I always associate Toronto with two things: inordinately polite people and that gentlemanly prog-rock band, Rush. So the last thing that I would associate with the City of Toronto would be soccer hooliganism.
Now let me clarify that I’m not calling Toronto FC fans hooligans, but accusations have been batted about. These are, without a doubt the most passionate fans in Major League Soccer (in my opinion at least). It’s just that in the vast plethora of American sports, and in our early genesis of American Professional Soccer, this use of the “H” word is rushed and wildly inaccurate.
Now there is (and always has been) violence among American/Canadian sports spectators. I’ve been to enough Yankee-Mets games to attest to that! But I usually qualify American fan violence under the category of “drunks beating the crap out of one another”. A sort of Darwinism in action.
Hooliganism is something different – it’s organized and terrifying. It takes its roots in a myriad of social ills, albeit abetted by alcohol. The Hooliganism that made England famous is virtually extinct now but it still exists in parts of Eastern Europe and South American on a scale that makes it something an average American spectator couldn’t stomach.
Either way, perhaps to elicit better behavior from their faithful, Toronto FC should a adopt a badge that doesn’t look like a modified advert for Molson Canadian Lager.