A special thank you to BMO who will make a generous donation to the Sun Youth Organization as part of our partnership for this special promotional post. The author (me) received no compensation.
My 7-year-old is part of our neighbourhood's U-7 Panthers. The field they play on is still truncated, they won't play full-field soccer for another year or two. They rotate four players on the pitch at a time, plus a goaltender. The players are always easy to spot as they are still generally orbiting the ball like space debris.
The highlights of the game for this group of Grade 1 graduates are still charming: the goals (although we don't yet keep score); the saves (especially when the tiny goaltender remembers she is allowed to use her hands); half-time oranges and full-time popsicles (when the adults hover like space debris, respectfully hoping for leftovers); and, of course, the pre-game cheer.
Sometimes my daughter is complacent about the cheer - the summer between grades one and two sees the emergence of the buds of cynicism - on other occasions she is swept up in her teammates' eagerness to out-root the opponent.
"What's the point of the cheer?" she'll ask on her hazy days.
I try to explain the concepts of team bonding, and how creating an identity for her little unit of Panthers encourages camaraderie, but I know that these moments are mostly about memories to be cherished (possibly more by me than by her).
I don't know whether this little girl, still trying to understand the concept of a corner kick, will ever become a professional soccer player. I do know that seeing MLS level competition will encourage her fighting spirit.
BMO is offering her, as well as all the young soccer players across Canada, a chance to treat their entire team (yes, coaches, you too!) to a day in the stands of an MLS game.
All it takes is a great cheer, and someone with a camera to record it.
Through this National contest, BMO is searching for the most spirited soccer cheer for a chance to win the trip to an MLS game.
Canadians can submit their team’s cheer video to BMOSoccer.com until September 26, 2014. Submissions can be shot from smart phones or home video cameras and the focus is on team spirit, rather than elaborate production. (Thank you for not making me edit the thing!)
Any team with players between the ages of 7 and 12 - at any level (hello to the "What's a corner kick?" crowd) is eligible. Every entrant will receive 15 BMO water bottles for the team and a special offer to open a BMO kids account.
Over the duration of the program, up to 100 teams each week will be randomly selected to receive a $75 gift card to cover team expenses.
In September, one team will win a Grand Prize of a trip for all players and coaches to attend an MLS game.
BMO sponsors the Canadian Women’s and Men’s National team, and also Major League Soccer Teams in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. As well as almost 20,000 house league soccer players across Canada.
As for the U-7 Panthers? I think their record is 3-2...or is it 2-3...? Mind you, there was that game our family missed because we were camping, and there was that practice that was cancelled due to thunder...keeping track of stats is more difficult than I thought.
Despite their record, and the occasional absence of a teammate, there are some constants for this little group of playmates. Among the most reliable is that team cheer before kickoff.