The road to the Canadian Soccer Championship begins when Ottawa plays Edmonton in early May. (Canada Soccer photo)

The 10th edition of the Canadian Championship will kick off May 3 when Ottawa Fury FC host FC Edmonton in a head-to-head elimination series. The two-match qualifying round sets the Battle of the North in motion, which sets itself apart from all North American professional sports leagues that operate on both sides of the border as the only one to hold an all-Canada competition that leads to the international stage.

The qualifying round winner will join the three MLS teams for home and away semi-final series.  The home and away final round will follow with the final match on 27 June where the winner will be crowned 2017 Canadian Champion and raise the Voyageurs Cup.

New to the Canadian Championship in 2017, Canada Soccer has added a Canadian Content rule ensuring that at least three Canadians are included on every starting lineup throughout the competition.

2017 Qualifying Round
May 3 – Ottawa Fury FC v FC Edmonton
May 10 – FC Edmonton v Ottawa Fury FC

2017 Semi-final Rounds
May 23 – (Qualifying Round winner) v Toronto FC
May 23 – Vancouver Whitecaps FC v Montreal Impact FC
May 30 – Montreal Impact FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC
May 31 – Toronto FC v (Qualifying Round winner)

2017 Championship Final
June 20/21 – First leg between Semi-Final winners
* Should Montreal make the Final this match will be played on June 21
June 27 – Second leg between Semi-Final winners

The 2017 Canadian Championship features five clubs across three rounds and serves as a conduit to the CONCACAF Champions League, the path by which Canadian teams have a chance to play the best clubs in the world at the FIFA Club World Cup, such as reigning champions CF Real Madrid. In line with the launch of the new CONCACAF Champions League format which places the Canadian representative in Phase II beginning in March 2018, a special one-match Canadian playoff between last year’s winners Toronto FC (unless Toronto FC repeats as Canadian winners) and the 2017 winners will be played on Aug. 9 in Toronto to determine who will advance.

Looking ahead to 2018, Canada Soccer has also confirmed plans to expand the Canadian Championship to include winning teams from both League1 Ontario and Première Ligue de soccer du Québec.

-Canada Soccer