MONTREAL, May 31, 2023 – BMO and CF Montréal announced today that both organizations are taking another step forward in advancing gender equity in sports by introducing a women's program to the CF Montréal Academy.
As the Bank of Soccer, and inspired by its Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is investing in partnerships to help grow the game across North America and eliminate barriers to inclusion.
The fundamental objective of the program and its sport-study component is to allow student-athletes striving for athletic excellence to achieve the best possible balance between their athletic and academic pursuits. It also aims to feed the national youth team pipeline and to elevate players to professional environments.
“This partnership between BMO and the CF Montréal Academy will contribute significantly to the advancement of gender equity in soccer,” said Grégoire Baillargeon, President, BMO, Quebec. “We’re committed to eliminating barriers to inclusion and we believe this new partnership between BMO and CF Montréal will help inspire thousands of young women to reach their full potential on and off the field.”
The Club is taking over the Women’s Excel Program (WEP), a Soccer Québec national development centre that brings together the best 15 to 18-year-old women players in the province.
The players will train and play their matches in Club uniforms featuring the BMO logo, which makes BMO the jersey partner of all CF Montréal teams. These players will benefit from the sporting resources of the CF Montréal Academy. They will also benefit from the additional platform and visibility offered by the Club as a leader in the Quebec and Canadian soccer landscape. The aim is to enable these players to showcase their talents and achievements on the national and international scene, by enhancing the pathway offered by Soccer Québec.
BMO has been a CF Montréal partner since 2012 and will now take on an expanded role as a founding partner of the CF Montréal Academy. BMO has demonstrated its commitment to gender equity through its partnership with Ontario Soccer where BMO is supporting over 100,000 girls and women through new gender equity and empowerment initiatives, and through its sponsorship of Angel City FC, the largest women-led ownership group in professional sports.
CF Montréal’s strategy for growing women's soccer is based on three pillars: developing tomorrow’s talent, shining a light on women's soccer and inspiring a new generation of leaders.
“This is incredible news and a wonderful advancement for women's soccer. I would like to thank BMO for its support over so many years for both the Club and the next generation of players,” said Gabriel Gervais, President and CEO of CF Montréal. “Quebec is home to a pool of highly talented women players. By launching this girls program, we want to offer these players the best path to a professional career and help them achieve their dreams. We also want to develop good citizens through the sport-study programs, empowering them with good education, while transmitting the Club’s values. This project aligns with our organization’s mission to give back to the community through sports, as the Saputo family has been doing so well for 30 years.”
BMO will support the Club in this strategy and joint initiatives will be launched later this summer. Notably, there will be a week dedicated to women's soccer from July 10 to 15, with the goal of highlighting women in sport and raising public awareness of the work that still needs to be done to ensure gender parity and promote the sport among young women. The week will conclude with a special evening at Stade Saputo during the match against Charlotte FC, presented by BMO. CF Montréal and BMO also aim to host the final of the Ligue1 Québec Women's Cup in its facilities to allow as many people as possible to attend a women's soccer match, as well as a Women’s All-Star Game as it did in 2022.
About the Women's Excel Program
Based in Laval, under the responsibility of Soccer Québec, the Women’s Excel Program represents one of three Excel Super Centres in Canada. The National Centres bring together the best 15- to 18-year-old players in the country to offer them an elite intra-squad environment with the aim of developing a greater number of players of international calibre. The fundamental objective of the program and its sport-study component is to allow student-athletes striving for athletic excellence to achieve the best possible balance between their athletic and academic pursuits. It also aims to feed the national youth team pipeline or to elevate players to professional environments. Players entering the program must have the desire and potential to one day play at the professional level.
About BMO Financial Group
BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.25 trillion as of April 30, 2023. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to over 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future and inclusive society.
About CF Montréal
Founded in 1992, and having completed its first season in 1993, CF Montréal is a professional soccer club that has been playing in Major League Soccer since 2012. It has won the Canadian Championship five times (2008, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2021), and has also reached the Concacaf Champions League final in 2015, as well as the competition’s quarterfinals in 2009 and 2022. CF Montréal plays its home games at Stade Saputo, a 19,619-seat soccer-specific venue, and on some occasions at the Montreal Olympic Stadium.
In 2010, the organization created the CF Montréal Academy, a soccer training centre that brings together more than 70 players aged 14 to 20. CF Montréal was the first professional club in North America to offer a sport-study program. The Club's development structure also includes the U13 and U14 Pre-Academy teams. The Club’s partners (CIP) and regional programs also allow it to reach nearly 1,000 additional players from U8 to U12.
Through the Montreal Impact Foundation, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, CF Montréal remains highly involved in the community. Its mission is to organize and support activities to improve the quality of life of children and families from underprivileged backgrounds. It also provides sports facilities to promote physical activity and social integration.