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ACC not ready to grow… yet

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The Canadian Soccer Association moved the Amway Canadian Championship — this country’s official pro soccer championship — later in the calendar, beginning with this year’s tourney.

The CSA confirms that the logic behind moving the final to later in the summer is to eventually create a schedule where more teams can gain entry into the tournament.

As it stands, the ACC is only open to the three Canadian Major League Soccer teams and the two North American Soccer League teams.

It’s hard to go to CONCACAF and ask for more than one spot for Canada in the Champions League when the tournament to determine which team gets that sole berth has only five teams in it.

There are now viable Division 3 semipro leagues up and running in Quebec and Ontario. The three MLS teams all have local affiliates in USL-PRO.

But, when will the ACC grow to more than five teams? That’s the million-dollar question. Because it’s not on the CSA’s imminent to-do list.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN PLASTIC PITCH #5.

This is a statement made to Plastic Pitch by the CSA: “The focus right now is to build the Championship into a solid competition with the clubs in place, and potential development will be considered and debated on an annual basis by our Professional Soccer Committee.”

This year, the tournament will begin in April with a preliminary series between the two NASL sides — FC Edmonton and the Ottawa Fury. The winner of that two-legged series will face the Vancouver Whitecaps, while Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact will meet in the other semifinal.

The winners will face off in a final that won’t kick off till August. Because of the late-summer finish, the champion will qualify for the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League. From now on, the holder of the Voyageurs Cup will go into the CCL that kicks off a year later.

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