“We took our son to his first game when he was 21 days old”: TFC supporters on what makes them the team’s biggest fans

“We took our son to his first game when he was 21 days old”: TFC supporters on what makes them the team’s biggest fans

Members of the Red Patch Boys sing the national anthem before Toronto FC's match against the Montreal Impact last week.

Toronto FC hasn’t always been known for its prowess on the pitch: it took the team four games just to score their first goal, and nine seasons to make the playoffs. But one thing was never an issue: TFC fans, who have stayed loyal (and loud) since 2007. This year, they’re getting rewarded for their dedication. The team is in the middle of its deepest playoff push ever and, tonight, they play the second and final leg of a series against the Montreal Impact. With a win, they could advance to the Major League Soccer final. We spoke to steadfast devotees from three of TFC’s supporter factions during last week’s match and asked them to share their fan bona fides.

TFC_torontolife-main-7685 Red Patch Boys Sal Sindoni, left, and Jonathan Vieira react to a blown call during TFC’s first game against Montreal.
 

Red Patch Boys

Sections: 111 and 112 • Photographed at Shoeless Joe’s (King and Dufferin)

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Justin Bernard, 39

How long have you been a fan?
“Since day one, and a season-ticket holder since 2010.”

What makes you TFC’s biggest fan?
“The game against Columbus, one of TFC’s biggest rivals, in 2014. They were up 1-0 and there was this torrential downpour. Most of the fans left, but the southwest section, we stayed—there must have been 1,000 of us left—and we were drenched. We ended up coming back to win the game 2-1. That was the best game ever.”

 

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David Miller, 57

How long have you been a fan?
“Since before the beginning.”

What makes you TFC’s biggest fan?
“I built the stadium. Most things in politics are ‘we’ but that was all ‘me.’”

What makes this playoff run so special?
“When TFC started, it was magic because of the fans’ relationship with the players. The fans have been believing in the team for 10 years, and to finally get a chance at the championship, it’s just magic.”

 

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Nancy Miranda, 48

How long have you been a fan?
“Since day one.”

What makes you TFC’s biggest fan?
“I was born in Portugal, so I was raised on soccer. I’ve got a seat and my dad has a seat. He comes to every game with me. It’s good bonding time.”

 

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Kyle Stewart, 41

How long have you been a fan?
“Since day one.”

What makes you TFC’s biggest fan?
“I’m a graphic designer, and I had a design I made put on a Red Patch Boys scarf. I also designed the Supporter’s Shield, [the award handed out to the top-ranked team during the MLS regular season].”

 

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Dave Saad, 38, and Sky Saad, 12

How long have you been fans?
“Since 2011, back when Ashtone Morgan was their best player.”

What has been your favourite moment as a TFC fan?
Sky: “It’s been a lot of fun hanging out with my dad.”
Dave: “It’s been really great to have something special that we share as father and son.”

 

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Mike Langevin, 37

How long have you been a fan?
“Since day one.”

What makes you TFC’s biggest fan?
“I was at there when they announced the team name. I snuck in the back door.”

What makes this playoff run so special?
“There are fans who have invested a lot in this team. Right now, we’re getting it back. It’s been a long time coming.”

 

Inebriatti

Section: 114 • Photographed at Shoeless Joe’s (King and Dufferin)

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Cory Laliberte, 30

How long have you been a fan?
“Since day one. I threw my seat cover on the pitch when Danny Dichio scored TFC’s first goal.”

What makes this playoff run so special?
“As a Toronto sports fan, I’m used to heartbreak, but right now this is an incredible feeling. What a run we’re having. This is our time—we’re going to do it.”

 

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Jess Disidio, 28

How long have you been a fan?
“Five years. The last three years, I’ve been to every game.”

What makes you TFC’s biggest fan?
“I sing the loudest.”

 

TFC_torontolife-main-7797 Kings in the North members watch in suspense as TFC makes a late push in their first game against the Montreal Impact.
 

Kings in the North

Section 116 • Photographed at the Wheat Sheaf Tavern (King and Bathurst)

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Henry Doyle, 3 (with parents Michelle and Dylan)

How long have you been fans?
Michelle: “Henry went to his first game when he was 21 days old.”

What makes Henry TFC’s biggest fan?
Michelle: “[We’re founding members of Kings in the North], so it’s become a family activity. When Henry misses a game, he’s devastated.”

 

 

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Soner Kartel, 59, Rosa Castillo, 50, and son Kamil Kartel, 17

How long have you been fans?
“Since day one.”

What makes you TFC’s biggest fans?
Soner: “I’m Toronto ’til I die. And I have a football background—I come from Turkey.”

What has been your favourite moment as a fan?
Kamil: “When we made the playoffs for the first time last year. Giovinco scored the winning goal in the 60th minute. He flew in from Italy that day to play. He didn’t even go to the hotel for a shower. He went straight to the game. It just shows his dedication to the sport.”

 

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Tyson Porcellato, 31

How long have you been a fan?
“I’ve been a season’s ticket holder for four years.”

What has been your favourite moment as a TFC fan?
“I went to a game three days after my nonno died. When the players came around to salute the fans after the game, Dave Pinto, Kings in the North’s captain and one of our founding members, told defender Nick Hagglund what had happened. He pulled me onto the field, gave me a hug, a jersey and some some words of wisdom. It was awesome.”