The Canadian Professional Soccer League (CPSL) and the Canadian United Soccer League (CUSL) have agreed to form one Canadian professional soccer structure to start the 2002 season. The plan calls for one league with two divisions, with the A-League clubs entered into the First Division and the CPSL clubs will be in Division Two. A Third Division is being contemplated.
The aim is to forge a unified professional structure on which Canadian soccer at the professional level can be more successful. Success is seen as greater acceptance by the Canadian public, the media and the business world that results in improved competition, better stadiums and increased attendances.
“When this is achieved, we will have the right competitive environment for the increasing numbers of talented Canadian players presently seeking a career elsewhere, ” said Vincent Ursini, president of the CPSL. “This agreement really is for the greater good of Canadian soccer.”
Canada Cup Club Championship
The new organization will adopt one name and there will be one corporate league office.
On the field, the four Canadian A-League teams, Montreal Impact, Toronto Lynx, Calgary Storm and the Vancouver Whitecaps, will play in the A-League. (Calgary is being elevated to the A-League from the U.S.-based United Soccer League’s PDL Division.)
But while playing in the A-League, a light interlocking schedule will be arranged with the stronger CPSL teams as part of a Canada Cup club championship with the Canadian winner being eligible for the CONCACAF region club championship. In this competition the two top teams from each country meet annually for the Confederation title. CPSL teams will continue to have their own league schedules in Ontario and Quebec.
Toronto Lynx back in fold
The plan is a forerunner to CPSL expansion to other parts of Canada, where there is interest in more than one region of the country to become part of a Division Two structure. Such expansion would provide for teams playing in their own region.
The CUSL’s plan for an eventual Canadian pro league for Division One teams is still in the works and will continue to be a part of the new group’s planning. The Toronto Lynx, which last week announced its separation from the plan, is an advocate of a CPSL/CUSL merger and has been an important part of the negotiations.
The CUSL was set-up in 2000 as part of an earlier effort by the Canadian Soccer Association to launch a Canadian domestic league. The CPSL is has just completed its fourth season and has 11 teams in Ontario and one in Quebec.
“Our league has always supported the CUSL’s vision and events of the past week have provided us with some impetus to bring the professional soccer community together and get things moving in one direction,” added Ursini.
More details will be announced as developments take place over the next two weeks.
Canadian United Soccer League Division Structure Explained
Division 1 (A-League Clubs)
- Calgary Storm
- Montreal Impact
- Toronto Lynx
- Vancouver Whitecaps
Division 2 (CPSL & PCSL Clubs)
- Top finishing CPSL clubs
Division 3 (CPSL & PCSL Clubs)
- Remaining CPSL and PCSL clubs
Teams from Divisions One and Two, which are the “unified divisions” play an interlocking schedule for the Canada Cup Club Championship. The top two finishers go on to play in the CONCACAF Club Championship with the winner of this competition advancing to the FIFA Club World Championship.
About this article
This article was originally posted on November 2nd, 2001 on The Voyageurs website.