May 2, 2007 CSL--Open Canada Cup Expands (from CSL website)
OPEN CANADA CUP EXPANDS
Wednesday - May 2, 2007
B.C. adds 24 teams
The CSL’s Open Canada Cup has just taken a huge leap forward in its quest to go Canada-wide.
Pro and amateur teams from Ontario and Quebec bidding for the increasingly popular trophy, will this year face a strong bid from British Columbia when 24 senior amateur teams in that province enter a Western Canada qualifying series of games in Vancouver to decide which team will travel to London, Ontario for the Open Canada Cup final weekend.
London City was recently awarded the hosting rights to the semi-final and final when they outbid all other CSL teams. The semi-finals and will be played at the Cove Road ground the first September weekend, with the Open Canada Cup Final on Labour Day Monday, September 3.
The Open Canada Cup was launched by the CSL in 2002 as a first step to produce a Canadian club champion to advance into the CONCACAF (North and Central America and the Caribbean) region of 40 countries. Only two CONCACAF countries (Canada and Puerto Rico) are without a domestic club championship and it’s been 30 years since a Canadian team ventured into the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup when Toronto Italia made an unsuccessful one-year bid in 1976.
“This is a major step forward for the Open Canada Cup concept and for Canadian soccer” said league commissioner Cary Kaplan following a meeting yesterday when the league’s board of directors unanimously approved Kaplan’s recommendation to bring British Columbia into the fray. Kaplan had just completed negotiations with Richard Gablehouse the founder and driving force behind the successful Athletic Club of BC (ACBC) Challenge Cup with 24-teams scheduled for the 2007 B.C. playdowns.
“Richard and his group, and the CSL, have similar beliefs and ambitions for Canadian club soccer, that all senior teams in Canada deserve an opportunity to compete for a domestic club title, the winner to be tested internationally,” said Kaplan following the meetings. “While there are continuing discussions with the CSA on how the format will eventually unfold, the CSL is committed to moving the competition forward and this agreement will re-brand the competition in British Columbia and bring together teams from Canada’s three largest provinces in one Open Canada Cup competition.”
The CSL’s Ontario and Quebec playdowns will take place June through August and B.C.’s qualifiers will also be completed in August for the four surviving teams to meet in London on the Labour Day holiday weekend.
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