The city of Toronto has been reeling ever since the sickening attack on pedestrians at Yonge and Finch, which left 10 people dead and 15 more injured. It’s at times like these when we turn to sport — it’s our escape; it brings us together when the days are darkest.
Games can seem silly when the world is so troubling, but often they’re what we need. Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs gave the city a boost it needed. Tomorrow night, Toronto FC are hoping to represent their city abroad, and give its people another thing to smile about when smiles are all too rare.
Michael Bradley and Greg Vanney understand that completely. In their press conference earlier today ahead of TFC’s CONCACAF Champions League final match against C.D. Guadalajara tomorrow night, both of them spoke extremely highly of their adopted home, as well as all the heroes that emerged from yesterday’s events.
This team’s leaders, as they always seem to, were eloquent and poignant in their comments. The captain’s full statement is strong enough that it needs to be read in full:
“I think for all of us, being here yesterday, following what was going on back in Toronto was heartbreaking. Greg touched on things very well; Toronto is an incredible city, multicultural, vibrant, one of the best cities in the world. To see and read and hear and watch what was going on yesterday is not easy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, to their families, to their friends, and we’re gonna step out on the field tomorrow night and play in a way where everybody back home in Toronto is proud.
On the flip side, with everything that went on yesterday, I couldn’t have been more proud seeing the way first responders, emergency medical teams, policemen, the way they responded to such a terrible situation. The actual video of the policeman arresting the suspect yesterday was like nothing I’ve ever seen. The bravery to act in the way that he did, it made me proud to call Toronto home. Like I said, when we get our chance tomorrow night we’re gonna see if we can do something special, make it a night that everybody watching back home can be proud of.”
The quotes above come from Victor Araiza’s video of the press conference, which you can watch below.
Coach Vanney, as well, said that TFC are hoping to make Toronto proud tomorrow night:
“From us and from our club, our thoughts and prayers and well-wishes go out to the families and loved ones of everyone involved. It was a mindless act yesterday in Toronto, I’ll further that by saying in all my years of coaching and playing this game I’ve been to many, many cities around the world and Toronto is one of the greatest cities I’ve ever been – safest, people are tolerant, and despite some comments the police are amazing. It’s a wonderful city.
To see something like that go down in Toronto was shocking for all of us but it shows there are mindless people everywhere and it can happen. We will go out tomorrow and we will compete, it’s just another reason for us to give one ounce more tomorrow than maybe we thought the day before. We look forward to going out and representing the city and to try to bring joy back in whatever way we can tomorrow night.”
We’ve seen over the past couple years how much the city of Toronto means to this club’s players and staff. This is no exception.
Everything Bradley and Vanney said is bang on; this is indeed a wonderful city, with genuine heroes defending it.
Go get ‘em tomorrow, boys. For Toronto.