New-look Montréal Impact kick-off 2019 season
It’s become a very welcome rite of spring. The season opening match of the Montréal Impact — the city’s professional, Major League Soccer team — not only signals the start of warmer days to come, but the beginning of a citywide celebration of its soccer club that extends into the fall. And this year, the club comes out kickin’ with a tough new look.
Making an impact in Montréal
Founded in 1993, the Montréal Impact enjoy a loyal and ever-strengthening fan base in the city, especially in recent years as the popularity of soccer continues to grow by leaps and bounds, not only in Québec but across the country. The Impact draw more than 20,000 fans on average to raucous, albeit very family friendly, home games on the striking outdoor, natural-grass pitch of Stade Saputo (in fact, its 20,801-seat capacity rivals that of one of the city’s other beloved pro sports franchises, the Montréal Canadiens, whose Bell Centre home ice has a capacity of 21,273). Moreover, playoff games at the adjacent Olympic Stadium have been known to draw in excess of 60,000 team faithful.
Back in black
The return of the Impact also sees them sporting a new jersey, or “kit,” one that incorporates gradient modern lines, a more refined collar and a much greater emphasis on the colour black, which, whether intended or not, gives the team a leaner and meaner look. On the jersey’s back, on top of the player names, can be found the heraldic cross featured on the flag of Montréal. And of particular note, the famous North Star Bell, property of the 1642MTL supporters’ club, is featured on the jersey for the very first time. A great Impact tradition, the gigantic bell — it measures five feet high, 44 inches wide and weighs 1,576 pounds — was brought to section 114 of Saputo Stadium by the 1642MTL fan club (named after Montréal’s founding in 1642) and is loudly and proudly rung after each goal and victory.
Mark your calendar
The Impact’s regular season this year consists of 34 games, 17 of which are home games at Saputo Stadium, and 17 on the road. The first game of the Bleu-blanc-noir’s season takes place in San Jose, California against the Earthquakes on March 2, and the final game of the regular season happens at home on October 6 against the New York Red Bulls. And mark it in your calendar: the very first home game in Montréal will be against the Columbus Crew SC on April 13. Other notable home games include matches against Canadian rivals Toronto FC on July 13, and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on August 28. It's highly advisable to purchase your tickets in advance.
Jamie O’Meara, blogger
Jamie O’Meara is a writer for The Montreal Gazette, C2 Montréal, Moment Factory and more. He also manages the PR Team at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and is the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.