14 February 2024

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A New Era: A Bluffer’s Guide to the L1ON Women’s soccer structure

This year sees big change across League1 Ontario as the competition raises its stakes.

Alliance celebrate winning trophy

League1 Ontario will be structured differently in 2024 with the implementation of promotion and relegation in both the men’s and women’s game.

Here’s a look specifically at how the women’s pyramid will work this year.


  • No postseason to decide the league champions in Premier and Championship
  • Automatic promotion from Championship and League2
  • Automatic relegation from Premier and Championship
  • Playoff game for promotion and relegation between Premier and Championship

The divisions

The Women’s Premier is the top flight in the League1 Ontario pyramid, and at the moment, the highest-ranked operating women’s league in Canada. This league features the top 10 teams from the Road to 2024 league table, which factors in points from the last two previous seasons. The 10 remaining teams make up the second tier, the Women’s Championship.

Women’s League2 is the third tier, consisting of ‘B teams’ from Premier and Championship clubs, in addition to ‘A’ teams such as St Catharines Roma Wolves and Master’s FA. This tier will be split into regional conferences.

Each team will play every other team in their respective division/conference both at home and on the road. In the Premier and Championship, the team that is top of their table once all matches have been played will be crowned champions; there will be no playoffs to determine the title winners. The Premier victors will also gain a berth to represent Ontario in the following League1 Canada Women’s Inter-Provincial Championship.

Due to League2 being split into two conferences, there will be playoffs between the top two teams in each conference to determine the overall third-tier champion.

The new Reserve League replaces the former U19 Reserve Division to become an exclusively U20 competition, and will be split into regional conferences with the overall champions decided via playoffs. It is not part of the pyramid ladder, so teams cannot be promoted from or relegated into this division.

Promotion and relegation

The Championship team that are crowned champions will automatically be promoted to the Premier, while the team at the bottom of the Premier standings will be automatically relegated to the Championship – a direct swap with between the best and worst sides.

This will also happen between the second and third tiers, with the winner of the League2 Final replacing the 10th-placed team in the Championship who will be automatically relegated.

The playoff twist

Promotion and relegation does not finish there. The team that finishes second from bottom (ninth) in the Premier will face the second-placed team in the Championship in an all-or-nothing game for a place in the top tier in 2025.

There will be no promotion playoff between the Women’s Championship and Women’s League2.

“We can’t wait.”

Chris Keem, League1 Ontario’s Operations Manager, has expressed his excitement for the start of the new campaign.

“It’s been 24 months since we first publicly announced our plans for promotion and relegation, and now that it’s almost here, we can’t wait for the competition to begin.

“A lot of work went into bringing this exciting format, that’s loved by soccer fans across the world, to Canadian shores, and I’d like to thank everybody who has had an impact in making it possible, including all our clubs who have been supportive of this change.

“There are at least two targets for clubs to gain promotion to the tier above, which rewards the best teams in each division across the whole season. The home and away factor will see more rivalries, the playoff games give teams an opportunity for redemption, and we hope fans will be kept on the edge of their seats all the way through the campaign.”

Published On: 14 February 2024

League1 Ontario staff