The stakes are high: Amway Canadian Championship starts an epic road to the CONCACAF Champions League
Posted on 10 May 2016 in Canadian Championship
When FC Edmonton and Ottawa Fury FC take the pitch 11 May in the first leg of the 2016 Amway Canadian Championship, there is more at stake than simply the Voyageurs Cup. The start of Canada Soccer’s Amway Canadian Championship signals the beginning of an epic journey through Canada and the CONCACAF region with the goal of reaching the FIFA Club World Cup.
The Amway Canadian Championship is more than just a competition to earn Canadian bragging rights, it is a conduit to CONCACAF Champions League, and the only path for Canadian teams to play the best clubs in the world, such as reigning FIFA Club World Cup champions Barcelona FC.
A Canadian team has never won the CONCACAF Champions League or fought for club supremacy against the best in the world, but Impact Montréal FC came tantalizingly close in 2015. After tying Mexico’s storied Club América 1:1 at the famed Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in the first leg of the CONCACAF final, the Impact took the lead in the 8th minute of the second leg in front of 61,004 fans packed into Montréal's Stade Olympique. In a match that will be remembered for years to come, the Impact looked like they would lift Canada into the FIFA Club World Cup for much of the match, before Club América converted three goals in 15 minutes to secure the win.
In April 2015, the Impact took fans through a rollercoaster of emotions as they battled for confederation’s title against Mexico’s top club. Now it is time for Canada’s five professional clubs to battle it out and earn the opportunity to show that Canada’s teams are in it to win it against the world’s best.
The 2016 Amway Canadian Championship again features Canada's five professional clubs, with the winner earning a spot in the 2017-18 CONCACAF Champions League. FC Edmonton will face Ottawa Fury FC in the preliminary round, with the home-and-away series set for Wednesday nights 11 and 18 May. The winner will advance to the semi-final phase, to be played Wednesdays 1 and 8 June against last year's Canadian champion Vancouver Whitecaps FC. In the other semi-final series, Toronto FC will face Impact Montréal FC. The two semi-final winners will then meet in the national final, to be played in the weeks of June 21 or 22 and June 28 or 29 (dates to be confirmed).
Catch the matches LIVE on TSN
The Amway Canadian Championship will be featured on TSN (with Impact Montréal FC matches also available on RDS). Following the preliminary Ottawa-Edmonton series in May that will be streamed on canadasoccer.com, every Amway Canadian Championship match will be televised coast to coast.
What you need to know:
- One of the most distinguished club level trophies in soccer, the FIFA Club World Cup pits the winners of CONCACAF Champions League against the winners of the five other continental championships: Asian AFC Champions League, African CAF Champions League, South American Copa Libertadores, Oceanian OFC and European UEFA Champions League, plus the host nation's national league champions.
- Amway Canadian Championship’s current champions are the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The most successful club has been Toronto FC with 4 titles. Impact Montréal FC is the only club to have played in the CONCACAF Champions League Grand Final. Montréal has been in the Canadian final for the past three consecutive years.
- Through the past eight editions of the Amway Canadian Championship, Montréal were inaugural champions (2008) followed by Toronto FC who won the Voyageurs Cup in four successive seasons (2009 to 2012), before Montréal won the championship again in 2013 and 2014. Vancouver Whitecaps FC then hoisted their first Voyageurs Cup in 2015.
- The George Gross Memorial Trophy was created by Canada Soccer in 2008 to recognize each tournament's most valuable player. The Trophy is named after the late George Gross, a respected journalist and honoured member of Canada Soccer’s Hall of Fame. Two Canadians have won the award, Dwayne De Rosario (2009 and 2010) and Russell Teibert (2015).
- The CONCACAF Champions League reigning top player is Rubens Oscar Sambueza of Argentina (Club América).
- The FIFA Club World Cup reigning top player is Uruguay’s Luis Suárez (Barcelona FC).
About the Amway Canadian Championship
The ninth edition of the Amway Canadian Championship features Canada's five professional clubs: Ottawa Fury FC (NASL), FC Edmonton (NASL), Impact Montréal FC (MLS), Toronto FC (MLS) and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS).
Additional information on the competition format and the clubs’ rosters can be found on the Amway Canadian Championship official website at canadasoccer.com/championship.
Fans are encourage to follow @CanadaSoccerEN on Twitter using #canChamp for tournament updates, but also to connect with the five Canadian professional clubs involved for live match coverage (@OttawaFuryFC, @FCEdmontonNow, @impactmontreal, @torontofc, @WhitecapsFC). Match highlights and reports will be available on canadasoccer.com/championship as well as on CanadaSoccerTV.