BMO Financial Group

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The Canadian Men's Para Soccer Team

June 15, 2010 15:05 ET

Canadian Men's Para Soccer Team Checks Out New Recruits in Victoria, BC, Training Camp

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 15, 2010) -

Editors Note: There is a photo available with this Press Release.

The Canadian Men's Para Soccer Team – proudly sponsored by BMO Financial Group (TSX:BMO)(NYSE:BMO) - held its second training camp of the 2010 season in Victoria, BC last week. The camp was used as an opportunity to evaluate new recruits and train for this fall's qualification tournament for the CPISRA (Cerebral Palsy International Sports & Recreation Association) World Championship in 2011. 

"The Canadian Para Soccer Team is hoping to break into the top ranks of the sport," said Drew Ferguson, Head Coach of the Men's National Para Soccer Team. "The most important part in making this happen is building relationships with local and regional clubs. This will allow us to develop a large and dedicated pool of players we can draw on for future competitions. The support of the Canadian Soccer Association and BMO is critical in making this happen."

Para Soccer is played with seven players per team, a slightly modified version of the game. The team is comprised of players who have varying levels of cerebral palsy, or who have suffered a brain injury or stroke. With their bronze medal finish in Rio during the 2007 Para-Pan American Games, the Canadian team has steadily gained credibility on the field and a following at home.

"I've played soccer since the age of six and had never heard of a cerebral palsy team," said team veteran Dustin Hodgson of Vancouver. "I came across Drew's name completely by accident when I was on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC website."

"I think that the focus of the program became more competitive when Drew took over as head coach in 2006," said Chris Duehrson of New Westminster, BC, who has played on the team since 2003. "He brought a high level of expectation and professionalism to the team that is hard to find among other para sports. Drew has helped us build the mental toughness that is required to take on top tier teams, like Russia and Ukraine."

The recruitment program has recently been given a boost by BMO, its presenting sponsor. Print advertisements running in specialty media such as Abilities Magazine encourage people who have cerebral palsy, or who have suffered a stroke or brain injury, to learn more about the team and the try out process by visiting or emailing

"Investing in the future starts off slowly and requires a strong commitment. This is what the Canadian Soccer Association and Drew Ferguson are doing with the Men's Para Soccer Team," said Sandy Bourne, Vice-President, Advertising, Sponsorship, Events and Merchandising, BMO Financial Group. "Having been the first to market with the Registered Disability Savings Plan, BMO hopes to help people realize the potential that exists when they invest in their own future."

BMO and Canadian Soccer

BMO Financial Group is a proud supporter of soccer at all levels of play. BMO currently sponsors over 500 youth soccer teams in 60 clubs, in addition to the Men's and Women's National teams, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Toronto FC.

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