The History of the Canadian Soccer League
There are a few major soccer leagues in Canada, such as the Canadian Soccer League. Here’s a breakdown of the history of the Canadian Soccer League.
Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world. In fact, in a large portion of the world, soccer (or football as they call it) is far and away the most popular sport.
That’s not the case in the North American countries of Canada and the United States, though, where American football, ice hockey, baseball and basketball are more popular.
At the same time, soccer leagues are still very popular and very competitive as well. In fact, sports betting in Canada features some of the best lines and odds on soccer.
There are a few major soccer leagues in Canada, and one of them is the Canadian Soccer League. Here’s a breakdown of the history of the Canadian Soccer League, or CSL as it’s known.
The Canadian Soccer League was first formed back in 1998, and is a semi-professional league. It was formed through an alliance between the Canadian National Soccer League as well as the Ontario Soccer Association.
The CSL was created to provide opportunities for coaches, referees and players to develop their soccer and soccer-related skills. It was first called the Canadian Professional Soccer League, or CPSL, but that turned into the current version of the CSL today.
The league is not affiliated with FIFA, which means that its clubs do not qualify for international tournaments. Instead, it’s affiliated with the Soccer Federation of Canada, after first being affiliated by the Canadian Soccer Association.
There Are Five Teams
While there have been a number of different teams in the league at various times, there are currently five teams in the CSL. All teams are located in the province of Ontario, which is located on the eastern half of the country. It’s also the most populous of all the Canadian provinces.
The league is split into two divisions, called the First Division and the Second Division. The CSL season begins in May and runs through October. A typical playoff format follows the end of the regular season.
Games are mostly played on weekends. The regular season typically consists of between 18 and 22 games. Some recent seasons have seen a 14-game schedule that balances out so each club plays every other club an even number of times.
Just like other major professional soccer leagues, the winner of each match gets three points. If there’s a draw, each club receives one point. The standings are determined by the total number of points that each club accumulates over the course of the season.
Many Clubs Have Won the Title
While there are only five clubs that currently play in the CSL, 13 different clubs have won the CSL Championship trophy at some point in time.
The Toronto Croatia lead the way with nine total titles in history, and that includes some CNSL titles that the club won. Next in line is the St. Catharines Wolves, which won five championships including CNSL titles.
The Serbian White Eagles (including CNSL titles) and York Region Shooters have each won two titles in their history. The FC Vorkuta has won two titles.
Other clubs that have won one CSL Championship trophy include the Trois-Rivieres Attak, Toronto Olympians, SC Waterloo Region, Scarborough SC, Ottawa Wizards, Oakville Blue Devils, Brantford Galaxy and Brampton Hitmen. The defending champion of the CSL is the FC Vorkuta from the First Division, which won the 2020 title.
It’s a Private League
The CSL went through a strained relationship with the CSA, which eventually resulted in the CSA expelling the CSL from membership. There were many allegations of violations of regulations and rules so there would be an alternative structure for Ontario.
The situation got so messy at one point that the CSL filed a lawsuit against the CSA as a result.
Eventually, the CSL started operating in 1997 as it is today — as a private league. The league affiliated itself with the Soccer Federation of Canada, which was a new association at that time, and they provided all the training and administration of the clubs, players, club personnel, officials and also the necessary insurances.
There used to be restrictions on importing players into the league, but all of those were lifted in 2015. At the same time, the CSL decided to form a relationship with the American Soccer League, which helped their business and competition.
The CSL has also faced match-fixing scandals in the recent past. But, in 2016, the league agreed to start monitoring all of its matches closely to ensure that they wouldn’t be fixed in any way.
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