On Wednesday the Canadian Premier League (CPL) announced its inaugural season will be divided into spring and fall seasons. The winners of each session will meet in the Canadian Premier League Championship in October to determine the CPL champion. The format for the CPL championship final has yet to been confirmed. The new professional soccer league kicks off April 27, 2019.
The CPL also released the match schedule for the 2019 season Wednesday. All seven clubs will play 28 games – 10 during the spring season from April 27 to July 1 and 18 during the fall season from July 6 to Oct. 19. The final between the two season winners will take place following that. Should the same team win both spring and fall seasons, the winner of the spring portion will play the team with the highest cumulative points total across both seasons.
And while some may still be pondering the choice of format, others, like Cavalry FC head coach and general manager Tommy Wheeldon Jr., are ecstatic to finally get the ball rolling on the new league.
“It feels great to finally have the schedule out,” said Wheeldon on Wednesday. “Now we can properly prepare for the season ahead.
Cavalry FC kicks off its inaugural season at home against York9 FC Saturday, May 4, a week after the CPL begins play. The Calgary club has a total of seven matches scheduled for May – five CPL games and two Canadian Championship matches.
Tough run of games
While Cavalry FC’s manager acknowledges the early tight turnarounds his club faces, he believes he and his squad will be ready to embrace the challenge.
“We’ve got a tough run of games, including the Canadian Championship, where there’s seven games in the first three weeks,” said Wheeldon. “But that’s something we’ll have to adapt to and overcome.
“Look, I just want to play. The players just want to get started in training. This has been a long time coming and we’re a few days away from training camp. And we’re excited now. It’s feeling more and more real.”
Four of the club’s five CPL matches in May will be played at home, at Spruce Meadows. And Wheeldon is hoping to reap the benefits of playing host so often in the early stages of the season.
“Overall, the first part of the season we’re at home more times than we’re on the road, which is always a benefit,” said Wheeldon.
Format will create excitement for fans
“In terms of the format, it’s something that’s tried and tested in parts of the world, if you look at the Apertura and Clausura (in Mexico’s Liga MX),” he said. “It’s something that creates excitement amongst the fans. I think this is an opportunity to create a season-long event. As we launch a brand new league in Canada it’s important that, when we don’t have a division two yet with no promotion and relegation, there has to be excitement all the way up without having to use the format of playoffs. I think what this does is it rewards the two best teams.
“The more I’ve listened to the powers that be at the league, giving the whys behind it, the more I’m buying into it. I think it’s going to be the same for the fans once they understand the reason around it. There are some merits to it, especially as we launch an exciting event.”
Cavalry FC begins training camp March 4.