Welcome 2019, the year everyone in Canadian soccer will associate with the Canadian Premier League; the first match, first champion, first season.
That said, 2018 made it possible.
Here’s how that foundation came together.
- Jan. 10: Clanachan named commissioner
- Jan. 14: Beirne named president
- Jan. 31: Easton named head of soccer ops
- April 26: CPL debuts league identity
The Canadian Premier League started strong in 2018.
Clanachan was named commissioner on Jan. 10, making the long-time business executive the face of the league.
The league unveiled its first emblem and visual identity in late April, opening the floodgates for what was to come.
- May 10: York9 FC joins CPL
- May 17: Cavalry FC joins CPL, names Wheeldon Jr. coach
- May 25: HFX Wanderers FC joins CPL
- May 31: CPL grants club for Vancouver Island
York9 FC paved the way with an historic announcement at Vaughan City Hall on May 10 as it became the first club announced to the public.
Cavalry FC joined York Region a week later with an announcement at their future home, Spruce Meadows. Tommy Wheeldon Jr. was named head coach, making him the first gaffer in club history.
The month ended with a quartet of clubs as league officials welcomed HFX Wanderers and Vancouver Island into the league.
- June 6: Valour FC joins CPL
- June 8: FC Edmonton joins CPL
- June 26: Rob Gale named Valour coach
- June 28: Stephen Hart named HFX coach
June picked up where May left off with more clubs joining the CPL.
Valour FC and FC Edmonton were confirmed as the fifth and sixth clubs, respectively.
Valour appointed Rob Gale as its first head coach on June 26. Former Canadian men’s national team head coach and Haligonian Stephen Hart joined HFX two days later.
- July 3: Jeff Paulus named FC Edmonton coach
- July 12: Forge FC joins CPL
- July 20: Pacific FC revealed
- July 27: Jimmy Brennan named York9 coach
With July came the seventh and final club of the inaugural CPL season: Forge FC.
Ownership introduced the club during a sprawling press conference at Tim Hortons Field.
FC Edmonton and York9 appointed head coaches in July, signing Jeff Paulus and Jimmy Brennan, respectively.
- Aug. 13: CPL appoints senior leadership
- Aug. 20: Silberbauer named Pacific coach
- Aug. 27: Open Trials announced
Pacific FC became the sixth club to name a manager and the first to appoint someone outside of Canada.
Michael Silberbauer, a former Danish international, was unveiled on Aug. 20.
The Canadian Premier League announced the #GotGame Open Trials in August, a series of nationwide trials, with stops in Halifax, Quebec, Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Alberta and Victoria.
- Sept. 4: Merriman joins Pacific as assistant coach
- Sept. 6: Bender named Pacific EVP
- Sept. 18: Nash, Santiago join Cavalry staff
- Sept. 20-21: Open Trials in Halifax
- Halifax Trials watchlist
- Sept. 21: CSB acquires Stadium Digital
- Sept. 27-28: Open Trials in Montreal
- Montreal Trials watchlist
- Sept. 28: Macron named official kit provider
Clubs started to flesh out their staff in September; James Merriman and Josh Bender set up shop on Vancouver Island and Martin Nash and Jordan Santiago did the same in Calgary.
Out east, the first #GotGame Open Trials began in Halifax, with former Canadian international Alex Bunbury leading the talent search. Bunbury and co. set up shop in Montreal a week later for the second Open Trials session.
In one of its biggest announcements to date, CPL officials revealed an agreement with Macron on Sept. 28, making the Italian apparel company the league’s official jersey supplier.
- Oct. 1-2: Open Trials in Hamilton
- Hamilton Trials watchlist
- Oct. 1: Smyrniotis named Forge coach
- Oct. 11-12: Open Trials in Toronto
- Toronto Trials watchlist
- Oct. 17: U SPORTS partnership announced
- Oct. 18-19: Open Trials in Winnipeg
- Winnipeg Trials watchlist
- Oct. 25-26: Open Trials in Calgary
- Calgary Trials watchlist
- Oct. 25: First look at York9 stadium plans
- Oct. 30: First look at HFX Wanderers Grounds
The #GotGame Open Trials continued east in October, hosting trialists in Hamilton, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Calgary.
Forge FC named Bobby Smyrniotis as its first head coach the day the Trials opened at Tim Hortons Field. Smyrniotis became the seventh and final head coach named by a CPL club.
On Oct. 17, the CPL announced a partnership with U SPORTS, the body overseeing Canadian university sports, and the creation of the CPL-U SPORTS Draft.
- Nov. 5-6: #GotGame Open Trials in Victoria
- Victoria Trials watchlist
- Nov. 7: Open Trials end
- Nov. 13: CPL-U SPORTS Draft announced
- Bitar taken first overall by Cavalry
- Nov. 14: CPL acquires League1 Ontario
- Nov. 19: ISBI & CPL agree to partnership
- Nov. 22: First look at Forge’s Tim Hortons Field
- Nov. 29: Inaugural player signings
- Nov. 30: First look at Pacific’s Westhills Stadium
November saw CPL clubs answer a much-asked question: When will clubs add their first players?
Results from the CPL-U SPORTS Draft were announced on Nov. 13. Cavalry FC selected 2nd-year Carleton striker Gabriel Bitar first overall.
The #GotGame Open Trials wrapped up following the final stop in Victoria.
On Nov. 29, CPL clubs unveiled their first players — a series of announcements that paved the way for roster building to be front and centre come January 2019.