Published on December 2, 2015 | by Anthony Gallo Photography by Starinthesky*0
North American soccer fandom
Soccer may not be as big in North America compared to Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League or the National Basketball Association, but thanks to dedicated fans, the world’s most watched sport is getting a foothold in Canada.
For people in other parts of the world, soccer is the most watched and talked-about sporting event, and fans get very involved in what soccer brings to them.
In the past, however, soccer wasn’t really on par with the other major sports leagues in North America. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any soccer fans living in the United States or Canada, it just means the number was very low compared to a sports like basketball or football.
Soccer is actually growing in North America now, and a big part of that is thanks to that showcase soccer from all over the world. This allows people to indulge in the sport more, and impresses youth in North America to go out and participate in the sport.
Phil Tobin, president of Toronto Football Club founding supporters club, the Red Patch Boys, says that his group of fans try to get ideas from many different cultures and try to emulate the experience from other major soccer teams around the world.
“We get a lot of different ideas and a lot of cultures coming in and giving us their take and their experience on how to support and how to enjoy the sport,” said Tobin.
Tobin and his group of TFC fanatics go to every home match and cheer before, during and after matches.
“We get together at Shoeless Joe’s, and [the manager at Shoeless Joe’s] got some absolutely massive screen TVs and set-up to welcome us.
“It’s a fantastic way to interact with the group and to work out songs and work out ideas,” said Tobin.
The Red Patch Boys are not the only TFC supporters group. TFC also has other supporters clubs like ‘Original 109’, ‘Tribal Rhythm Nation’, ‘U-Sector’ and ‘Inebriatti’.
Soccer fans in the Toronto area aren’t just limited to watching TFC and Major League Soccer. Fans from all over can watch almost any league they want, if they have the right channels. Soccer fans in North America have the opportunities to watch the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga and the Italian Serie A whenever.
All of the major clubs in those leagues, and many more, are represented by many die-hard fans. In today’s age of technology, you can watch and be updated on soccer news from all over the globe. No matter where you are.
One club in that has a big following in the Woodbridge area, is Serie A club Internazionale, who have over 200 fans get together and watch every match. ‘Inter Club Toronto’ was created 12 years ago and was founded on the idea of getting together to talk about soccer and sports, and to also give back to the community.
“We meet here at Market Lane and we watch the game together,” said Inter Club Toronto president Rocco Cerone. “We have a coffee, a bottle of water, and talk about soccer and sports in general.”
Cerone and the members of the Inter Club Toronto don’t just get together and watch soccer. They are also very involved in the community. They start fundraisers and have parties during the summer, and give the proceeds to charities.
“We do fundraisers as well. We have two parties. One in the summer at Boyd Park, we bring over 400 people, and a gala during Valentine’s [Day],” said Cerone. “We raised funds for handicapped people and make donations to charities that are in need.”
Both Cerone and Tobin have clubs they support overseas. In the past, that could have been hard to follow, but now with the internet connecting us all, following your favourite soccer club from wherever is easy to do.
“We got all the information at the same time as people in Europe. With the internet and everything it’s easier,” said Cerone.
“I think the future is very bright. I just hope carriers and distributors don’t get too greedy about the content,” said Tobin.