Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Montreal Impact celebrate the team's winning goal against the D.C. United in the second half at Audi Field on Nov 8, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Mitchell Layton/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

The owner of Montreal’s Major League Soccer Club knows change won’t be easy for fans.

After 28 years as the Montreal Impact, the team announced Thursday that it is rebranding as Club de Foot Montreal – or CF Montreal.

“I understand how you feel. I love the Impact,” owner Joey Saputo said in a virtual press conference. “It’s hard to let go of things you love. But here’s the reality – to make an impact, we need to retire the Impact.”

Story continues below advertisement

Along with the new name, the club has replaced the Impact’s shield logo with a round black badge rimmed with blue and featuring a grey snowflake.

Designer Justin Kingsley said the creative team wanted to hark back to some key Montreal moments with their work, including the 1976 Montreal Olympics and Expo 67.

He knows there will be naysayers who will see the snowflake as a weakness and use it as a criticism of the club’s on-field performance.

“Go ahead and underestimate our team,” Kingsley said. “We are all individuals and we are all unique. But when we come together, we form that impenetrable wall. Good luck to you defeating our storm, our blizzard.”

The team also has a new slogan: “Droit devant,” or, in English, “Always forward.”

The rebranding is about building a collective, Saputo said.

“We’re telling a story about the way Montrealers live, the way we are, who we are, here on our island,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Some fans were quick to express their displeasure with the new identity.

Supporters group Ultras Montreal posted several messages critical of the changes on Twitter.

“Is this all a joke?” one post read in French.

The change had been controversial even before the new name and look were unveiled, with more than 2,000 soccer fans signing an online petition calling for the Impact to keep its name. The petition said the change will cause a “rift” between the team and its fanbase.

The club has been known as the Impact since it joined the American Professional Soccer League in 1992 after the dissolution of its predecessor, the Montreal Supra.

Saputo chose the name because he wanted the franchise to make an impact on the city and local soccer community.

Story continues below advertisement

The rebrand reflects how the club’s position in the community has changed, said Kevin Gilmore, the team’s president.

“We’ve gone from having an impact to assuming a responsibility as a professional sports team of representing our city and our people,” he said Thursday.

Gilmore acknowledged that some people won’t agree, while others will be upset or even hurt by the change.

He hopes the Montreal-centric approach that the club has taken will help.

“We hope that resonates with people and that eventually they will be as passionate, if not more passionate, about our club and ultimately our brand, as they are now,” he said.

Montreal made its MLS debut in 2012. In 2015, the team finished a franchise-best third place in the Eastern Division before being ousted from the playoffs in the quarter-finals by the Columbus Crew.

Story continues below advertisement

Montreal reached the conference final in 2016 but lost to Toronto FC.

Then, ahead of the 2020 season, the club hired former Belgian goalkeeper Olivier Renard as sporting director and famed French striker Thierry Henry as head coach.

“The fact that we brought in Olivier and Thierry isn’t a coincidence,” Gilmore said. “That gives us visibility on a stage far greater than this city and this province. And this rebrand does that as well.”

Last season, the club finished ninth in the East with an 8-13-2 record after COVID-19 restrictions forced all three Canadian MLS squads to relocate south of the border in mid-September.

The New England Revolution eliminated Montreal from the playoffs in the qualifying round.

It’s been a busy off-season for the club, with Renard bringing in several emerging players from around the globe. Montreal announced its latest acquisition Wednesday, signing 18-year-old Nigerian striker Sunusi Ibrahim.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’m very excited to see some of the youngsters that we brought into the club and see where they can bring us,” Henry said from his home in London on Thursday. “Hopefully we will have less stops this year in order to carry momentum in terms of what we want to do on the field.”

MLS commissioner Don Garber has said the league is targeting mid-March to start the 2021 campaign.

Bob Foose, head of the MLS Players Association, said this week that the “best solution” for Canadian teams would be delaying the start of the season since the Canada-U.S. border remains closed.

Montreal is already looking at different plans for the 2021 season, Gilmore said.

“2021 has its challenges,” he said. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel, I just don’t know how long the tunnel is.

“We know that at some point the combination of safety measures and vaccines will allow us to get back to normal – we hope sooner than later. But in the meantime, we just have to be prepared for multiple scenarios.”

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies