2017 Top Canadian Soccer Clubs: Year End Edition

Elo-ratings to end of 2017. For information on how this is calculated, read our <a href="http://www.northernstartingeleven.com/2017-elo-ratings-the-new-starting-points-weights-and-math/">primer</a>
Elo-ratings to end of 2017. For information on how this is calculated, read our primer

2017 draws to an end tonight, and it’s important to look back on everything that was accomplished over the past year. There’s been a lot of soccer, and we’ve tracked 6 leagues, the Canadian Championship, and the US Open Cup in order to come to this point. With 1,933 matches in our records, we’re pretty confident that this is where the teams sit relative to one another through the 2017 year.

The Final Standings

Naturally, Toronto FC sits atop the pile. TFC is the first team to manage a treble in Canada/USA, earning themselves the Supporters Shield, the MLS Cup, and the Voyageur’s Cup. It will be interesting to see if this year is a blip, or if the Reds can continue their dominance through 2018. They’ll be competing in the Champions League in addition to the MLS and Canadian Championship, so there is a lot of pressure on the team.

Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact FC, Ottawa Fury FC, and Toronto FC II round out the top-5. Poor FC Edmonton are at the bottom of the 2nd-division, sitting only 59 points ahead of the PDL runner-up, Thunder Bay Chill. Similarly, WSA Winnipeg sat at the bottom of the PDL, and only 2 points ahead of the closest League1 Ontario side.

League1 Ontario managed to top the Division-3 teams as a result of some consolidation toward the end of their season and playoff, with Vaughan Azzurri, Oakville Blue Devils, Woodbridge Strikers, and Sigma FC all sitting within 3 points on the elo ratings. AS Blainville and CS Longueuil top out the Premier Ligue de Soccer du Quebec, although there is a 10-point gap between the two divisional heavyweights.

At the bottom, we have FC Gatineau for the PLSQ with 858 points, followed by Aurora United (854), Toronto Skillz (845) and ProStars FC (840) of L1O.

Folding Teams

So far, we’ve only heard of 3 teams folding. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 announced their dissolution first. The MLS-side is following the path of Montreal Impact, who shuttered their USL-side in 2016 in order to affiliate with another independent club (Ottawa for Montreal, Fresno for Vancouver).

FC Edmonton has also decided to throw in the towel. With the continuing struggles of the NASL, Edmonton could no longer afford to hold their breath for something better to step out of the shadows. Despite a blockbuster year at the ticket office, the performance and income just weren’t enough to keep pushing things along.

Finally, North Toronto Nitros was noticeably left off the list of approved clubs for League1 Ontario in 2018. There was no official announcement that the team had folded, but they’ve been stripped from the L1O website and left off the list of active teams. Shockingly, this was the only 3rd-division team to disappear this off-season, as there were several other teams that seemed on the edge (looking at you Aurora, Sanjaxx, Skillz & ProStars).

New Teams for 2018

I’m going to ignore the announced CanPL Teams, as it appears increasingly unlikely the league will run a season in 2018. That being said, there are additional teams that have been announced elsewhere in the Canadian Pyramid.

CS Fabrose was announced for the Premier Ligue de Soccer du Quebec. This brings the PLSQ to an all-time high of 8-teams. It also marks the league’s first year without losing any teams. Hopefully Fabrose will update their logo prior to getting kits done up for the 2018 PLSQ Season, but if not, at least it’s another team on the field. The PLSQ will also be fielding a 5-team women’s division, which is fantastic news for fans of the women’s game.

Three men’s sides were added to League1 Ontario: Alliance United Football Inc (team name TBD), Unionville Milliken SC, and Darby FC. The L1O Women’s side will be adding Hamilton United Elite and the Oakville Blue Devils.

How Will Elo Ratings Work in 2018?

As a result of this year’s results, I don’t see too many tweaks between 2017 & 2018 elo-ratings. There will be changes if the method/format of play changes. I also may choose to add in Champions League matches, now that they don’t span 2-years.

The starting points will remain as originally outlined in the primer (assuming USL maintains Division-2 status, which has yet to be determined by USSF). I will also begin to keep track of elo ratings cumulatively. This means both a 2018 elo rating, and a 2017-to-present elo rating. The reason for this is simple, with a larger sample size, the ratings are more accurate. I haven’t decided how I plan to display the dual-ratings, but once we have more details of what the pyramid will look like in 2018, I will issue a primer update.

The reporting frequency will also change in 2018. I found that bi-weekly reporting caused a lot of extra work with the accompanying article, for very little change in elo ratings. As a result, the elo ratings with analysis posts will now be issued monthly on the website. For those of you who would like to know the numbers more frequently, a $1 monthly donation on Patreon will get you access to weekly elo ratings updates.

That’s all from me for 2017. See you in the New Year!

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Shawn Gray

Shawn Gray

Shawn Gray is an experienced author who has previously published articles on transit, cycling & politics. With a Bachelor of Arts (English) degree, a Bachelor of Education degree, an Event Management graduate certificate, and two years of Business Administration, his education has helped him connect with a variety of people, through numerous industries. In 2014, he was a Team Lead in the Club Section of TD Place, where the Ottawa Fury host matches. Now located in Victoria, British Columbia, Gray enjoys the local PDL matches, and tries to watch his favourite clubs online with his infant son whenever possible.

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