Hamilton Supporters Group Ready for Soccer and Canadian Premier League

By Davidson, Neil | The Canadian Press, September 22, 2017 | Go to article overview

Hamilton Supporters Group Ready for Soccer and Canadian Premier League


Davidson, Neil, The Canadian Press


Hamilton supporters group ready for soccer

--

TORONTO - While the Canadian Premier League is still taking shape, James Hutton is well ahead of the game.

Hutton is president of the Barton Street Battalion, a supporters group preparing for the return of soccer to Hamilton. Other groups across the country are doing the same, hoping their city will also get a team when the CPL kicks off.

Hutton, a 26-year-old with a degree in marketing, used to meet up with friends to watch Toronto FC games locally in Hamilton. But when talk of a Canadian domestic league surfaced, with Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young a key backer, the group switched focus.

"Within the group, we all said 'Would we support Hamilton over Toronto?' and the unanimous answer was yes," Hutton said.

In February 2016, Hutton's group sat down with the Ticats to talk soccer. There wasn't a lot of knowledge to share but it spurred the group on. They came up with a logo, scarves and a name -- the Barton Street Battalion, after the main road that passes by Tim Hortons Field.

"It's just a collection of soccer fans who all believe in making Hamilton a soccer city," Hutton said.

Paul Beirne, who was a Day 1 staffer with Toronto FC, is overseeing the creation of the CPL. He says the Barton Street Battalion is part of a wave of supporters groups that want to be part of their team and its culture.

"James, to his credit, has become a resource to these groups all across the country," said Beirne.

Winnipeg, the other city already promised a CPL franchise, has its own supporters' group called Red River Rising.

And there are supporters groups in Calgary, Fraser Valley, B.C., Halifax (Wanderers), Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. (Grand River Union), London, Ont., Mississauga, Ont. (Sauga City Collective), Quebec City, Regina (Pile O Bones), Saskatoon (Bridge City Firm) and Toronto.

Fans in Edmonton and Ottawa are watching to see whether FC Edmonton (North American Soccer League) and Ottawa Fury FC (United Soccer League) remain with their current leagues.

"It's not just about 'my local club in Winnipeg,' it's also about the good of the game across the country," said Beirne. …

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