By Giancarlo Aulino
On the second of episode of Beyond the Game, VIBE Correspondent Giancarlo Aulino speaks with Stephen (Steve) Gennaro, PhD - Professor, Department of Humanities and Department of Communication Studies at York University and host of Toronto Football Club Talk.
During the interview, Steve discussed Toronto Football Club (TFC)’s historic MLS season, how the team matches up with the other top clubs competing in the CONCACAF Champions League, and the #ProRelForUSA movement in the United States.
Giancarlo: How are you today?
Steve: It’s been a bitter recovery process from the weekend, it was very exciting and the celebration after the match lasted many hours into many days. And finally with the parade over now and the end of season press-conferences all done, the off-season has officially begun so looking forward to a bit of recovery time.
Giancarlo: Steve, last time we spoke, TFC were coming off that heartbreaking loss to Seattle in the MLS Cup Final. Fast-forward to today and TFC are reigning MLS Cup champions. As a media member and supporter of this team for so long, what was the atmosphere like? And what impressed you most about the game?
Steve: Well, the atmosphere was incredible. It was electric. It was spectacular. So much has been said about the supporters for TFC all throughout the mainstream media. We’ve heard this narrative over the past weeks continuously. Even at the parade, you hear the management and ownership speaking about how much the supporters mean to this club, and we’ve heard it from the players too. It was something special to be a part of in person, to be there, but even to be a supporter of the team in general and to follow them over the last year, the last couple of seasons have been exciting. I think it all became very real. It all came together in that final moment when Jozy scores that goal, sixty seventh minute, and I think that was sort of the release at that point of the tension that had built up for many years.
Eleven seasons for TFC, the first nine of them really quite arguably horrible, with a couple of nice moments in between, before finally in season 10 making it to the MLS Cup and then the heartbreaking loss. To see the team return with the dedication and form that they had all the way to the final, and then persevering all the way through, finishing off the best season ever…we’ve heard it before, they won the Voyageurs Cup, the Canadian Championship, they set the most points in a single season for any MLS team winning the Supporters Shield with sixty – nine points. But then to really have the fortitude to see it all the way through to the very end, and to win the MLS Cup - and in the fashion that they did, in complete domination of Seattle, I think it’s just really impressive and says a lot about this club and the players that are on this club.
Click here for the complete interview.