May is done, and we wrap up our MLS team-by-team recruitment for our Allies List with another team with seven, Toronto FC.
Toronto made an amazing You Can Play video last year with lots of participants speaking multiple languages in addition to players joining our list in other ways. Their seven are Justin Braun, Richard Eckersley, Logan Emory, Stefan Frei, Darren O’Dea, Ryan Richter, and Luis Silva. Braun also posed for NOH8 with Philadelphia’s Michael Lahoud when both were at Chivas USA.
One year ago today, our friends at the You Can Play Project got started with their groundbreaking video, “The Faceoff,” telling gay athletes that an ability to play is the only thing that matters on the field, ice, or court.
Over the last twelve months, they have produced videos with that message delivered by other professional hockey players, student athletes, and television broadcasters.
They have also produced videos with teams in Major League Soccer: DC United and Toronto FC, featuring Mike Chabala, Darren O’Dea, Richard Eckersley, Stefan Frei, Torsten Frings, Eric Hassli, Milos Kocic, Paul Mariner, Ben Olsen, Chris Pontius, Thomas Rongen, and Luis Silva.
Well if you think the Canadians are boring, I say to you “humbug*” because last night Toronto FC released a great new primary kit.
If you couldn’t tell from my disappointment in the new Houston jersey, I’m a huge sucker for multi-hue fabric patterns and this new Toronto kit does it very well. The geometric shapes formed by diagonals that emanate from the lines of the trademark Canadian maple leaf are just plain awesome. The new charcoal grey stripes are also really nice new touches. Put all together, it’s incredibly visually interesting without becoming too busy.
After the first few snores from Houston and New York, it’s great to see some nice creative thinking coming from Colorado, Philadelphia, and Toronto.
*Yes this is a Canadian/British candy joke. My mom hunts them down every time we go to Canada. Bravo if you picked up on it before reading this footnote.
In addition to English, these players and coaching staff shared the You Can Play message in the languages from their home countries:
- Defender Richard Eckersley
- Goalkeeper Stefan Frei
- Midfielder Torsten Frings
- Forward Eric Hassli
- Goalkeeper Milos Kocic
- Head Coach Paul Mariner
- Defender Darren O’Dey
- Academy Director Thomas Rongen
- Midfielder Luis Silva
Toronto FC’s participation in You Can Play is a great testament to its commitment to the diversity of the city in which they play, and to all of the LGBT players, staff, and fans out there. Toronto also has a very special connection to You Can Play, with the Maple Leafs’ Brian Burke on the advisory board.
Thank you Toronto FC!
This post appears in its entirety at The MLS Reserves.
Torsten Frings is undoubtedly one of most recognizable figures in Major League Soccer. He’s a well-decorated player whose reputation precedes him, having won domestic league and cup titles in Germany, and winning a bronze medal at the 2006 World Cup. Once a world-class midfielder revered the world over, the Toronto FC fans quickly became enamored with their new potential superstar. They surely believed he’d be able to help lead the club to greatness with his combination of leadership, skill, and experience. Is the fans’ faith in Frings misplaced?
Since his arrival, Frings has just simply failed to deliver. In his “rookie” season in MLS, Frings managed just 1 assist in 13 games. Things haven’t gotten much better for Frings, nor for Toronto FC in 2012. Although scoring twice this season, his two assists as a central midfielder and ultimately the focal point of the entire squad is absolutely abysmal. One might argue that Frings simply isn’t an attacking minded player. While his role is mainly as a defensive midfielder he posted better offensive statistics for every other club he had ever played for, in a league far superior to MLS. Surely he should be succeeding at Toronto, with full backing of the fans, the FO and rarely playing less than 90 minutes a match. Yet there’s one major factor that is overlooked.
Check out the rest of Stephen’s post over at The MLS Reserves.
Several “red state” Major League Soccer teams have held pride night events in conjunction with their cities’ pride weeks, and it has some Toronto FC fans wondering, “If Kansas City and Houston can do it, why not us?”
TFC fan Paul Marhue digitally inked a pair of comic strips to express his feelings on Toronto FC’s lack of a pride night with a tooned out version of our Toronto correspondent John:
It’s been a while since I’ve written…mostly because there hasn’t been much to write here in Toronto FC-land.
The Aron Winter era ended about two weeks ago, and we’re on coach #7 (the one that should have come in about three slots before, if that Scotsman had his way), and we’re on a ship that is headed by someone who clearly wants no further part in the organization (and is awaiting his promotion to another part of the MLSE fiefdom) — let’s just say Euro 2012 has proven to be a welcome distraction.
This of course doesn’t distract us from the recent nightclub outing by three players (thankfully not including any of our three G4S allies) which resulted in some nice mugshots being taken, and the new Paul Mariner era opened with a 2-0 loss away to Sporting Kansas City, where the trademark carelessness cost TFC the early goals on the way to yet another loss.
I’m just at a loss for words as to what else to say…
What a first week of May it has been so far. We’ve looked to three teams for new Soccer Allies so far in May, and thirteen players have heard the call and signed on! Sporting Kansas City has gone from no players on the list to having the most players in the league represented.
Today we look at Toronto FC, also starting off the month with no players on the list, which John posted about earlier in the week. Since then we have heard from Toronto staffer Earl Cochrane who has joined the effort.
What players will join him? Help us Tweet at the players below and share the Allies pledge with them. Have them Tweet at @gay4soccer or use the #soccerally hash tag if they agree and we’ll keep this great month rolling!
(This post was inspired by a short Twitter conversation with SBNation writer Kevin McCauley, and based on the recent furor over Simon Borg’s comments during the April 30th edition of the ExtraTime Radio podcast — also posted on Waking The Red. )
Hey, how are ya? It’s me, John.
You probably don’t know me yet (or you never will…either way), but I am a huge TFC supporter. I’ve been that way for about six years now. I live in Calgary, which means I have to travel to a lot of TFC matches. In six years, I’ve been to almost all the stadiums on the West Coast, and wear my TFC swag proudly around town.
Oh, but there’s something you probably should know about me: I do bat for the other team…yep, queerer than a three dollar bill. AND I’m seeing someone, too — who doesn’t happen to be a soccer fan. I know, shocking right? I’ll give you a few moments to recover from the shock.
Anyway, where were we? Oh right…me. As I was saying, I’m seeing someone right now, who is a huge science fiction fan. I don’t claim to be an expert on shows like Battlestar Galatica, but does that make him less appealing to me? Nope. The opposite is true; he knows I am a sports fan, and knows about my TFC supporting ways. Does he have a problem with me spending my time writing and covering the team for SBNation? Heck, if he did…he would’ve dumped me right after my trip to LA for the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final.
I can take the 0-and-6 start, and I can accept the injuries plaguing the team. I can accept a lot, and have learned to do so in the six years of supporting this team.
What I can’t accept is my calls for recognizing a little equality from TFC falling on deaf ears, with no end in sight.
I’m sure this is one PR crisis that the team doesn’t need, but I’m doing it anyway. I’ve talked about it, I’ve tweeted about it…but again, nothing is ever done. Toronto (and in a sense, with the rejection of the far-right Wildrose Party in Alberta in last week’s election) the rest of Canada is one of the most diverse, accepting and welcoming countries on Earth.
Section 8 has made a wonderful supportive tifo, while the Whitecaps have shown homophobia the red card. But what has TFC and its supporters’ groups done so far? Nothing. (Unless someone can show me something.)
For a team that plays in a city that claims to be one of the most diverse and tolerant, that does not sit well with me. You may say I’m rather steamed, even. We have no on-the-record allies, and no movement to recognize and celebrate diversity. All there is — is talk. And more talk. This is a record that I will no longer sit here and say nothing about. It changes. NOW…and I need your help.