CPL Enters a New Era With the 2023 Schedule Release

Atletico Ottawa vs York United as CPL Enters a New Era as Defending Regular Season Champions

The Canadian Premier League has announced a full schedule release for the 2023 season which is the league’s 5th season anniversary. In addition to a full schedule release, the league has also confirmed multiple changes to the regular season. It will be CPL Commissioner Mark Noonan’s first full season in charge after he took over mid-way last season.

CPL Enters a New Era and Releases its 2023 Schedule with 112 Regular-Season Matches

Eight Teams Coast to Coast Set to Play 28 Matches Each

With the unfortunate news of FC Edmonton folding, the number of teams will stay the same despite the addition of Vancouver FC. Per the CPL release, each team will play the other seven teams home and away twice this season. An interesting tidbit about the schedule is the cutback of the number of midweek games. The fifth year of CPL action will feature just 11 midweek matches as opposed to last season’s 22.

Mirroring the last regular season, the CPL season will run from April to October.

CPL Regular Season Winners Will Receive a Concacaf Champions League Berth

In September 2021, CONCACAF announced the expansion of its premier continental competition, the CONCACAF Champions League. A further announcement in 2022 revealed that the winners of the CPL, starting in 2023, would be awarded a CCL spot.  The CPL playoff champions will also receive a CCL spot. The CPL announced in September of 2022 that they will start awarding the regular season winners with a financial prize. Starting this season, the regular season champions will receive a trophy honouring their accomplishment. A date for the trophy unveiling should come in the near future.

Rivalries Renewed and a New Team Entering the Fray, the Upcoming Season Should Be Full of Shocks and Surprises

Atletico Ottawa Will Look To Be Back-To-Back Regular Season Winners

After being credited with winning the 2022 regular season, even without an official trophy, the Spanish-owned club will be looking to make it consecutive years with a title. The club came just short of winning a playoff title, losing to Forge in the final at home. As reported by Last Word on Soccer, Ottawa announced last week that CPL MVP Nominee, Ballou Tabla, had completed a transfer to Turkish side Manisa F.K.

Atletico Ottawa kicks their season off on April 15th at TD Stadium where they will host HFX Wanderers.

Cavalry FC Will Look To Get Over Playoff Woes

In four seasons, the Calgary-based side has yet to miss the playoffs but has also not won a playoff title yet. They will surely be gunning to finally exercise their playoff demons and earn themselves a CCL spot. Cavalry FC has made multiple notable moves this off-season including signing international Jesse Daley and re-signing PFA President Marco Carducci.

Cavalry FC is set to start their season on the road in Hamilton when they take on Forge FC on April 15th. Their home opener will be on the 23rd of April when they face Pacific FC at Clarke Stadium.

Forge FC Will Look To Keep the Good Times Rolling at Tim Hortons Field

The most decorated CPL team to date, Forge FC are current CPL champions having defeated Atletico Ottawa in the final. The club has won the playoff championship a total of three times and impressively have made the final in every season so far. Head Coach Bobby Smyrniotis and the club run a pretty tight ship in regard to signings. So unsurprisingly they have yet to announce anyone new but have re-signed goalkeeper Triston Henry to a new deal and have seen Daniel Krutzen leave the club to join Phoenix Rising in the USL Championship. The team made history last year by being the first-ever CPL team to play a game in the Concacaf Champions League.

Forge FC’s home opener will be against Cavalry FC on April 15th.

HFX Wanderers Look To Take the Next Step Under New Head Coach

Halifax relieved former Trinidad and Tobago international Stephen Hart from his coaching duties after the club finished 7th last season. His replacement is Vaughn Azzuri’s Patrice Gheisar who will look to turn the club around this season. The Wanderers have made multiple signings as a part of their off-season rebuild. The club signed former PSG youth academy product Lorenzo Callegari and NCAA midfielder Callum Watson.

Halifax’s first match this season will be away to Ottawa on April 15th while their home opener will be on April 29th when they host Vancouver FC.

Pacific FC Enters the Season With New Local Rivals

After winning the 2021 CPL Playoffs, Pacific FC was knocked out of last year’s playoffs in the semi-finals against Atletico Ottawa. Losing Alejandro Diaz mid-season effectively took the club down a step in terms of championship hopes. The club has signed forwards Adonijah Reid and Ayman Sellouf ahead of next season to help reinforce their attack.

Pacific FC hosts the first match of the CPL regular season at Starlight Stadium against geographical rivals Vancouver FC, on April 14th.

Valour FC Will Have a Fresh Look After Losing Key Players in the Off-Season.

Valour missed the playoffs last season by a nine-point margin despite finishing 5th in the table. The Winnipeg-based club lost both striker Moses Dyer and defender Brett Levis to USL Championship side FC Tulsa. The club has added Jordan international Jaime Siaj and Englishmen Kian Williams.

Valour will open its season on the road on the 16th of April as they face York United. Valour’s home opener will be April 22nd as they take on Atletico Ottawa.

Vancouver FC Set for Debut CPL Season

Vancouver will be the newest CPL side as the club was completely unveiled in November of last year. Former Iran Men’s National Team Manager, Afshin Ghotbi, will be the club’s first-ever head coach. The club has already made their first seven signings and of course, has many more to come between now and the start of the regular season. Vancouver will play at Willoughby Community Park in Langley. 

Vancouver’s inaugural game will be against Pacific FC in Victoria on April 14th. The first CPL game to be played in Langley will be May 7th between Vancouver and Cavalry.

York United Completes Roster Transformation Ahead of the New Season

Last but certainly not least in regards to an exciting off-season, York United have made multiple changes to their roster. Ronan Kratt has departed on loan to Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, where he will join up with the U23 side. York also saw Dominick Zator leave the club to move to the Polish top flight. The club has added forward Brian Wright from fellow CPL side Atletico Ottawa and former Canadian U20 international Clement Bayiha.

York will host Valour at York Lions Stadium to begin the season on April 16th.

As the league celebrates year five, there will be a large focus on the growth of the league as Canadian soccer continues into a new era.

READ MORE: CPL and MLS: The growing relationship with Canadian MLS teams


Photo Credit: Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography/CPL on October 09, 2022.