Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Canadian Championship ups the Can-con

Canadian Championship ups the Can-con


In unveiling the schedule for this year’s (PLACE SPONSOR NAME HERE) Canadian Championship, a series of format and rule changes were announced.

This will be the final season that the tournament will only be open to the full-time pro teams. In 2018, the winners of League1 Ontario  and the Premiere Ligue de Soccer du Quebec will get invites into the tournament. In Plastic Pitch issue 11, the case was also made to invite Canada’s senior men’s champions.

But, starting this season, each team is required to start three Canadians for each tournament match.

From Canada Soccer: “In 2017, to be eligible as a Canadian on the starting line-up, a player must be a Canadian Citizen and/or hold a Canadian passport and, not played for, or represented, by virtue of dual citizenship or parental lineage, any other Member Association National soccer team, at any level, unless a change of Association, in accordance with FIFA Statutes, to Canada Soccer has been granted.”

So, a player who holds a Canadian passport or has landed immigrant status but has represented or is representing another country’s national team won’t be eligible. For example, FC Edmonton veteran Albert Watson expects to soon get his Canadian permanent residency, but he’s played for Northern Ireland at the youth level. So, Watson couldn’t take up a Canadian spot. Not that Canadian content will be a problem for the Eddies, who have the likes of Nik Ledgwerwood, Adam Straith, Ben Fisk, Mauro Eustaquio and Marko Aleksic on the roster.

It’s worth noting that Marc Dos Santos, the Canadian head coach of the NASL’s San Francisco Deltas, had been clamouring for a Canadian-content-in-the-lineup rule for the Canadian Championships when he was the coach of the Ottawa Fury a couple of years ago. Calling the new three-Canadian-rule the “MDS Rule” would be accurate.

The MLS teams don’t join until the Ottawa Fury and FC Edmonton have settled their preliminary round series, which kicks off May 3 in Ottawa and finishes May 10 in the Alberta capital. As the Eddies finished ahead of the Fury in the NASL table in 2016, FCE gets the advantage of having the second leg at home.

Of course, the preliminary round will be politically charged. Ottawa has moved to the USL, which now shares Division-2 status with the NASL. This will mark the first time a USL team will meet an NASL side in meaningful game since the Fury and Rowdies switched leagues, and it’s a safe bet that the brass from each of the circuits will be hoping to one-up the other. League vs. league is a North American soccer phenomenon, and surely the Fury/Eddies series will be a flashpoint on social media and blogs and message boards.

NASL and USL teams don’t join the U.S. Open Cup till May 18, so the Canadian Championship offers the first true battlefield for the leagues.

The winner of Ottawa/FCE will face Toronto FC, while Vancouver and Montreal will square off in the other semifinal.

2017 Qualifying Round

3 May           Ottawa Fury FC v FC Edmonton
10 May         FC Edmonton v Ottawa Fury FC

2017 Semi-final Rounds
23 May         (Qualifying Round winner) v Toronto FC
23 May         Vancouver Whitecaps FC v Impact Montréal FC
30 May         Impact Montréal FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC
31 May         Toronto FC v (Qualifying Round winner)

2017 Championship Final
20/21 June    First leg between Semi-Final winners
* Should Montreal make the Final this match will be played on June 21
27 June         Second leg between Semi-Final winners

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One Comment

  1. BCM

    March 10, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Great rule change. Terrible legal drafting – 1. In order to hold a passport one needs to be a citizen (except for diplomatic passport) so the “and/or” designation is nonsensical; and 2. Players which acquire Canadian citizenship after playing for their home country (ie A Watson) have not represented that country “by virtue of dual citizenship or parental lineage”. By the letter, they are eligible Canadians.

    Sorry for being pedantic but drafting matters .

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