Why Is Soccer Gaining Popularity in Canada?

Over the past decade, soccer in Canada has developed remarkably. Yes, they have their national league which was launched in 2019, but the best clubs from CA, Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps, play in the MLS league in the United States. As MLS attendance is rising each year, and those Canadian clubs are competing there, Canadian Premier League does not yet offer the same level of competition that those three teams experience in the MLS.

Is Soccer Growing in Canada?

There is no doubt that soccer is a new number one sport in Canada, and as the youth scouts report, 767 000 children from 3 to 17 are playing organized soccer, while only 531 000 play ice hockey.

Toronto FC’s first soccer season was in 2007, and until today their attendance rate is increasing with each game. With Montreal joining the league in 2012 their attendance rate was similar to Toronto FC, and it is also growing each year. Since the attendance of those two soccer clubs usually ranges from 20 000 to 30 000 people, a new record being set in 2013 when Vancouver joined the MLS was a surprise. The rate of Vancouver attendance increased by 5 percent each year from 2011.

More than 2.7 million Canadians play soccer regularly at more than 1450 clubs over the 12 different regions. Canada hosted the Women’s World Cup in soccer, and that is one of the major contributory factors as all of the games were well attended. As the attendance was high, people from Canada and all across the globe, especially Polish bettors, were placing wagers at different bookshops and online betting sites, including casino. Moreover, it is recorded that more than 54 000 people watched the hosts play against England in the quarter-finals.

Is Soccer Becoming More Popular Than Hockey?

Ice Hockey is still the number one sport in Canada. NHL hockey league consists of seven teams, which include Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames as the best known. In 2018, 68% of Canadians watched the NHL playoffs. It is likely that the remaining 32% were searching for their ideal betting experience, so they could wager on their preferred team and conveniently pay with Interac.

The Canadian hockey national team has eight Winter Olympic gold medals, which is more than any other nation. That is why millions of people are attracted whenever they play a match. 

Even though TV viewership for soccer is growing each day, it cannot compete with the number of hockey viewers yet. 

Soccer History in Canada

The first soccer game ever played in Canada was held in 1859 between St. George’s Society and Irishmen. In 1862 in New Westminster and 1865 in Victoria, soccer matches took place. Later in 1877, the Dominion Football Association was established as the first league outside the country where the sport originated, The British Isles. 

The first local book about the game was published two years later. As the game spread slowly across the provinces, local associations were formed. The Western Football Association in 1880, Manitoba in 1896m Ontario in 1901, and Saskatchewan in 1905. The first professional game was played five years later between the Callies and Rovers.

How Does the Future Look for Soccer in Canada? 

Canadian soccer is set to have a bright future, as the country will be one of the co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup, along with Mexico and the United States. Even though the men’s national team hasn’t enjoyed the same level as the women’s national team, they have qualified for the World Cup in 1986 and also made the Olympics twice. Anyway, this will most likely change in five years as the sport will get a boost in popularity in this country. The whole world will be able to enjoy the soccer games there, as Canada is one of the Cup hosts.


With the Canadian soccer history and the plans for the future, there is no doubt that this sport has been gaining popularity over the years. NHL is still the leading sport in this country, but with Canadian citizens getting more interested in soccer each day, there is a big chance that soccer will overtake hockey when it comes to popularity. 

Written by Balachandran B

Co-founder & Head of Operations @ SoccerSouls Sports Network. Nick Name: Jin. Favorite Sports team: Arsenal
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