CF Montréal Montreal soccer culture

From past to present: The thriving soccer culture in Montreal

“A short wild ride through the rich history of soccer in Montreal, with juicy details about its past and a taste of the exciting future that lies ahead.”

In the vibrant city of Montreal, where poutine reigns supreme and hockey is practically a religion, there’s another passion that has been steadily cooking and is now ready to be properly served onto the scene.

Yep, you guessed it — if it’s coming from me, it’s got to do with soccer!

This article will take you on a short wild ride through the rich history of soccer in Montreal, share some juicy details about its past and give you a taste of the exciting future that lies ahead. 

So, grab your maple syrup and cheese curds and get ready to dive into the fascinating world of soccer in Montreal!

Let’s rewind the clock a bit to when folks were still rockin’ handlebar moustaches and fashion looks that are back in style today — when soccer was making its first strides in Montreal. Clubs like the Montreal Olympique and Montreal Manic took to the field, igniting the competitive spirit and laying the groundwork for what would become a soccer frenzy in the years to come. It was the perfect match for a city that embraces diversity and celebrates cultures from all corners of the globe.

The ’70s and ’80s was a time where soccer in Montreal truly began to kick it up a notch. Professional leagues like the National Soccer League and later the Canadian Soccer League made their grand entrance, captivating the hearts of Montrealers and transforming the sport into a spectacle that everyone could get pumped up about. 

Legendary players emerged from this soccer scene, such as Alex Bunbury from the Montreal Supra and Patrice Bernier from the Impact (a big-time GOAL Infinitives supporter, by the way) were instrumental in putting Montreal on the international soccer map.

In 2012, Montreal witnessed the birth of a new era: Major League Soccer (MLS) came to town, and the Montreal Impact (now known as CF Montreal) rose like a phoenix from the ashes with a proper meet & greet and presentation at the home of football in Montreal, Pub Burgundy Lion (full disclosure: my place), in the Sud-Ouest.

This 2012 MLS introduction was a game-changer, ladies and gentlemen. The Impact became the city’s pride and joy, drawing in large crowds and igniting a passion for soccer from the public. 

The Impact’s exhilarating run to the CONCACAF Champions League final in 2015 sent shockwaves through the soccer world, proving that Montreal meant business.

Now, hold on the story is not even close to being over, because the future of soccer in Montreal is looking brighter than the neon lights of the Five Roses flower plant. 

The club’s youth program, academies and development initiatives are churning out talented players faster than you can say “Bonjour, soccer superstar!” These young guns are dreaming big and working hard to represent Montreal on the international stage. 

Players from CF Montréal — which incidentally re-introduced its new logo for this current MLS season — are being swooped up by some very big European clubs and a large portion of the team represents team Canada or other national sides in big international competitions.

Whether you’re at Stade Saputo or watching the game at a local pub… (Pub Burgundy Lion, right?) the passion and camaraderie are off the charts. The soccer culture in Montreal is a celebration of diversity, where fans from all walks of life come together, united by their love for the game and the city. It’s a melting pot of languages, accents and traditions, creating an electric atmosphere. 

Montreal’s soccer scene is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s only getting stronger. The city’s unique blend of cultures, its infectious energy and the unwavering support of its fans have created a recipe for success that even Wrexham owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob MacElhenney would raise their eyebrows about.

Montreal is where the soccer magic is happening, and trust me, you don’t want to miss a minute of it.

Next game is tonight! Wednesday, June 21. ■

Check out The 1st Half podcast (about soccer and football culture in Montreal and beyond) here.

For more Montreal sports coverage, please visit our Sports section.