When Canada comes to mind, the first thing people think of aside from maple syrup, poutine, and the cold weather, is hockey. In fact, hockey is the country’s national sport, and it is too popular to even imagine having a Canadian play something else. However, various sports are still being played in Canada, including soccer.
As one of the most popular sports in the world in terms of participation, Soccer has been played as early as 1859 in some cities in Canada, and associations were formed as early as 1880, which started in Kitchener, Ontario. Western Football Association was the earliest soccer association in the country, and it was a major factor in the development of the sport in Canada.
At the turn of the decade, more associations were formed in Canada. For instance, the Ontario Football Association was formed in 1901, and four years later, the Saskatchewan Football Association was formed. Finally, professional competitions were already taking place. In 1910, the very first professional soccer competition happened in Vancouver. The competition was between the Callies and the Rovers.
Eventually, the Major League, the highest form of competition in the sport, was created and added to competitions of the association football leagues. The very first league was that of the American Football Association, formed in 1884. But because there were no clubs in Canada at that time, clubs in the United States joined the competition.
The Major League Soccer season starts from March and ends in October. Major league soccer between the United States and Canada comprises of twenty football clubs, and out of twenty teams, only three are from Canada: Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and Montreal Impact.
Wearing red jerseys, shorts, and socks, Toronto FC, originating in Ontario, Canada, is actually the first Canadian team in Major League Soccer. Operated by the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the team is a four-time Canadian champion. The team was founded in 2005, and as of today, Toronto FC’s coach is Greg Vanney. The official mascot of Toronto FC is a hawk called Bitchy.
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC is the first team to qualify for the Major League Soccer Playoffs. Donning deep sea, white, and light blue colors, Whitecaps’ official colors, the team’s booster of morale is a belted kingfisher called Spike, the official mascot. The team plays at the BC Place in Vancouver for home matches. Vancouver Whitecaps FC was founded in 1974, and as of today, the team’s coach is Carl Robinson.
Hailing from Montreal, Quebec is the Montreal Impact, the youngest team among the three Major League Soccer teams from Canada. It was founded in 2010, but even as a young team, they have already proven their ability by becoming winners in the Canadian Championship in 2013 and 2014. The team uses the Saputo Stadium for its home matches. The team’s jerseys are made up of two colors, blue and black, for home games, and white and blue for away games. As of today, Montreal Impact’s coach is Mauro Biello.
All three teams have had rivalries against each other, depending on the competition; although Montreal Impact and Toronto FC are known to be the biggest rivals among the three teams. All Canadian teams are also part of the Eastern Conference of the Major League Soccer except for the Vancouver Whitecaps, which is part of the Western Conference.Watch Canadian MLS game on TV here.