VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Montreal Impact and Toronto FC announced today that they have formed a strategic alliance in order to develop the sport of soccer in Canada and North America.
The agreement came following a meeting of the three teams’ management, hosted by Toronto FC prior to the team’s home game against the New York Red Bulls on October 4th.
“It makes sense that we are working together, as all three clubs share a number of common themes including solid ownership and commitment towards a bright future,” said Bob Lenarduzzi, Vancouver Whitecaps FC President. “It is exciting to know that we are going to be competing on the field and working together off the field.”
As part of this alliance, all three parties agreed that elite player development is vital to the success of the game in Canada and the three pro clubs need to take a leadership position in establishing world-class player development strategies. To that effect, all three sides will continue to cooperate on developing top quality Canadian soccer talent.
The clubs also acknowledged their desire to play matches against each other throughout the 2008 season and to come up with a format that works best with each other’s league schedules.
Lastly, in the wake of the successful launch of Toronto FC into Major League Soccer and the ongoing successes of both Montreal and Vancouver in the United Soccer Leagues First Division, the teams agreed to meet regularly to discuss the business practices that have led to those successes and how to use that success to grow the sport in Canada.
"While we may be competitors on the field, all three clubs share a common vision, which is the growth and development of soccer in Canada," said Joey Saputo, Montreal Impact President. "We truly feel that this alliance will be beneficial for our sport, in the short and long term."
“The time is right to step up and be the leaders in Canadian soccer that we aspire to be, just as we all have a desire to be the teams that young players aspire to be a part of in this country,” said Paul Beirne, Toronto FC Director of Business Operations. “The opportunities to grow the game in Canada have never been more obvious and having a strategic alliance with the other pro clubs makes obvious sense.”
Officials from all three teams will meet before the end of the year to discuss in greater detail, each point and to begin the implementation of these elements. Furthermore, the clubs as members of the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) will continue to dialogue with the CSA and its provincial stakeholders for the betterment of the game nationally.