Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WE Sports - Catching Toronto's Soccer Fever

by Shami Maharaj

Look at two of WE beautiful Caribbean flags!

What a blessing it is to be a sports fanatic with a forum to express my opinion about WE sports. After last issue’s article on me missing the frenzy of Caribbean soccer, Duane DaSilva a reader and former business associate, felt my aching and contacted me with an opportunity to ease the pain. I really didn’t care to do another soccer commentary especially one about a newly created Toronto team. I know well of futile efforts to force-feed a limited Toronto soccer market, with no appetite for sub-standard savannah football. Thankfully, Duane relentlessly insisted that he host me at a Toronto Football Club home game and man was I in for a shocking and satisfying delight.

Toronto FC officially came into existence when awarded a franchise in October 2005 by Major League Soccer (MLS) the premier level of professional soccer in North America, yes, the league with David Beckham in it (Los Angeles Galaxy). Shortly thereafter Duane got drawn in with his idea of starting an Official Supporter Club to represent the Caribbean, African and Latin communities in the GTA. This was indeed a visionary, albeit daring undertaking, as there wasn’t even a venue for home games available yet and kick-off was still a year and a half away! Even so, Duane pressed full steam ahead and founded Tribal Rhythm Nation in time for the first home opener in April 2007, and with its’ mantra of ‘The Drums The Rhythms The Vibes’, TRN has continuously entertained a 45 seat section at BMO Field every home game since then.

Now let me define ‘entertain’ in this case, imagine this, MLS soccer on the field with non-stop footballing action back and forth, Talana Blu Tassa Boyz rollin’ up de tassa in a heavenly musical combination with Phoenix Revolution Steelband, African drums thumping out metrical pulses, SKF on de Cowbell and alternating engaging and melodious chants on the megaphone with Najja Caliber – including the one that had even the non-ethnic fans on their feet wining and singing, “TFC… WE WANT A GOAL! TFC… WE WANT A GOAL!” It was sweeeeeeet! I hear it gets even wilder sometimes when Uncle Mike and Farmers Rhythm Section come with dey Iron! Ah can’t wait!

The game itself was unexpectedly interesting. Of course with Toronto FC fielding Caribbean professionals Collin Samuel from Trinidad and Jeff Cunningham from Jamaica our section was buoyant from pre- kickoff. Both players were solid but failed to fuel us any further with a goal, the lone score came from local Toronto boy Maycoll Canizalez in a 2-1 loss to Columbus Crew. Watching Tyrone Marshall athletically defend the Toronto net though was enough to inspire my thunderous vocal contribution. Make sure to check out Marshall’s (14) game if you are lucky enough to secure tickets for the 2 remaining home games October 4th against the New York Red Bulls and October 20th versus New England Revolution.

Moreover, if you will be attending, you’d want to do so with the recognition of a true rabid Caribbean soccer fan, register for free at and send me an email for your chance to win 1 of 6 Official Tribal Rhythm Nation t-shirts. Don’t forget de chant either, make sure you represent, “TFC… WE WANT A GOAL!”

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