YORK REGION – We’re close enough now to Saturday’s inaugural Canadian Premier League match that we can start counting the remaining time in hours.
For York9 FC’s supporters’ group Generation IX, the big day starts a few hours earlier than most – 9 a.m., to be exact, when the club’s bus trip will set off for Hamilton from York Region.
Tim Hortons Field will be jam-packed for the game between Forge FC and the visiting York9, and Generation IX’s members are ensuring that Hamilton’s Barton St. Battalion won’t be the only ones in full voice.
“We’re confident that we can cancel the home crowd and out-sing them for large stretches,” says Daniel Salinovic, one of the group’s original members. “Quality is always better than quantity.”
With about 1,000 away fans in total expected to make the journey to Hamilton, there’s sure to be a noticeable patch of green amid the sea of orange.
Generation IX won’t divulge exactly what they have planned for Saturday, preferring the element of surprise … but they say there’s a lot in the works. They’ve got original chants that they’ve been practising for a while now, and they expect to be as raucous as ever for all 90 minutes.
“We intend to bring a carnival-like atmosphere,” Salinovic said. “We’re excited to showcase what our region can do on a national level. A 90-minute mentality is what we seek from members, loudest while losing. Our club is a celebration, the scoreline is secondary to that.”
It’s almost a year now since Generation IX first introduced themselves to the rest of the country at York9 FC’s unveiling last May. In that time, they’ve seen their club grow from a crest and an ownership group to a full-fledged professional outfit ready to contend for a championship.
Now, their job is to help put York9 on the map with their support. Salinovic thinks the uniqueness of their home will be a major boon to that effort.
“We’re eager to show why we’re different from other clubs,” Salinovic said. “The multiculturalism of York Region allows us to draw influence from different styles of support and blend it in a way that’s true to this land.”
Indeed, soccer support is different in cultures all over the world, and most of those cultures are represented in York Region – something Generation IX is proud of.
Aside from kicking off for the first time with three points at stake, Salinovic is excited to foster York9’s rivalry with their Ontario opponents. They’re a natural archenemy by virtue of geography, but the group believes it’ll quickly develop into more than that.
Some York9 fans have eyed Forge’s first-round bye in the Canadian Championship with envy, for example.
“We’ve come to dislike Forge,” Salinovic admitted. “We hope this leads to more rivals emerging in Ontario and beyond; Canadian soccer will only be better because of it.”
Regardless of the result on Saturday, the members of Generation IX intend to put their stamp on the occasion. Everyone involved is making history, and no small part of that is the fans coming all the way out to Hamilton to witness it.
“The time for talk is over,” Salinovic concluded. “Let’s see who can really bring it.”
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