Every year we have another look at who’s in, and who’s out. This year starts off on the wrong foot, with the removal of four clubs from the rosters. Thankfully, we’ve one new club on board in Quebec, and two more in Ontario.
Hamilton United Elite – A women’s team joined L1O last year, and publicly expressed interest in launching a men’s team the following year, especially as they also had a men’s team in the L1O Reserve league. True to their word, Hamilton United Elite officially will have a Men’s team in League1 Ontario in 2020.
North Toronto Nitros – The Nitros were part of L1O from 2016-2017, but dropped out in 2018. The return of the club is definitely welcome, as they performed above the league average at the time (906.655 on the 2017 elo ratings).
Updated 13 Dec
Citing sanctioning issues, Ottawa Fury have suspended operations indefinitely.
While some may theorize this will provide seed money of a CPL launch, we believe a resurrection of the club in Canada for 2021, under OSEG, to be unlikely.
Celtix de Haut-Richelieu – This team was originally announced in 2016. We waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, they’ve re-announced Celtix as joining the PLSQ for 2019.
Dynamo de Quebec – It appears negotiations did not end favourably for Dynamo de Quebec, as the PLSQ announced their departure from the league on November 7th. As a result, all of the league’s teams are now in or around Montreal.
Victoria Highlanders FC – We were first alerted to the potential departure of Victoria Highlanders FC due to unsubstantiated rumours on reddit.
Initially we didn’t put much stock in this, as USL2 is still listed as the first team location on the Highlanders website, and the team has recently tweeted their welcome of WFA Willamette to the Pacific Northwest division.
However, just yesterday Colin Elmes of TSS FC Rovers tweeted a photo from the USL Winter Summit, with the Highlanders suspiciously absent:
As of 10:49am today, the departure of Highlanders FC from USL2 has been confirmed.
The Highlanders will continue to field a team in the Pacific Coast Soccer League in 2020. This was confirmed by the PCSL on December 8th.
Rumours also indicated the team was planning to participate in L1BC in 2021, but this rumour (and the league start year itself) has yet to be confirmed.
Edit 11:38pm – Thanks to some help from the Lake Side Buoys (who were able to get in quick contact with the owner directly as a result of this post), we have confirmation from the Highlanders that they will not be competing in USL2 next year, and will be submitting their application to the new L1BC league in January 2020.
Edit 2:27 pm – The Highlanders have officially issued their release on this subject, confirming all of the above.
CPL – No updates since 26 Nov.
CPL Quebec – Latest rumours indicate a stadium deal has been achieved, with a team in Quebec City almost set to launch for 2021. Recent interviews with the President of Quebec Soccer indicate an expansion fee of $9 million may be a stumbling block.
No updates since 26 Nov.
Rumour Strength: Strong
Fraser Valley – Widely considered a lock for 2021, with play to occur at a new field located at the Langley Event Centre. No updates since 8 Nov.
Rumour Strength: Strong
Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge – Rumours have started to indicate this may be one of the three teams that are “very close” to locking down a place in the 2021 expansion. No updates since 8 Nov.
Rumour Strength: Moderate
CPL Laval – Despite surfacing recently on AFC Curtis, Bunbury remains relatively tight lipped on progress in Laval. Expansion date seems to have been pushed toward 2022. As noted above, the expansion fee is seen as an additional road block for teams in Quebec. No updates since 26 Nov.
Rumour Stength: Moderate
Saskatoon – Latest rumours indicate Belan is targeting a 2022 launch. No updates since 8 Nov.
Rumour Strength: Moderate
Ottawa – Clanachan has repeatedly mentioned that he had been speaking with investors in Ottawa about launching a team. With Fury FC closing up shop, an opening has been created. It appears unlikely at this point that the team would be able to launch prior to 2022. No updates since 8 Nov.
Rumour Strength: Weak
At the beginning of summer, BC provided an update on their plans for L1BC. Those ITK have waffled from unbridled optimism, to talks of delay to 2021 or 2022, and the latest rumour says there’s just 1 thing holding back a 2020 launch: a Voyageur’s Cup spot.
The interested teams want assurances that there will be a V-Cup spot for the league’s champion, and they have to wait on the CSA to say it will be so.
Update (13 Dec): Latest rumour now firmly plants BCL1 with a 2021 launch date. The Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) expansion this summer may provide some clues as to which clubs are interested in participating.
New teams this year include Victoria United and Westcastle United, both located on Vancouver Island.
Previous rumours indicated that one (or more) teams had joined in 2019 in anticipation of L1BC’s launch. 2019 witnessed the addition of Okanagan FC, plus the return of Surrey United & FC Tigers Vancouver.
Unsubstantiated rumours on reddit also indicate that Victoria Highlanders, who are not participating in USL2 this year, intend to relaunch in L1BC in 2021.
Edit 11:38pm – Thanks to some help from the Lake Side Buoys, we have confirmation directly from the Highlanders that they will not be competing in USL2 next year, and will be submitting their application to the new L1BC league in January 2020.
Edit 2:27pm – The Highlanders have officially issued their release on the above rumour, confirming the introduction of L1BC & their participation in 2021.
Rumour Strength: High
Challenge Cup Divisions
The BC Leagues (VISL, VMSL, FVSL) are currently in progress for the 2019-2020 season.
Many leagues in the Challenge Cup Divisions have promotion & relegation.
LSEQ – St-Hubert and CS Fabrose both finished at the top of Men’s B, and should be promoted. Actual promotion has not been confirmed.
MMSL – FC Northwest and CCS Sweatshack both finished at the top of Division 1, and should be promoted. Actual promotion has not been confirmed.
LSEQ – FS Salaberry and Brossard both finished at the bottom of Men’s A, and should be relegated. Actual relegation has not been confirmed.
MMSL – World Soccer Academy and Forza-WSP both finished bottom of the Premier Division, and should be relegated. Actual relegation has not been confirmed.
AMSL – Calgary Villains Elite FC successfully defended Calgary Rangers Sportif FC‘s challenge.
For reference, Challenge Cup Divisions include:
- New Brunswick Premier Soccer League
- Nova Scotia Soccer League
- Newfoundland & Labrador Challenge Trophy
- Ligue de Soccer du Quebec (Pro/Rel)
- Ontario Open Cup
- Manitoba Major Soccer League (Pro/Rel)
- Saskatchewan Open Cup
- Alberta Major Soccer League (Pro/Rel)
- BC Provincial Cup
- Fraser Valley Soccer League, Premier Division (Pro/Rel ?)
- Vancouver Island Soccer League, Division 1 (Pro/Rel)
- Vancouver Metro Soccer League, Premier Division (Pro/Rel)