How Toronto FC rescued itself from misery, carved out a niche, and became a true alternative franchise in North America’s most crowded sports market.
From Toronto FC’s inception, the club and their fans did things their own way. When Danny Dichio scored the first goal in franchise history, fans at BMO Field threw their seat cushions onto the field in ecstasy. It looked as though TFC had a bright future ahead of it, but what followed instead was eight seasons of poor results, mismanagement, and misery.
Still, TFC fans never wavered, building the most unique atmosphere in Toronto sports. When it seemed TFC weas destined to become an afterthought in a city crowded with teams, the club carved out a niche by creating a winning culture unlike anything Toronto had ever seen, bringing a championship to the city in 2017.
Come on You Reds takes fans behind the scenes, from the inception of TFC, through the team’s lowest years, and finally, to the story of how management arguably built the best team in Major League Soccer history.
Joshua Kloke is a sports and music journalist whose work has been published by Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Sportsnet, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail. He currently covers Toronto FC and the Toronto Maple Leafs for the Athletic. He lives in Toronto.
A compelling tale of how Toronto FC went from being the most tediously tragic franchise in Major League Soccer to capturing not just their first MLS Cup, but the imagination of a city too. Kloke does an excellent job of conveying how exasperation finally led to euphoria, and all the bits in between. There are parts of this story that defy belief, but TFC’s tale serves as a reminder to all soccer fans of all teams - always believe.
How does one sum up a lifetime? In Come on You Reds, Joshua Kloke just does that for Toronto FC, navigating the tumultuous history of the club from perennial punchline to MLS Champions and beyond. Deftly highlighting the essential moments, both on and off the pitch, Kloke unearths innumerable stories and insights that will be revelatory to even the most ardent of TFC fans. In it's elemental tale, the birth of a club, struggling to find an identity and launch itself into the world's game, it is a must read for all TFC, MLS, and soccer fans.
Joshua Kloke captures the feeling of those years, of being a Toronto FC supporter and living through a trajectory that kept getting worse, until it didn’t anymore. His tumbling style and excellent behind-the-scenes access combine to create a brilliant book that’s … essential reading for Toronto FC supporters.
Over its first decade of existence, Toronto FC managed to bring the full spectrum of sporting experience to its fervent fan base. Come On You Reds manages to take the reader inside both the club, as well as its fandom. From the birth of an idea, through the years of mismanagement to finally getting it all right in glorious fashion, Joshua Kloke describes just how Toronto FC became the pin-up club of Major League Soccer.
From the moment the club was first dreamed up in 2005 through their treble triumph in 2017, Toronto FC has consistently been at the vanguard of pushing Major League Soccer forward. The results haven’t always pretty, but TFC has almost always been ahead of the curve in terms of support, willingness to spend and, at least since 2015, results. In Come On You Reds, Kloke chronicles the club’s birth, those long years of mismanagement and misguided ambition, its rise and ultimate triumph in a way that will entertain and inform the most ardent TFC supporters, casual Toronto sports fans and fans of other MLS clubs alike. This isn’t just a story about a team – this is a book about how, if it’s done right, an MLS club can become a continental power and a true part of the fabric of their city."
Joshua Kloke's account of the many ups and downs of Toronto FC's first decade of existence should be considered required reading for any player, coach, administrator or fan with a stake in Canadian soccer. Kloke details the phenomenon of TFC's loyal, unwavering support, its many futile attempts to build a winning product and its recent rise into one of the continent's soccer powerhouses. There are important lessons to be learned in the club's successes and failures alike and Come On You Reds shines an in-depth and well-researched but also highly accessible light on them.