In a pretty surprising piece of news this morning, the Canadian Premier League has announced that they've acquired one of the top developmental leagues in Canada, League 1 Ontario.
The league, which had 17 men's teams and 13 women's reams across the province this past season, has been one of the highest available levels for young Canadian players, especially those playing at U Sports organizations during the fall (including some players drafted yesterday by CPL clubs). Toronto FC have had affiliations with L1O clubs as well, with Toronto FC III taking part in the league and several other teams, including FC London and Windsor TFC, sporting the Reds’ colours due to a partnership with the MLS club.
L1O has been around since 2014, and it's served as a summer development league for a lot of current professional players, including Cyle Larin, Raheem Edwards, and Canadian women's national team keeper Stephanie Bukovec.
It's unclear what exactly the relationship between the two leagues will be, although it's possible that L1O could serve as a kind of USL or, more aptly, PDL, for the Canadian Premier League's first clubs. It will certainly be another source of young Canadian talent, regardless.
Whether or not the CPL is pursuing other development leagues in Canada, like Quebec's PLSQ, will be seen in the coming months, but after this news it would not be a surprise.