The beautiful game has a unique way of connecting fans of different teams, religions and cultures, but the COVID-19 pandemic halted that momentum in the spring of 2020.
With cities, states and countries alike aiming to reclaim a sense of normalcy, events are beginning to take shape once again that can promote football and all the amazing attributes that it promotes.
This Sunday, MLS side CF Montreal will host 20 teams at Stade Saputo made up of Canadian hospitality workers, as well as local celebrities and media stars for a day of fun and football.
Montreal teamed up with GOAL INITIATIVES -- a foundation created by Montreal native Paul Desbaillets that helps promote mental health awareness regardless of age, gender, race or other factors.
Desbaillets founded the organization in 2010 and has since grown GOAL MTL into an event celebrated in the Montreal community by many. This, however, will be the first time the event takes place at Stade Saputo.
The goal behind the event is to serve as a welcome back for many football supporters that haven’t had the opportunity to interact with fellow fans during the pandemic.
“Nothing has been more exciting about what’s happening with GOAL INITIATIVES’ ‘Fall Football Festival’ then the meaning behind it and the chance to finally have people being able to congregate safely together to celebrate life, art, food, conversation & football,” Desbaillets told ONE37pm.
In addition to the teams that will compete on the pitch, the event is open to the public and Desbaillets is encouraging as many supporters to come out and enjoy the event as possible.
“The past 18 months have been a trying time for Montreal’s restaurant and bar industry, as has been the case for numerous small businesses around the world,” Desbaillets said. “As we edge closer to a return to normalcy, we are pleased to be able to come together to fundraise for a cause so dear to our hearts.”