A Guide to the Canadian Premier League in Football Manager 2024

The Canadian Premier League (CPL) is one of the newest professional leagues in world football. The inaugural season kicked off in 2019 and mere months later it made its virtual debut in FM20.

Managing in the CPL in FM24 is great fun. With eight teams in the league, you’ll be able to get to know your rivals faster and win those all-important league titles even quicker.

To help get you up to speed ahead of a career in Canada's top-flight, we've put together this guide covering the CPL's teams and league rules.

A Guide to the Canadian Premier League in Football Manager 2024

Atlético Ottawa
Previous CPL best: 2022 Canadian Premier League Shield winner
Star Player: Ollie Bassett

Atlético Ottawa were the first expansion team to join the league in 2020, and, as you may have guessed from the name, they have strong links to the Spanish capital.

Their first trophy came in 2022 when they impressively clinched the CPL Shield. They had the chance to add more silverware to their trophy cabinet the same season as they reached the CPL Final, but they fell short at the final hurdle.

In FM24, you’ll be taking over an impressive squad led by star midfielder Ollie Bassett and one of the league’s best goalkeepers Rayane Yesli.

Ollie Bassett

Cavalry FC
Previous CPL best: 2019 and 2023 Canadian Premier League Shield Winners, 2019 and 2023 North Star Cup runners up
Star Player: Daan Klomp

The second-most successful team in CPL history are Alberta’s own, Cavalry FC.

Twice regular season winners, Cavalry have been hugely consistent under the management of Tommy Wheeldon Jr.

They're yet to win the CPL Final though. With the Dutchman Daan Klomp in defence and prolific forwards William Akio and Myer Bevan up front, can you change things in FM24?

Cavalry FC

Forge FC
Previous CPL best: 2019, 2020, 2022 and 2023 North Star Cup Winners and 2021 Canadian Premier League Shield winner
Star Player: Kyle Bekker

The most successful team in CPL history, Forge FC are based in Hamilton, Ontario, and play their home matches at Tim Hortons Field.

In just five years, they’ve managed to lift the CPL trophy a remarkable four times – surely walking into a club with such a stacked trophy cabinet can only breed further success.

Forge have an impressive squad in FM24, highlighted by midfielder Kyle Bekker and the CPL's all-time leading appearance maker and goalscorer, Terran Campbell.

How much more can you achieve with the Hammers?

Forge FC Tactics

HFX Wanderers FC
Previous CPL best: 2020 North Star Cup runners-up
Star Player: Lorenzo Callegari

Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, HFX Wanderers are the most-easterly of the CPL's eight teams. In a previous life, Halifax was a thriving port hub, which is something the club honours by utilising storage containers in their stadium design.

HFX have developed a strong fan base and had the highest average attendance in the CPL during the 2023 campaign. They haven't been able to deliver the silverware those passionate fans crave though, only qualifying for the play-offs twice in five seasons.

Lorenzo Callegari will be your main source of attack when you take over in FM24 but also watch out for defender Dan Nimick who had a breakthrough season in 2023.


Pacific FC
Previous CPL best: 2021 North Star Cup Winners
Star Player: Ayman Sellouf

From the most-easterly club in the CPL to the most-westerly in British Columbia's own Pacific FC.

Alongside Forge FC, the Tridents are the only other club to have lifted the coveted CPL play-offs trophy.

While Pacific's trips to Halifax require a 4.5 million mile round-trip, they've also got a new rival closer to home to worry about with the recent arrival of Vancouver FC.

With Ayman Sellouf and captain Josh Heard leading the line, your task will be to dominate those rivals before getting back to the top of Canadian football.

Pacific FC

Valour FC
Previous CPL best: 5th in regular season, 2021 and 2022
Star Player: Kian Williams

Based in the city of Winnipeg, Valour are a unique club because they're the only community-owned side in the CPL.

One thing they're less proud of is their CPL record so far - they're yet to make the play-offs and their best regular season finish is fifth.

Their squad for the 2024 campaign looks stronger and is headlined by English attacker Kian Williams - have you got what it takes to lead them to title contention?

Valour FC

Vancouver FC
Previous CPL best: 7th in regular season, 2023
Star Player: Gabriel Bitar

The most recent addition to the league, Vancouver FC are FM24's most popular CPL team.

Having constructed their stadium in record time, Vancouver began play during the 2023 season but weren't able to achieve a miracle play-off spot on debut - they ended the campaign 7th.

During the off-season they've made a big splash in the transfer market, signing former CPL Golden Boot winner Alejandro Diaz to lead the line and Kadin Chung to offer quality in the full-back positions. Ben Fisk, meanwhile, made league history by joining a record fifth different CPL team.

Adding these exciting new signings to promising young players like James Cameron, this is your chance as the new manager to write your own story and stamp your style on a team in its infancy.

Vancouver FC

York United FC
Previous CPL best: 3rd in regular season, 2019
Star Player: Mo Babouli

Calling the city of Toronto their home, York United FC have been part of the CPL since the beginning. However, they're the only team in the league to have changed their name, as they were initially called York9.

Their biggest rivals are Forge FC - the pair share the same area code, the 905, so state pride is on the line every time they meet.

Although their trophy cabinet is currently empty, York United have developed a reputation for using and developing young talent better than anyone else. With that track record behind you and a new ownership group promising big things, it seems like you'll have all the tools to start winning the bragging rights in Ontario and the CPL more widely.

Mo Babouli


Here’s how the league works...

Like several North American sports, the CPL is split between a regular-season and end-of-season play-offs.  During the regular season, each team plays the other seven teams four times, resulting in a total of 28 games.

Following the conclusion of the regular season, the top five teams in the league standings qualify for the playoffs. The top two teams advance straight to the Semi-Final stage, fighting it off for a place in the final. The teams that finished in the positions third to fifth then play out a mini-playoff series.

The other two quarter-finalists are determined by a pair of matches between the teams that finished third to fifth. Fourth play fifth, with the winner then taking on the team that came third. The winner of that match enters the Play-Off Semi-Final, where they face the loser of the first semi-final between the teams who came first and second to try and secure that spot in the Final.

In addition to the Regular Season and CPL playoffs, you’ll also have the chance to take on thirteen other Canadian teams in the Canadian Championship – which includes the three Canadian MLS teams. Whether you enjoy success in the league or the Championship, there are also roots for you to compete in the Champions Cup, against some of North America's finest teams.

While the CPL is independently owned and not comprised of franchises, it does have a salary cap of $700k for the 2024 season that you'll need to adhere to.

Like MLS, you must submit a roster where you can have no more than twenty-three players, but no less than nineteen.

CPL sides can only have a maximum of seven international players in their roster and only five of those can be included in your playing XI in FM24.

One of the league’s key goals is to increase and promote development in players from Canada, so you must have a minimum of three Canadian players on your roster under the age of 21. During the season, they must play at least 2,000 minutes combined. If this requirement is not met, you will be fined by the league and, more importantly, will not be eligible for the CPL Playoffs.

Like other North American leagues, the league also has a draft for acquiring young players from university. Each team may pick up to two players from each round of the draft. Teams pick in the order of their final standings from the previous season, including play-off exits.

CPL Draft

From scouting local talent to navigating the intricacies of league rules and regulations, managing in the CPL presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Whether you're leading a perennial powerhouse or a plucky underdog, your decisions will shape the future of your club and leave a lasting impact on Canadian soccer.

As you take the reins and lead your team to glory, remember to embrace the spirit of the game, foster a winning culture, and above all, enjoy the ride. With dedication, strategy, and a bit of luck, you can conquer the Canadian Premier League and etch your name in footballing history. Let us know how you get on our social channels @FootballManager.


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