Montreal Impact reveal new identity, fans divided

Montreal (AFP) – Montreal Impact officially unveiled its  new identity on Thursday, relaunching the Major League Soccer franchise as Club de Foot Montreal with a new logo and a tweak to team colours.

The club, which joined MLS in 2012 after nearly two decades in junior divisions of professional soccer in North America, will now be known as CF Montreal from the 2021 season.

As well as the Impact name, the club has also abandoned its previous club badge, a shield featuring black and blue stripes beneath a white fleur de lys, in favour of a logo in the form of a snowflake.

“In order to keep on growing and progressing, we are making an important change,” said CF Montreal chief executive Kevin Gilmore.

“This transformation is inspired by the culture of our city, its people, as well as the history of our Club and our sport in Montreal, to lead us into an even brighter future.

“It’s a great metamorphosis that will stimulate and guide our evolution.”

The club has also changed its club motto from “Tous pour gagner” (“All for victory”) to “Droit devant” (“Always forward”).

The name change has divided opinion amongst some of Montreal’s supporters, however. 

An online petition launched last month calling for the club to keep the Montreal Impact name has garnered more than 2,200 signatures.

The Ultras Montreal supporters group — which opposed the name change —  led a chorus of disapproval on Thursday.

“We have a question,” the fan group said on Twitter. “Is this all a joke?”

Other fans posting on social media on Thursday expressed dislike for the club’s new “snowflake” logo, suggesting it would invite ridicule given common modern usage of “snowflake” as a derogatory term.

“Montreal snowflakes. Our players will be so disgusted when they go on the road. Totally ridiculous,” one Twitter user commented.

CF Montreal are coached by former France, Arsenal and Barcelona star Thierry Henry, who saw the team finish ninth in the Eastern Conference standings in 2020 after a pandemic-disrupted first season in charge.

Henry’s team were eliminated by New England in the first stage of the postseason “play-in” tournament in November.

Nevertheless Henry told AFP Thursday he had been able to take positives from his first season.

“We said to ourselves that we absolutely had to do the playoffs this year because it had been a while since the team had qualified for them,” Henry said.

“Unfortunately we did not go far but there are good things that came out…We managed to cope with a situation that was not obvious.”

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