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Ottawa, it’s time to unleash your Fury

By Josh Lemoine on April 17, 2014

A little piece of sporting history is going to made on Saturday, when Ottawa Fury FC takes the field at Carleton University for their first North American Soccer League home game, and you should be a part of it.

For those who don’t know, the NASL is a professional soccer league that competes at the second-highest level on the continent, just below Major League Soccer.  Fury FC will bring the total number of pro soccer teams in Canada to five (FIVE!), following Toronto FC, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact of the MLS, as well as Canadian NASL rivals FC Edmonton.

Canadians are proving this country can support the sport at the professional level, making it a very exciting time to be a soccer fan.  There are more youths playing soccer than hockey in Canada, and the gap is getting wider.

If you’ve been lucky enough to see a pro soccer game in person, chances are you’ve raved about the experience to anyone who would listen.  The songs, the screaming, the atmosphere, the occasional *cough* amateur pyrotechnics, it’s something that you’ll rarely find in any other sport.

A big reason for this is the prominence of supporters groups: organized die-hards who attend every game, and arrange functions in support of their team.  Getting involved with these groups may be the best way for any soccer fan, long-time or first-time, to get the most out of the live experience.

Lucky for Fury FC, there are already three supporters groups registered in Ottawa, and they’re all looking for people to join in the fun.

bytown boys 2The Bytown Boys SC is the most established of the three groups, having already been organized supporters of the now defunct Capital City FC team.  For all home games they are planning marches from the O-Train station at Carleton to the stadium.  This route will change once Fury FC moves to its permanent at a refurbished Lansdowne.

They also plan on holding as many viewing parties as possible at local pubs, be it Fury away games, MLS, NASL, NWSL or Canadian national team games.

Fostering a love and passion for the sport seems to be the clubs main goal, whether people want to become members or not.  “‘When I am with the group, I feel like I am part of something,” says Bytown Boys member Stephane Brisson-Merrick.

stony mondayStony Monday Riot say they are driven by the passion and creativity of their diverse members, who run the gamut from derby girls, to office workers, to musicians, who all just want to watch and enjoy a game of footie.  Their songs and chants are all originals by current members.

SMR will be meeting before games at Original Burger Joint in the Glebe, not only because it’s close to Fury FC’s eventual permanent home at Lansdowne, but also because it is a locally owned business which serves local craft beers. Supporting the Ottawa community in general is an important part of what Stony Monday Riot is about.

Stony Monday Riot have also made a point to foster an inclusive atmosphere in Ottawa and across the league by getting in contact with supporters groups from other cities.

fury ultrasFury Ultras was founded by three former Montreal Impact Ultras, so their club certainly has experience behind them.  So far they have secured some season tickets and have ordered car flags and high-quality soccer shirts with the clubs very cool logo on the front: Cerberus, the three-headed hell-dog.

Christian Marcoux of Fury Ultras says his group chose the image because it “implies the we are the keepers of Hell and all the Furies.”

These supporters clubs are not in competition with each other.  In fact, they have already been sharing and learning each others songs so any group can take the lead at any time so no one group dominates the stands.

There is also no fee to join any group.  The only thing required is a passion for soccer, and, if you’re new, the desire to learn more about it.

Ottawa Fury FC plays their first home game against Minnesota United FC at 3 pm on Saturday, April 19, at Carleton University.  This will be their temporary home field until they move to their permanent home at TD Place this summer.

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