TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 13, 2012) - As part of its nationwide youth soccer program, BMO Financial Group today launched the official voting period for the BMO Team of the Week contest. Voting is open to all Canadians from August 13 to August 27. The announcement of the 15 finalists was made this morning on Canada AM and CTV Morning Live.
The team with the most votes will be named the BMO Team of the Week 2012 Champion and will win $125,000 towards the refurbishment of their local soccer field, a team trip to see a Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps FC or Canadian National Team home game, plus $5,000 for a charity of their choice. The winning team's home town will also be featured in a special Canada AM broadcast, with Jeff Hutcheson hosting a "Breakfast with Jeff".
"Each of the finalists in this year's program is a shining example of what the BMO Team of the Week contest is about," said Sandy Bourne, Vice President, Sponsorships, BMO Financial Group. "These teams were selected because of the players' incredible passion, dedication to not only the community, but also to each other, and because they inspire and engage those around them.
"We are encouraging all Canadians to cast their votes online for the next two weeks. Each vote will bring one lucky team closer to a prize that will benefit their community and create a truly memorable experience," added Ms. Bourne.
From April 2 to July 13, Canadian soccer coaches and parents submitted nominations for their favourite youth soccer teams, explaining why their team deserved to be the BMO Team of the Week. Fifteen weekly winners were selected by a panel of judges, each receiving a $500 team prize, $500 for their charity of choice, BMO Team of the Week track suits, and a celebration at a local BMO branch.
The popularity of youth soccer was reinforced in a survey released by BMO today which found that children themselves are the key influencers in determining which sport to play. And the sport they want to play more than anything else is soccer. The survey also confirmed that Canadian parents recognize the benefits of youth soccer besides simply promoting healthy living and believe that it also provides an important outlet for youth in their community: more than three-quarters of parents agreeing that youth soccer leagues are an important part of their community.
About the 15 BMO Team of the Week Finalists
Monteuil Sparta is an U9 girls team from Laval, QC. During the season, the team works to support Le Club des petits déjeuners du Québec, a program that works to provide kids with a proper breakfast and a good learning environment.
KNSC Boys Lions 2000 are from Kleinburg, ON. The U12 boys team, who have been playing together since age 7, focus all of their philanthropic efforts on Guiliano's Journey, a foundation started within their community that raises money for cancer research at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).
The U12 Southend United Sharks from London, ON pride themselves on sportsmanship and make it a core value of the team. In addition to showing respect for each other on the field, the girls work hard to give back to the community. They recently raised $2,500 for Canadian Cancer Society's Relay For Life, also using it as an opportunity to connect with cancer survivors within the community.
Ottawa Royals Futuro U10 Boys are built on a foundation of seven pillars: spiritually grounded; educationally sound; socially confident; mentally sound; physically capable; technical genius; and tactically intelligent. Everything they do, including Cleats For Kids, a drive to collect 1,000 pairs of soccer cleats for underprivileged children in India, is built on those pillars.
The Acme Dragons are a mixed boys and girls U10 team whose most recent community efforts include a local food drive. The proceeds went to hampers that were being distributed throughout their hometown of Acme, AB, to families with limited resources.
Valley Gardens Rockets are a group of U9 girls from Winnipeg, MB who have been playing together since age 5. And playing soccer isn't all they do; the girls clean up local fields in an effort to keep the community clean. They also participated in the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy in Winnipeg.
Ladner Girls U10 Development Team Storm is the first 'development' team put into play by their soccer club. The team organized a toy drive last Christmas, and is looking forward to a future charitable effort: collecting soccer equipment to distribute within the community.
The U11 Burnaby Girls Sparks from Burnaby, BC, united as a group of girls who wanted to become better soccer players. And when they weren't enrolling in soccer academies to pick up new skills, the girls were raising money for The Salvation Army's Adopt-A-Family program - they raised $1,000!
When Cornwall, PEI's Eliot River Ramblers U12 Premier girls aren't on the field playing a game, they can be found training younger players. This summer, the team held a BBQ and packed groceries at the local grocery store with all of the proceeds going to the Food Bank.
London, ON's U10 Nor'West Rebels boys are united under Rebels' values: passion for soccer, team pride, confidence and community advocacy. Their recent community efforts have supported London Food Bank, Reforest London Campaign, and Canadian Liver Foundation.
The Lakeshore U10 AA girls are from Montreal, QC. These girls are dynamos on the field as well as in the community. The team recently held a two-week long fundraiser to support a young boy within the community in need of cerebral palsy treatment in South America.
Les Griffons MU-10A du CSMRO is an U11 boys' team from Mont Royal/Outremont, in Montreal, QC. The values of the club and the team itself are put in place to build not only better soccer players, but also better young men. The team is also gearing up to host a group of boys from Haiti and have already raised $25,000 towards the cause so far.
Mooredale Lightning Gold 2000, an U12 boys' team from Toronto, ON, focuses on dominating on the field and giving back to the community. The team started a fund designated to giving financial aid to kids who wanted to play, which has now evolved into Kids in Sports Foundation. The team has raised over $300,000 that will go towards financial aid for youth in sports, as well as building an inner-city sports facility.
The U11 St. Anthony Cachafaz boys from Ottawa, ON have a name that they often live up to - 'Cachafaz' means "rascally" in Spanish! And although they may, at times, be rascally, they give 100% on the field and to those in the community. Each season the team reserves 2-3 spots for children whose families are unable to pay the cost of a season.
Dartmouth, NS's Storm Soccer 12 'C' Boys were victorious in the winter season and have spent this season using what they learned to win even more. Off the field, the U12 boys helped out the local soup kitchen, Feeding Others of Dartmouth (Margaret's House).
About BMO Team of the Week
BMO Team of the Week is Canada's premier sport celebration at the grassroots level, engaging a nation and inspiring communities by recognizing youth soccer teams who demonstrate team pride, team spirit, community commitment and passion for the game. Fifteen weekly winners have been named BMO Team of the Week and entered for a chance to be voted by Canadians as BMO Team of the Week 2012 Champion. The grand prize includes a $125,000 refurbishment of the winning team's community soccer field, a road trip to a Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Montreal Impact FC, or Canadian National Team home game, plus a $5,000 donation to the team's charity of choice.