CF Montreal and PLSQ announced jointly yesterday that the club’s reserve team will join the Quebec league for the 2022 season.
This makes sense for the club on many levels.
Perhaps ideally the best place for the three Canadian MLS clubs’ reserve teams is the currently 8-team CanPL (I believe it would be good for the league too), however with that organization unwilling to onboard reserve teams, it’s a closed option.
Under the circumstances this latest development appears the best option for the CF Montreal club. Not only does it alleviate potential Covid problems which cross-border travel in an MLS u23 league would possibly have presented, it ensures young Montreal reserve team players will go head to head with more experienced opponents.
The PLSQ benefits too. Having the CF Montreal organization on board increases the profile of the league and guarantees new interest.
Soccer Québec General Manager Mathieu Chamberland is pleased with the development. “CF Montréal is a close partner of ours and we have always worked hand in hand with the team. I’m thrilled that our mutual trust helped convince the club to join our league.”
Montreal’s introduction takes the league’s complement to 12 teams, also with the 2022 additions of CS Lanaudiere-Nord and CS St-Laurent. Exciting times for the league, there will be plenty of local derbies with three Montreal teams, two from Laval and one from Longueuil participating.
CF Montreal Sporting Director, Olivier Renard sees the move as a positive one. “We are happy to officially participate in the PLSQ in 2022.
“Thanks to our partnership with Soccer Québec, we will have the means to compete in a high-performance and competitive environment and use the platform to continue the development of club prospects and our Academy.”
Wilfried Nancy also had positive things to say during yesterday’s presser. “There was a reflection and the club has taken this direction for the moment. It is a decision that has been carefully considered.
“It’s the right decision for the moment, we’ll see for the future. But the players will progress.”
The Montreal head coach is another who believes young academy prospects will benefit from facing more mature opposition than they would, for instance, in the MLS u23 league.
But according to Nancy the development of a reserve team playing regular league matches doesn’t mean loaning players to CanPL clubs is off the table. Again I view this as sound thinking by Montreal’s technical staff.
Particularly highlighting the likes of youngsters, Sean Rea, Jonathan Sirois and Karifa Yao all who enjoyed CanPL experience in 2021, Nancy said, “All the young people who came back with us have progressed and asserted themselves more.
“They find less difficulty with the speed of the game and I also notice that as soon as we make corrections, they try to apply it in action, whereas before they had difficulty doing so.
“The PLSQ is a great tool and we will choose which is the right tool for each player.”
This latest move also gives the Montreal organization an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the new MLS u23 Development League throughout 2022, allowing options to remain open for 2023 and beyond, Fundamentally it represents a sensible approach, technical staff at the club should be applauded.
ABOUT THE PLSQ
The Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec is a semi-professional soccer league launched in 2012, overseen by Soccer Québec. Affiliated with Canada Soccer, the league is the highest division of soccer in Quebec and is recognized as a Division 3 level in Canada.