Aidan Reagh is a German-speaking American (kind of like John Brooks). He likes to write about the Bundesliga and all things football. In this series, he delves into the world of Canadian soccer, starting with the Canadian clubs that currently operate within the United States’ system.
Here’s part 1, Calgary Foothills to Montreal Impact. Enjoy.
With the news of the Canadian Premier League sparking Canadian interest in soccer from Victoria to St. John’s, it is worth taking a look at the Canadian clubs under US governing bodies and their histories, be it top division sides like Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps or lesser known PDL sides such as Forest City London or Calgary Foothills FC. Overall, there are 12 Canadian teams in American leagues. Three are in MLS, four are in division two (three USL, one NASL), and five call the PDL home. Below is a map of the sides and the league they play in.
Calgary Foothills FC
Calgary Foothills FC was founded as a youth club in 1972 and later became a PDL side in 2015. The side finished in the bottom half of the Northwest division in their first PDL campaign and did not qualify for the league playoffs. However, the following season resulted in a great turn around. Not only did Calgary win their division, they also reached the PDL final. Last season the club averaged almost 600 supporters per match, they even have a Supporters’ Group called “The Foot Soldiers”. This season Manager Tommy Weeldon Jr. and his men are on pace to contend for a division title again in front of over 800 fans at the Calgary Soccer Centre. You can find out more about the club on their official website.
Moving up to the second division with NASL side FC Edmonton, there is a bit more history here than at Calgary Foothills FC. The side started with a bang, beating MLS side Montreal Impact 3-0 in a friendly. The first competitive match also resulted in three points as “The Eddies” came out on top of now-defunct side Fort Lauderdale Strikers. An important mentality of FC Edmonton is the idea that family trumps all. The Fath Group and their families were integral parts of the logo design process with the goal of attracting Canadian fans with a traditional look. FC Edmonton has a very loyal Supporters’ Group, the FCESG, which brings a European fan culture to Edmonton with chants and flags while standing up cheering their side on. FC Edmonton has finished third the past two seasons with just over 2,000 fans calling Clarke Stadium home. Local supporters can find home matches broadcasted on City Edmonton and away matches can be found free (only to Canada, US has to pay) at NASL.com. Learn more about the lone Canadian NASL side here.
K-W United FC
K-W United FC haven’t always been known as K-W United FC. Despite being just seven years old, the side has already re-branded. Originally known as Hamilton Rage FC, the club relocated due to poor attendance numbers and renamed to the current. In the two seasons spent in Hamilton, the club averaged just 152 in attendance, with less in the second. The first season in Waterloo, Ontario achieved a massive attendance bump of roughly 700 to justify the move away from future Canadian Premier League home Hamilton. However, attendance has fallen since. In the three seasons after the inaugural University Stadium campaign, attendance has been roughly 300. Obviously this is still double the number K-W United achieved at Hamilton, but it is less than half of what their first season was in Waterloo. Enough about attendance numbers, in 2015 K-W United achieved significant results by winning the PDL Cup, making them the third and most recent cup winners. Only Forest City London and Thunder Bay Chill have achieved that success, however Forest City London joined League 1 Ontario and rebranded as FC London in 2016. K-W is an exciting club that you can learn more about here.
May 7th, 2010. MLS commissioner Don Garber and Joey Saputo meet to announce Montreal as the home for the 19th franchise in Major League Soccer, operating under the branding of Montreal Impact with the plan of beginning play in 2012. Five years later, Montreal became the first Canadian side to knock out an often dominant Liga MX side (Pachuca) in the CONCACAF Champions League after winning thanks to away goals on a 3-3 aggregate. Montreal are also the only Canadian team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League Final, as they did in the 2015 season. However they failed to lift the trophy, losing to Liga MX side Club America 5-3 on aggregate. Montreal has three supporters’ groups, dating back to the NASL days of 2002 with “Ultras Montreal”. The Impact also have 127 Montreal and 1642 MTL. Montreal has Ottawa Fury FC (USL) as their official feeder club.
Look out for Part 2 tomorow as Aidan tells us about Thunder Bay Chill, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps and WSA Winnipeg.