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Kids Just Want to Play Soccer-BMO Sports Survey

- BMO study cites children's desire to play, fitness benefits and low cost as key reasons for soccer's popularity

- Soccer is seen as the most inclusive of all sports and tops the list for embracing boys and girls from all backgrounds and cultures

- Canadian parents see soccer leagues as a positive contributor to their community



TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 13, 2012) - While parents often play a determining role in most aspects of their children's lives, children are the key influencers for choosing which sports to play; and soccer is one of their top choices, according to a new BMO Financial Group Sports Survey.

According to parents surveyed, a key reason for soccer's high ranking is driven in large part by children themselves, who want to play the game more than any other sport (44 per cent). Parents, on the other hand, when deciding whether or not to enroll their children in a sport, pick soccer because they believe it is the most affordable way to help their children get the exercise they need (59 per cent).

The survey, conducted by Leger Marketing, also found soccer to be the most inclusive of all sports:

  • The vast majority (96 per cent) of parents believe soccer is appropriate for both boys and girls alike;
  • 94 per cent see soccer as a sport that embraces kids from all cultures and backgrounds;
  • 83 per cent agree that youth soccer provides an effective outlet for children in the community beyond health benefits; and
  • Three-quarters also say that youth soccer leagues are an important part of communities.

"Our study confirmed that Canadian parents recognize the benefits of youth soccer that fall outside of simply promoting healthy living," said Susan Bundy, Director, Corporate Sponsorships, BMO Bank of Montreal. They believe that it also provides an important outlet for youth in their community as well, with more than three-quarters of parents agreeing that youth soccer leagues are an important part of their community. This is certainly one of the main reasons why BMO launched the Team of the Week program last year, which captured the attention of nearly 300,000 Canadians who voted for their favorite team."

According to the study, parents enroll their children in sports in order to foster the development of positive character traits:

  • The majority of parents hope that their children's enrollment in sports develops their confidence (88 per cent), team spirit (74 per cent) and enthusiasm (65 per cent). Parents want their kids to have a good time (82 per cent).
  • Interestingly, making their children more competitive had one of the lowest scores at 18 per cent.

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 will be 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 for the winning team is a $125,000 prize towards a field refurbishment of their community soccer field, a road trip to a Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Montreal Impact, or Canadian National Team home game, and a $5,000 donation to the team's charity of choice.

Last year's BMO Team of the Week champion, the Glen Shields Sun Devils, U - 11 girls team from Vaughan, Ontario, have since put their title - and the prize - to good use. In addition to raising money of their own, the team successfully rallied the community and the City of Vaughan council to help with a larger refurbishment of their local soccer field. They also generously gave the $5,000 donation from BMO to the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

About BMO and Soccer

BMO supports soccer across Canada from youth players in local neighbourhoods and communities all the way up to the professional level. Our deep commitment to 'The Beautiful Game' is evident from the beginning of the curve with our grassroots sponsorship of more than 900 youth teams nationally. The relationship continues with support of Canada's men's and women's national teams, our professional teams (Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Montreal Impact) and our soccer venue title sponsorship (BMO Field).

The survey was completed on-line between April 9th, and April 15, 2012 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb with a sample of 1005 Canadian parents with children under the age of 16. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±3.09%, 19 times out of 20.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Beja Rodeck, Toronto
416-867-3996
beja.rodeck@bmo.com

Krysta Cooke, Toronto
416-867-3996
krysta.cooke@bmo.com

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
605-665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com

Ron Monet, Montreal
514-877-1873
ron.monet@bmo.com
Internet: www.BMOsoccer.com