Soccer is the new number one team sport in Canada. According to the Canadian Youth Sports Report, 767,000 children from ages 3-17 play organized soccer while only 531,000 play ice hockey.
Soccer is growing in Canada because it has evolved. The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) is set to launch the Canadian Premier League in April 2019. The hope is to increase both the popularity and the quality of the Canadian game.
Not only that but are three Canadian clubs (The Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps) competing in Major League Soccer (MLS).
If you look at the MLS attendance each season, there is a large attendance rate and a solid fan base because of how much love the fans have for the sport and their club.
From their first season in 2007 to their current season, Toronto FC’s attendance rate increased from 20,000 to 27,000. In 2017, the Toronto FC had an average attendance of 27,647 with a capacity of 30,000.
When Montreal came in the league in 2012 their attendance rate started at 18,000. Today they’re at 22,000.
Vancouver’s attendance is the best of the three clubs. In 2011 they were at 346,000 and in 2018, their attendance is at 364,000.
Soccer in Canada has hit another level.
The Montreal Impact and Toronto FC (two rivals) played an intense 2016 Eastern Conference Championship. The first leg in Montreal had an attendance of 61,004. In Toronto, at the BMO Field, it had an attendance rate of 36,000 which is a record for the stadium. That playoff series was considered one of the best in MLS Playoffs history.
Toronto FC were able to succeed in winning the MLS Cup last December at home. They became the first Canadian team to do so and they had an attendance rate of 30,584.
Canada’s women’s national team has always been better than the men’s national team, making it to the World Cup and the Summer Olympics more frequently than the men.
The Canadian women’s national soccer team made the World Cup in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. They made the Olympics in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.
The men made only qualified for the 1986 World Cup. They made the Olympics in only 1976 and 1984.
This made a lot people interested in the women’s game. Canada hosted the Women’s World Cup in 2015 and the attendance was strong. They had their best attendance with 54,027 people watching their quarter-final match against England. It was the best attendance of the whole tournament. You see the excitement that the Canadian fans would have, it would be loud, loud enough that you won’t hear yourself.
The women were able to book their tickets for the FIFA World Cup 2019 this summer in France against Panama.
Canada is one of three countries, including Mexico and the United States, to host the 2026 Men’s FIFA World Cup. The men have not played in a World Cup in a very long time, since 1986: their only appearance.
This is a chance for Canadian soccer fans to see their country play at home in the best sporting event in the world for the first time.
Canadian players on the rise include Alphonso Davies of the Vancouver Whitecaps, Johnathan Osorio of Toronto FC and Ballou Tabla of FC Barcelona B.
Davies is only 17 years old and he is on his way to play with one of the biggest clubs in soccer, Bayern Munich, who has signed a contract that runs until 2023.
Ballou Tabla is only 19 years old and is playing for the second team of FC Barcelona. With his amazing soccer skills and his IQ, he should be able to be on the first team soon.
Toronto FC’s Johnathan Osorio has been with the team since 2013, coming out of the academy team. Osorio is a little bit older at 26 but has proven himself to be a quality player. All his work has paid off and this year he is second in the team in scoring with 10. With his success this year he earned a new multi-year contract to stay. Canada Soccer is only beginning.
With the World cup coming in 2026, and young Canadian soccer players on the rise, soccer has become a Canadian sport.
Soccer used to be considered a European game. Now you see more kids want a soccer ball instead of a hockey stick.