TORONTO — The Canadian Premier League season will be split in two, with spring and fall champions meeting to decide the year’s overall winner.
The seven-team men’s pro soccer league, which kicks off its inaugural season on April 27, released its full schedule Wednesday, along with competition format details.
Each club will play 28 regular-season games, 14 home and 14 away.
The spring season will run from April 27 to July 1 with all seven clubs playing 10 matches.
The table will then be reset for the fall season, which will run from July 6 to Oct. 19. Clubs will play 18 matches in the second season.
The spring and fall champions will meet in a final, whose format has yet to be decided, to decide the overall winner. If the same club wins both seasons, it will meet the club with the next most cumulative points across both seasons in the final.
The format is used in Mexico, where the "Apertura" and "Clausura" mark two distinct champions. The North American Soccer League, which used to be home to FC Edmonton, also split its schedule.
All clubs will play against one another at least four times — and at most five times — in the regular season.
The spring campaign features 35 games and the fall campaign 63. Twenty of the 35 spring season matches are on the weekend, with another three on Canada Day Monday. The remaining games will take place Wednesday or Thursday.
Thirty-five of the 63 fall season games are scheduled for the weekend.
In 2019, three clubs — Hamilton’s Forge FC, Winnipeg’s Valour FC, and FC Edmonton — will compete for a spot in the CONCACAF League, a qualifying tournament for the CONCACAF Champions League. The team with the best head-to-head record by July 1 will be awarded the berth.
In subsequent years the CPL champion will secure entry in the CONCACAF League. The three franchises get first crack this year because of their seniority.
CPL teams also have a shot at making the CONCACAF Champions League via the Canadian Championship. The winner of that tournament advances to the elite CONCACAF club championship.
The knockout CONCACAF League, which will send six teams to the Champions League, will open in July with a preliminary round involving the CPL entry and 11 other teams.
The new league is made up of Victoria’s Pacific FC, FC Edmonton, Calgary’s Cavalry FC, Valour FC, Forge FC, north Toronto’s York 9 FC and Halifax’s HFX Wanderers FC.
The league had previously announced the home openers for each club.
For the full schedule, visit http://canpl.ca/schedule.