Quebec official Raymond Bachand, franchise owner Joey Saputo, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Montreal official Richard Deschamps snap a photo at a press conference last Friday (Photo by Richard Wolowicz, Getty Images).
Canadian Franchise will be 19th Team in MLS
Montreal, Canada (Monday, May 10, 2010) – Major League Soccer, which is the largest professional soccer league in North America, has announced that its 19th member club will be placed in the City of Montreal. The expansion franchise will begin play in 2012 at Saputo Stadium, bringing the number of Canadian teams in the league to three clubs.
"We are proud to welcome Montreal, the second largest French-speaking city in the world and a multicultural metropolis whose residents are deeply passionate about the world's game, to Major League Soccer," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said of the expansion. "(MLS Montreal owner) Joey Saputo and his family are a committed ownership group that truly loves the game and will provide extensive knowledge to MLS based on their years of involvement in the sport. We believe that both Saputo Stadium and Olympic Stadium will provide a world-class soccer environment for supporters in Montreal and throughout the province of Quebec."
Saputo serves as the face of the ownership group for the Montreal franchise, and his family brings 30 years of experience within the game of soccer to MLS. His family company, which goes simply by their last name, produces dairy products and other items in the food industry. The group was a sponsor of the Montreal Manic when the team played in the original North American Soccer League (NASL), and he also owned the Montreal Impact, winners of three league championships in the United Soccer Leagues’ First Division. The Impact is currently playing in the newly reformed NASL.
"I've always said this was no longer a question of if, but rather a question of when. Well, I'm pleased to say that when is finally here, and it's about time," Saputo stated. "Montreal will finally have the soccer it deserves - a major league team for a major league city.”
When the Montreal expansion side begins playing its home matches at Saputo Stadium, the facility will be expanded to 20,000 seats from its current capacity of just over 13,000. A significant amount of the funding for the expansion of Saputo Stadium will come from the Canadian government, with the total cost of the project sitting in the range of $40M.
MLS Montreal is currently seeking season ticket inquiries for its 2012 debut, and information about the team will be filtered through its official website at www.mlsmontreal2012.com.