'We're due': Chant leader of Toronto FC fan club says team's time is now
This Saturday, when Toronto seeks vengeance for last year's heartbreaking loss to the Seattle Sounders, Chris Fizik will make sure fans give the visiting team an earful.
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Chris Fizik believes he's been at every Toronto FC home game since Day 1. But as the chant leader for the Red Patch Boys fan club, he never sees much of the action on the pitch.
"That's just the sacrifice for this role that I got into, and I'm OK with that," said Fizik. His day job is web development, but his passion is keeping the crowd animated at TFC games.
This Saturday, when the home team seeks vengeance for last year's heartbreaking loss to the Seattle Sounders, Fizik will make sure the visiting team gets an earful from the supporters at BMO Field.
It's forecast to be a chilly and snowy day, but that won't deter him.
"I'm doing all I can to protect my voice and get ready," he said, without revealing his secrets. "Stay warm; know what you got to wear on such a day. I'm hoping the cold weather is to our advantage but I don't know."
The Red Patch Boys is Toronto FC's biggest and oldest fan club, and Fizik said they're collaborating with other supporter groups to create large-scale displays for the game — from creating big banners and signs to co-ordinating the march toward the stadium to other pre-game activities.
The group is promising a full 90 minutes of non-stop singing, drumming and cheering, though the experience sometimes brings a heightened sense of either excitement or anxiety depending on how the game is going.
"Everyone has been nervous all week anticipating the big day," he said. "We're just adding to the environment. Sometimes things go wrong and people get angry, then we kind of channel that through chanting by getting louder or using angry chants. Just showing our team that we're right there with them."
While the game's result is anyone's guess, Fizik said it still feels surreal for both teams to make it that far twice in a row. Toronto may have been lucky last year, but this time is different, he said.
"This year the team has been on a mission," he said of Toronto FC's campaign, which saw them win the Supporters Shield trophy for finishing atop the league. "Now it's kind of like, no, we're due. We want this now."
How to watch:
TSN will broadcast the game at 3:30 p.m. There's also a viewing party right outside BMO Field at the corner of Liberty Street and Atlantic Avenue, with a $10 entrance fee that'll go to charity.
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