to play in the Championship Division.
Fortunately for them, that is no longer the case, as they will take ECFC’s place in the men’s Premier Division.
As for the last spot in the women’s Premier Division, that will go to St. Catharines Roma Wolves. They finished 13th in the women’s two-year combined table, less than three points behind Guelph Union (now called Guelph United).
The new League1 Ontario season, the first under the new promotion and relegation format, will start in April, with the exact format and schedule to be released in the not-too-distant future.