Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 11/6/2018 (753 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A contingent of soccer fanatics are preparing their battle songs for the day Valour FC takes the pitch in Winnipeg.
Red River Rising is the supporters group for the city’s new Canadian Premier League professional men’s soccer team, Valour Football Club. On June 6, about two dozen Red River Rising members, clad in red and white and armed with horns and drums, marched from Nicolino’s Restaurant to Investors Group Field where the Winnipeg Football Club and the Canadian Premier League officially announced the launch Valour FC.
On the pitch, the raucous group lauded Wade Miller, chief executive officer of the Winnipeg Football Club, and David Clanachan, commissioner of the Canadian Premier League, as the pair introduced Valour FC’s crest and colours, and chants of "Take my money!" spilled forward from the group as the team’s merchandise was revealed.
Christopher Raposo, a founding member of the supporters group, said when he caught wind of rumours a professional soccer league was on its way to Winnipeg he immediately got on board with the idea. The U10 Bonivital boys soccer coach and men’s league player connected with Adam Johnston and Nicky Cottee, two equally enthusiastic soccer fans, and began plotting a supporters group for Winnipeg’s team.
Like the massive supporters groups in Europe that fill entire sections of stadiums and remain standing and singing for their team for a full 90 minutes, Red River Rising is committed to seeing Valour FC succeed in Winnipeg, Raposo said. The group also wants to promote the local talent set to populate Valour’s roster, both on game days and throughout the year, and lead the enthusiasm for the club.
"The mission is to make sure we grow support for soccer in the community, and what we want to be and what we want to accomplish is an identity that is the loudest supporters group for (Valour FC)," Raposo said. "What we want to do is leave a positive impression before the game with activities like marches to the stadium, and during the game in the stands, we’ll be singing, with drums and flags, and positive — hopefully funny — chants."
Promoting the new club isn’t just for fun, Raposo pointed out. It’s also critical for young soccer players.
"The big thing is to make sure the team is supported so youth can see that there is an opportunity for them in soccer locally," he said.
The latest updates on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.
"I know kids that play hockey see a Jets or a Moose game and think maybe I can do that one day. That’s what we’re going to have for soccer players."
Across the country, three other CPL teams have been announced — the HFX Wanderers (in Halifax), York 9 FC (Toronto), and Cavalry FC (Calgary) — and local supporters groups are quickly organizing around the new clubs, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.
Cottee, a River Heights resident, said Red River Rising is looking for more people to join its ranks and expects to see more of Winnipeg’s soccer community get involved now the club is official.
"This is really exciting because Canadian players are going to get so many development opportunities, and I’ve never ever in my life lived in a city with a professional soccer team," she said. "It’s been a bit of a slow struggle getting the rest of the city to believe. That’s why today has been so exciting.
"I really feel like this is a city where people come out and support the teams," Cottee added. "I believe people who aren’t soccer fans are going to come out and enjoy the experience."
Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.
To those who have made donations, thank you.
To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.
The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.
After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.
If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.
We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.