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The Ontario Cup, the Provincial Soccer Championship, is the largest Club competition of its kind in Canada. One of the oldest sporting events in the country, the Ontario Cup was first staged in 1901 and has operated continuously, with the exception of the World War II period and during the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020. The 2021 Ontario Cup will mark the 105th year of the Competition.
Each year, 12,000 athletes from all across the province compete for the Championship. The competition commences in May, with more than 600 teams drawn into either a Knock-Out round or a Round-Robin style tournament.
The Ontario Cup Tournament culminates with the Final Round, usually, being hosted at the Soccer Centre in Vaughan, Ontario, with the added prize of a National Club Championship in the U-15's, U-17s, Men's and Women's divisions. The Ontario Cup is classified under LTPD as a “Soccer For Life” competition.
The dates for the 105th edition of the 2021 Ontario Cup have been posted and are available on the Ontario Soccer website.
With the ever-evolving changes to the COVID-19 situation, Ontario Soccer is planning for a 2021 Ontario Cup similar to other years, however, there may be a need for flexibility and potential modifications to the competition structure, as time progresses.
Ontario Soccer’s priority is, of course, participant safety and ensuring that the competition is in alignment with the Government of Ontario restrictions and directives.
A new format was developed for the 2020 Ontario Cup that would ensure all teams entering the Ontario Cup in the U-13 to U-17 age divisions would be scheduled for a minimum of two games, while continuing to address the concerns of player safety including playing three games in three days and extensive player travel. The new format will give all of the teams, the Ontario Cup tournament experience leading into a Third Round, Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Cup Finals.
The Ontario Cup Preliminary Round has been eliminated. All teams will start their Ontario Cup journey in the Tournament Round. However, some Tournament Round groups will consist of a 3-Team Round Robin and some will consist of a 4-Team Round Robin. The winning teams will advance to the Ontario Cup Third Round or Quarter-Final Round. The addition of the Third Round (Round of 16), will also mean that there is potential for more than one team to advance out of a Round Robin Group.
As the 2020 Ontario Cup did not take place, this new format will be introduced in 2021.
Two new divisions were added to the line-up as a pilot project for the 2020 Ontario Cup. Since the Ontario Cup did not take place in 2020, this pilot project will begin in 2021. These new divisions are the U-16 Boys District Division and the U-16 Girls District Division. These two divisions will be open to any competitively registered team in the Province that is not playing in a Regional League.
The purpose of these divisions is to provide an Ontario Cup experience for teams that play at the District level and do not feel they can compete with the teams in Regional Leagues. Teams may appreciate the diversity of playing similar level teams from other Districts in a higher-level of competition.
The Ontario Cup Tournament Host Application Form for the 2021 Ontario (Outdoor) Cup is now available on the Ontario Soccer Website.
The deadline for Clubs and Academies to submit the application to their District Association is February 3, 2021.
The Competitions Management Committee will be meeting in February to approve the applications that have been submitted through the District Associations. Therefore, District Associations are asked to forward the applications they receive by no later than February 12, 2021, so they can be compiled.
As noted above, in 2021 the Ontario Cup Tournament Hosts will only be required to host one 4-team group, or one 3-team group, however, there are specific time periods set out that Hosts will have to schedule games in. These details will be outlined on the Tournament Host Application Form.
If you have questions, please contact Robyn McComb, Ontario Soccer Senior Manager, Competitions.
How do I stay connected to Ontario Soccer?
For further information please refer to the latest bulletins on the COVID-19 Updates page, which has all the latest information from Ontario Soccer, as well as resources for your members. Please consider placing a dedicated link to the COVID-19 Updates on the homepage on your website.