Vernon United U13 in the running for funding

A local soccer team is in the running to win $125,000 for Vernon.

BMO – the bank of soccer in Canada – has kicked off a brand new soccer program for youth teams from coast to coast. Vernon United U13 has already been nominated for the contest, called The Team of the Week, which is open to young soccer players across the country.

The contest will award 15 youth teams and give them the chance to win the grand prize which includes $125,000 to refurbish their community soccer pitch.

Until the end of July, 15 weekly winners will be announced and will receive $500, track suits and a donation to a local charity.

Each of the winning teams will become finalists for the grand prize and all Canadians will be able to vote for their favourite team starting Aug. 1 at BMOsoccer.com. The BMO Team of the Week 2011 Champion will receive a $125,000 field refurbishment, a trip to see a Toronto FC or Vancouver Whitecaps FC home game and $5,000 to their chosen charity.

“BMO Team of the Week recognizes teams coast to coast for their achievements both on and off the field,” said Sandy Bourne, vice-president, sponsorships, BMO Financial Group. “BMO is committed to making a difference in the communities in which we work and live. We are dedicated to supporting ‘The Beautiful Game’ and growing the soccer stars of tomorrow, through our sponsorship of over 10,000 young players from over 700 teams across the country.

“Soccer has long been the beloved sport of so many countries around the world, and is reaching new levels in Canada at both the youth and elite levels,” added Bourne. “All you need is a flat surface and a ball. This makes soccer one of the most accessible and affordable sports in the world, with an increasing participation rate among Canadians.”

BMO also released the results of a new survey that found soccer is the most popular youth sport in Canada. In B.C., the number of soccer players is triple that of hockey players (33 per cent vs. 11 per cent).