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Montreal to Join MLS in 2012

 

It’s official.

Montreal will be joining MLS in 2012,and as you can see in the video above, their part-time home, Saputo Stadium, is set for a $23 million upgrade.

“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 Friday.

Joey Saputo, owner of the Impact, announced plans to add 7,000 seats to Saputo Stadium, raising its capacity to 20,000.

He’s also excited to be joining Major League Soccer.

“I’ve always said this is no longer a question of ‘if,’ but of ‘when,’” Saputo said. “I can finally say ‘when’ is here, and it’s about time. … The arrival of MLS in Montreal is nothing short of a revolution for our city and our soccer fans.

“I believe the structure we already have in place—the support, the fans, the stadium, the following—will allow us to hit the gound running in 2012. Just like we intend to compete on the field with the best clubs in MLS, we know that our fans will compete in the stands with the likes of Seattle or Toronto.”

So, are you excited, too?

Montreal will be the 19th franchise in 2012. Will there be a 20th?

And who should that be?

Don’t be surprised if there is more expansion news on the horizon.

This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, Major League Soccer, MLS and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Montreal to Join MLS in 2012

  1. Johnathan says:

    It’s great to see that the MLS continues to expand and grow. I would love to see a team expansion here in the south though. I live in the Florida Panhandle and the closest team near by is the Houston Dynamo. I think that Birmingham, Miami, Orlando, and Atlanta would all be great places to have a team here in the? south. New Orleans would be a dream since it’s the closest major city near me.

  2. Michael says:

    Why oh why do people insist on putting the worst possible music to YouTube videos?

    And it’s not exactly Red Bull Arena, huh? In Montreal terms, it’s basically Jarry Park for soccer.

  3. Tom says:

    Exciting. Should be a success.

    I have no idea on where the next team should be, but I have a soft spot for St. Louis as it’s a big soccer town. Or a New York Cosmos team, but on the other side of New York from Red Bull.

    • Charles says:

      NY ? they don’t have enough support for one team yet ? (see my next post)

    • eplnfl says:

      St. Louis is my choice. It would mean a natural rival for both Chicago and KC who needs one. The way things are going teams 21 and 22 may not be that far behind.

      • short passes says:

        St. Louis gets a lot of comments regarding it being a soccer town but from my experience, it’s credentials are based more on its youth programs — high school and club teams. Interest at the general level dies when it comes to competing with the Cardinals and the media here is actively anti soccer. Lucky if MLS gets a box score once a week. It will be interesting tosee how the new NASL entry, AC St. Louis fares. Most importantly, I’m a Fire fan and am perfectly satisfied to make the 5 hour trip several times a year.

        • Flex Buffchest says:

          Nope, you’re wrong. St Louis was one of American soccer’s early epicenters. A St Louis Athletic Club was reported playing games as early as 1881. No US city embraced soccer more unreservedly than St Louis, which operated all junior, amateur and sem-profressional leagues, most of which were made up of Americans. They even formed their own league in 1886. Decades after the St Louis Soccer League, founded in 1903, would produce some of the strongest teams in the country, and many of the top American-born players. St Louis is more deserving than any other team in contention right now. It’s just a question of money and support. For AC St Louis only being a Div II team, it seems the fans support them more than ever.

          • short passes says:

            History doesn’t translate into broad professional soccer support. St. Louis may generate professional players from their strong youth programs but the general community and the Post Dispatch could care less. It’s all about the Cardinals. I will be happy to see the AC St. Louis prove me wrong!!

  4. Charles says:

    Failed to mention: How about 55,000 for a CCL game ?
    Contrast that to Columbus, playing a round later.

    [I love how the old school MLS guys always say stuff like, wait until they have a losing season, but the examples of pathetic attendance away from the new teams are Columbus, New England, NY, DC.....ok and Dallas]

  5. Greg says:

    I’d love to see a new team in my town … Phoenix, AZ. Would have to figure out how to deal with the heat, but there is a soccer-loving community here, and it would be a great time to sync-up with a Mexican League team ala Chivas USA. Phoenix Pumas maybe? :)

  6. Clayton says:

    Greg,
    The Mexican team partnership idea is not a good one. You already have “Los Suns”, do you really want another team that alienates the majority of the population? Not only does a name like Chivas USA alienate the black and white population (the majority, even in Phoenix and LA), but it also alienates Mexican-American fans of other Mexican clubs. Not to mention that most Mexican League fans won’t pay attention to MLS anyways. So what a name like that really does is only target fans of that Mexican club who are open to watching MLS and excludes everyone else in the market.

    You are much better off with a more generic (and American) name so you can try to recruit sports fans of all races.

  7. Clayton says:

    In an ideal world, this would be my MLS expansion plan:

    2011 – Portland & Vancouver
    2012 – Montreal & St Louis
    2013 – Tampa & Miami
    2014 – Atlanta & Charlotte/Raleigh/Nashville/Birmingham
    & Move Chivas USA to San Diego as soon as a stadium deal could be made and PLEASE change the name

    I think rolling out 2 teams at a time in similar regions will allow MLS to foster rivalries while targeting a specific geographical region. St Louis was included bc it seems to already have a stadium and ownership group in place. It also has natural rivals in MLS (Chicago & KC). I think putting 2 teams in the southeast at a time would be preferable to placing 1 isolated team in Atlanta or Miami. And putting teams in only Atlanta and Miami would not create any sort of rivalry as the 2 cities are about 12 hours away from each other.

    I realize that expansion is mainly decided by finding owners who have money and proper stadiums, but if MLS had the choice I think this would be an ideal scenario.

  8. Greg says:

    @Clayton – you’ve got some valid points, however, right or wrong, the point of “Los Suns” wasn’t to alienate anyone, it was to show solidarity.

    The bottom line for soccer in Phoenix is that without the support of the large Hispanic population a team would not likely be successful. My thought process on the Mexican League team was to pull in existing fans, and introduce new fans. If your experience with Chivas USA is otherwise, then I’d bow down to previous experience.

    At any rate, I’d love to see soccer here in the Valley of the Sun, if only we could figure out a way to dial down the heat.

  9. Joey Clams says:

    Does this mean that Toronto is still our Monaco?

    • Hilton says:

      It means that 3 out of 3 Canadian franchises will have season tickets capped and all their matches played before capacity crowds.

      Big mistake expanding north of the border.

  10. jayoh says:

    Great 90210 episode…lol…Michael you hit it on the head…that blaring guitar is too much for me. I’d like to see St. Louis get a team. I’d also love to see a team up in Minneapolis…I think they could support a team and could also provide another midwest rivalry.

  11. Lars Lowther says:

    Little confused as to why Stade Saputo is referred to as a part time home. It’s their full time home. The use of Stade Olympique for the CCL game was a two fold thing: expand capacity and have an indoor stadium in the midst of Canadian winter.

    As for the tower in the background of that video…that’s Stade Olympique. Saputo is built right beside it.

  12. Tom says:

    What town that doesn’t have an MLS team give the league coverage in its newspapers? I’d guess none, so I’m not sure if that is a fair indicator for St. Louis.

  13. allan says:

    the league seems to be getting to big too fast. so does evrytime play each other twice? 36 games on 23 man roster plus CCL, nutra cup for canadians, open cup, etc.. its gonna take its toll on the players and the quality of play. do these teams have reserves? last time i checked they didnt have reserves but i dont know about that. so info would be appreciated.

  14. Trent Bruner says:

    Allan raises a good point on roster size because of the U.S. Open Cup and the Nutrilite Canadian Championship for the Voyageurs Cup, but let’s remember how quick the old NASL expanded and the larger problems that arose because of it. This process at least is more measured in terms of finances and long term strategic planning.

    However, I hope this does force MLS to provide additional development opportunities for soccer players through reserve teams and academies, especially for the Canadian clubs because the university system in Canada needs more development, let alone more development of player development programs and improved cooperation and networking within the Canadian soccer community. Even if the cost is short term pain, we need to look at the long term gains for investment in soccer infrastructure.

    I like MLS coming to Montreal because the rivalries it generates for the Canadian side of the border alone will generate more league revenues through Canadian national TV contracts for over the air broadcasters to be part of (CBC, CTV and Global) as well as our national cable sports channels such as TSN, Sportsnet, The Score and GOLTV Canada. Montreal will also provide another rival for New England, who are in desperate need of fans in the seats. This also means more opportunities for for soccer players to develop on both sides of the border as more playing positions will open up. In short, this decision can’t hurt. Now if MLS gets a French language web compoent incorporated into its website, think how much more of an international presence the league can receive!

  15. Jack in TX says:

    I agree that expansion may be nearing the point for a pause. In the old NASL days, quick expansion led to a severe dilution of talent and quality of play. There were many players in those days on an NASL side that had little business being professional, let alone at the top-flight. I hope MLS stops at 20 teams for the next five years or so.

    That being said, I would personally enjoy seeing one of the more successful USL/(new) NASL clubs get their shot at an MLS club. In the north Rochester, in the south Charleston or the center, St. Louis would all be good candidates but admittedly I don’t know enough about whether their potential attendance would be enough for MLS in these cities but the league would benefit from clubs that are solidly managed and having “sticking” power.

    • Charles says:

      They did have to put Americans on the team you know ?

    • Flex Buffchest says:

      NASL also tried to add 6 teams in ONE year without a proper expansion plan and money. While I agree MLS needs to take some time off after the 20th team is added, they in no way compare to what NASL was trying to do back in the day.

  16. Trent13 says:

    I live in between Birmingham and Atlanta right off I-20. I have to say I wish they would put a franchise in Birmingham (probably in Hoover) I think it would thrive and not be in the back pages as it would likely be in Atlanta with all the pro sports there.

  17. Charles says:

    How about the Don saying that he wants another NY team. I just don’t get that.
    Portland outdraws NY the last few games.
    Non-MLS versus MLS, small town versus Metropolis, small 5 story buildings versus the Empire State Building, and still NY can’t draw as many fans.

    Put in a second ? No disrespect to the people that DO support them, but they barely have a first.

  18. Clayton says:

    The idea is that a second team that is actually in NYC would create a NY vs NJ rivalry that would elevate the overall interest for MLS in the biggest market in the country. Right now the MLS doesn’t seem to get any media coverage there. An intracity derby would create more buzz in the area (theoretically). More importantly, there’s more potential investors in NY than anywhere else.

    I’m also not worried about talent dilution as long as they continue to follow the same expansion model (bring in owners that have the money to attract new foreign players). Seattle bringing in Montero, Llundberg and Keller didn’t exactly lower the overall level of play in MLS. Portland, Vancouver and Montreal already have several players good enough for MLS and Vancouver has the best academy system in the US or Canada. These clubs are raising the level of play and more importantly, their front offices and supporters are raising the league’s profile off the field.

    • Lars Lowther says:

      I’d argue there isn’t any issue with dilution. This isn’t NFL, this isn’t MLB, there are literally hundreds of thousands of players in the world, and tens of thousands who can play at the MLS level. It’s a matter of finding them and signing them. If clubs are willing to do that, the level doesn’t drop.

      This league can get the players they need to maintain and increase the level of play. It’s just a matter of will.

      • joejoe says:

        The product is already weak on the field. There are now three more teams awaiting entry, which means that they can raid other teams of players. To avoid schedule headaches, a 20th team is coming soon as well. With the MLS structure and small reserves, you can forget about quality play. That means many wont be watching in favor of something better. It’s not as if there’s no soccer on TV.

        • Clayton says:

          Each expansion team can take one player from each team. That team can then use the cap space that is freed up to sign a new player from outside of MLS. New teams/investors bring in new money and new players to the league. There is no talent dilution. If anything the quality has gone up in the last few years. At worst, more American players get a chance to play.

          TV ratings are driven more by public perception than subtle changes in quality of play. If someone is looking for the highest quality of play, they will watch European leagues. That won’t change for a long time. What MLS does have going for it is that it is more interesting because there is a team in your back yard and you can go to the games. It is impossible to have much of a connection with a team that is 3000 miles away. If you are worried about TV ratings, you should want MLS teams in as many markets as possible.

    • Charles says:

      Dilution is not the problem. The problem with a second NY team is they don’t draw for the first. Why is s second one the on that will draw like Vancouver will, Montreal will, etc. Putting another team in an area that has “failed” already or barely succeeded for 16 years now is a little bit of a joke.

  19. nerts! says:

    1) “dilution of talent” is not a problem if you expand the international spots on the rosters. Plenty of talent out there in Latin America, Africa, Asia, etc that MLS can draw on. If the US born talent pool expands in future, then the international spots on MLS rosters can be reduced accordingly.

    2) “rapid over-expansion killed the NASL” – this is not an issue for MLS, because the NASL had no salary cap, and really no rational rules or structure or long term stability to speak of. MLS’s single entity structure and salary cap will make it much easier to expand steadily without going crazy. Adding one or two teams every year or every other year for a decade isn’t really comparable to the NASL’s sudden jump from 18 to 24 teams in a single year, either.

    Also, note that the Tampa Bay Rowdies sold out their home opener; I predict that the Rowdies will be in MLS soon enough, they just need to get their SSS situation in order:

    http://twitter.com/TampaBayRowdies/status/13639544813

    Its official – we sold out! 8,082 people!

  20. Your league is a mickeymouse league says:

    Keep diluting your talent and making your product even MORE unwatchable. And also, expect to get reamed by the T&T Pro League in the CCL. HAHAHAHA!!! Your league is a joke. It has no value whatsoever. Your league will always be garbage

  21. Ivan says:

    The Tampa rowdies had more than 8,000 at their home opener last night. Tampa is hungry for soccer. i know this has been discussed and tossed around a million times, but a promotion/relegation should be in order…not now, in a decade or so, but if a Tampa has its act together, on and off the field, it must get a chance to play at the highest level of professional soccer in the US…

    • Flex Buffchest says:

      And hopefully keep the Tampa Bay Rowdies name. It has history and is WAAAAY better than Tampa Bay Mutiny or FC Tampa Bay.

  22. Miami Ultra says:

    The dilution of talent argument when it comes to expansion is ridiculous. MLS just needs to loosen the restrictions on foreign players and add a proper reserve system. All the current system does is weaken American talent by taking away much of the competition for roster spots in MLS.

    It will be quite some time before MLS catches up to the big Euro leagues in terms of the quality of play. MLS needs to worry about getting it’s product within physical reach of as many people as possible.

    Congrats to Montréal. I’m sure they’ll be a great addition to the league. Hopefully sometime soon fans in Florida will see MLS rectify it’s past mistakes, and we’ll have MLS in our backyards again.

  23. CTBlues says:

    Put a team in New Haven or Hartford Connecticut!

  24. ROC CITY says:

    MLS needs to come to Western NY. The Rochester Rhinos already have a SSS that they can easily expand and Rochester has great youth soccer programs. All we need is some solid investors and the people here would go crazy for an MLS team.

    We were getting between 10,000 and 14,000 fans a few years ago for a non-MLS team. Also, not importatn for expansion, but we’re the only non-MLS team to win the US Open Cup. The WNY Flash just got a pro womans team and we the Rochester Lancers are becoming a new indoor soccer team. Roc City loves soccer and we need it here.

  25. Kipp says:

    Atlanta is a great city but I would also be worried about a lack of
    support. Nashville would be the perfect spot. If the support for
    the Nashville Predators is any indication of the the city really
    taking to a new team and sport then Nashville would completely
    support an MLS team. Plus, there has always been great attendance
    for the national team games held there. I did a post about the
    expansion to 20 teams as well, check it out at
    http://offthelaces.com/ Thanks!

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