They don’t call it a simulation for a reason. That’s why we took Football Manager 20 and its latest Canadian Premier League update and put it to the test. What would this version of the CPL look like in 50 years? Who becomes the league’s top team? What trends emerge? What about the Canadian men's team? RELATED READING: 5 things to watch for in Football Manager 20's CPL database Of course, this experiment doesn’t include expansion, overly detailed careers of players, or big world-shifting news that can change a nation's soccer landscape like it promises to do here. What it does do, however, is give us a glimpse into the future.
Herdman reigns for decades, Canada becomes World Cup regular

Get ready for the reign of John Herdman. This Football Manager save has the Canadian men’s national team boss holding the position for nearly 20 years, eventually being sacked after failing to qualify for the 2038 World Cup (more on that later). His next two successors? Current Cavalry FC defender Mason Trafford, followed by current FC Edmonton defender Allan Zebie. Weird, right? Herdman’s first success came in 2023 with a Concacaf Gold Cup title. He came close to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, too, losing to Colombia in the intercontinental playoff. But 2026 is what you’re here to read about. Let me tell you, it was special. Canada advanced out of their three-team group against Russia and New Zealand before taking down the mighty Netherlands 1-0 in the knockout round. Russell Teibert scored the lone goal for Canada, who would drop out of the tournament against Portugal. From there, the Canadian program grew and grew. Les Rouges made all but two World Cup over 50 years, though they would only advance from the group once more after 2026. That 2020s squad would make a massive impact on the Canadian program as a whole; the team hit an all-time high of 29th in FIFA World Rankings, Jonathan David still stands as Canada’s greatest goalscorer with 91, and Samuel Piette set a record with 171 caps.
FC Edmonton becomes the one to beat

In 2070, HFX Wanderers FC snaps FC Edmonton’s streak of three-straight CPL titles – a record for most consecutive championships – with a 4-2 aggregate with over Cavalry FC (the Eddies were a point away from joining HFX in the final). By then, the Wanderers and FC Edmonton emerged as the league’s perennial favourites, with the previous eight finals featuring either side. The Eddies had the advantage, though, taking 13 titles to HFX's 11. Looking closer, the Eddies won the 2020 title with a 6-1 aggregate win over York9 FC. RELATED READING: A supporter's 2,000-hour journey to bring CPL to Football Manager Cavalry captured just five North Star Shields over the half-century. Former CanMNT coach Frank Yallop led the Cavs to their first title in 2021 (the next wouldn’t come until a successful streak in the 2040s). In a strange bit of foreshadowing from 2019, Cavalry finished runners-up 13 times. Pacific FC had to wait the longest for championship glory when, in 2034, the Tridents claimed their first title in their 16th season (FC Edmonton won five titles in the same span, by the way). They were in the midst of a similar spell by 2070 after not reaching the final for 15 years. York9 proved the least successful of the seven clubs by winning four titles and only reaching the Finals twice between 2050 and 2070. Forge held the honour for the longest stretch between championships. Hamiltonians had to wait an agonizing 23 years before 2061 when Forge won their fifth championship.
CPL trends young as attendances grow

Two trends emerge from this experiment: The Canadian Premier League will get bigger and younger. Average attendances slowly climb to 11,800 per match in 2019. Save for the Tim Hortons Field-bound Forge FC, each club has moved into new stadiums with capacities in the 10,000s. RELATED READING: 4 CPL saves you should try in Football Manager 2020 Players get increasingly younger, too. A 27-year-old Wanderers defender from Saanich, B.C. named Dave Webb was the oldest player in the 2069 CPL season, much younger than a 41-year-old Adrian Cann who set the record in 2022 for York9. In terms of records from 2019, only one stands 50 years later – Cavalry FC’s 8-0 "largest win" over Valour FC on Labour Day. A 6-0 win from Pacific FC over, ahem, Valour is the closest any team came.
CanChamp, continental success left wanting

Outside the CPL, these seven clubs have been less than successful. By 2070, no CPL club has won the Canadian Championship. Only twice have Valour FC and HFX Wanderers finished runners-up. Continentally, there’s even less to shout about. CPL sides failed to advance past the first round of the Concacaf Champions League through 19 attempts. Yep, that's right: 0-19. The league itself, however, has seen its standing grow, becoming the third-most reputable in North America behind Liga MX and Major League Soccer.
Mason Trafford and Chicharito emerge as top domestic managers

The Canadian managerial merry-go-round moved fast in 50 years, with a few familiar names swapping places. At Valour, former Pacific FC coach Michael Silberbauer and Julian de Guzman managed the club before none other than Mexican striker Javier Hernández, also known as Chicharito, helped the Winnipeg club capture its first championship in 2029. Chicharito went on to Pacific FC and FC Edmonton where he won six titles in the decade, becoming the all-time winningest CPL coach. Current Cavalry defender Mason Trafford (who, as mentioned, succeeded Herdman as Canada coach) headed up five CPL clubs, which appears to be a record. Former HFX Wanderers midfielder Kouamne Ouattara had a decent managerial career, too, winning four titles with Edmonton and the Wanderers. Oh, and one more fun thing, In Edmonton, hometown hero Alphonso Davies (who scored 52 goals over 124 caps for Canada) took the Eddies coaching job in 2037 to turn the club around. He was sacked a year later after winning only five games. Just as Chicharito, he would move on to greener pastures with HFX Wanderers, winning two titles in the 2040s.

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