TORONTO — Kyle Porter’s imagination was already running moments after learning his York9 FC will play Forge FC at Tim Hortons Field in the inaugural Canadian Premier League match on April 27.
“I see half the stadium in green and the other half orange,” envisioned Porter, who was already imagining a large group of York9 supporters making the 45-minute trip to Hamilton.
The league announced the inaugural match Tuesday, giving two Ontario rivals the honour of playing the historic first match.
“Now that it’s finally been announced, it feels unbelievable,” Porter continued. “I can’t wait to start off against a team we consider rivals.
“It’s the right game to start the league with. We want to make it a rivalry. I think there will be an ecstatic crowd with our travelling fans. It will make for a fantastic environment.”
Manny Aparicio already has big-game experience at Tim Hortons Field, playing for Canada during the 2015 PanAm Games. The 23-year-old anticipates a “great atmosphere” in Hamilton with some help from travelling Y9 supporters, of course.
“Even if there is a big crowd for the other team, it still pumps you up,” Aparicio said. “It would have been nice if it was at home, but going to a team where we’ll be able to take some crowd with us is incredible.
“Obviously, there is pressure here. It’s a little bit nerve-wracking. We still have a while to go but I’m excited.”
As players from the Golden Horseshoe, Porter and Aparicio are both looking forward to kicking off a professional league in their own backyard.
“It’s going to be emotional. There will be a lot of things running through our minds as players,” Porter said. “I’ll have every single person in my family there to support me. It’s everything I have ever dreamed of.”
With a sport in a history-making inaugural game on the horizon, players from both sides will be thinking they could be the one to make their mark come April.
“It’s one of the main things in your head. Players will be trying to be what Danny Dichio was to Toronto FC,” Aparicio said.
“There are a lot of things that have crossed my mind,” Porter admitted.
“It would be wonderful to be the first to score, be the first captain, everything. Every player’s dream is to leave a legacy like that.”