Going beyond the Pitch - What The Reds Mean to Me.

Toronto FC came into our lives ten years ago.  The passion we hold for the team is not only because we love our city, but because we love the sport they play.  Many of you probably have the same story as I do, coming from a family who didn't really get North American sports, but knew one game through and through - Football.  My dad coached, many of my childhood soccer teams.  He's the one that put a soccer ball in my hand and taught me how to play.  I still remember when I was 4, he put me in goal since everyone was rotating - well the one rule that stuck in my head as a four year old was you don't touch the ball with your hands.  No one told me the goalie was exempt from that rule, and so I tried saving the ball with my legs, and of course every shot was going in.  Now I play mostly goalie in the men's leagues I am in - go figure!

Over the 10 years of the Reds, I can remember the joy my dad gets in going to the games with me.  There's a point where the relationship between father and son, turns into just being buddies.  My dad is a sports fan, just like me, where no matter the level of soccer, he will want to watch.  I see him watching, and cheering on the Timbits soccer players during half time at BMO too.  The passion for the sport is in his blood! The first experience we had at BMO wasn't actually a TFC game.  My dad and I went to one of the matches at BMO (also known as the Canadian Soccer Stadium) during the 2007 FIFA Under 20 World Cup.  I remember him saying at that time, if a soccer team plays here, the stadium will be rocking.  He foretasted well - as we've shown MLS - Toronto FC supporters are the best fans in the league!

Now, the two guaranteed games my dad and I go to are the home opener and the season closing games.  When the schedule comes out, a message is sent to him to make sure he doesn't have anything going on during those two days! It's a commitment that's we've keep going since I've been a season seat holder.

It's true what they say, the supporter groups, or the season seat holders that are around you become friends, and are like family.  Thanks to Toronto FC, and the passion we both have for the team and sport, a father-son relationship that was already strong to begin with, became stronger by yelling, screaming, singing and clapping for our Reds!

That is what Toronto FC means with me - not the wins or loses (although important), but getting to spend an afternoon or evening cheering for the Reds with my dad!

Can't wait to be in 116 this year, and my dad is looking forward to cheering on the Reds from our new home in the South stands!

Ryan Kennedy