Red Patch Boy tracks the beautiful game

Queen’s library worker keeps pace with Kingston soccer scene, seeks to spur sport’s national growth

Kingston native Alex Fletcher took local soccer coverage into his own hands with his blog ‘Support Local Soccer.’
Kingston native Alex Fletcher took local soccer coverage into his own hands with his blog ‘Support Local Soccer.’
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The disheveled red Toronto FC tuque looked older than its years.

Alex Fletcher wears it with pride as one of the Red Patch Boys — a Toronto FC fan dating back to the team’s creation in 2007. Currently working with Discovery Systems at Queen’s Libraries, the 38-year old Kingston native is all soccer, straight to his core.

Fletcher’s perhaps better known for his Kingston soccer blog entitled “Support Local Soccer,” covering Queen’s varsity teams, Greater Kingston league games and beyond.

“It’s something I really believe in, and nobody in Kingston writes about soccer in Kingston,” Fletcher told the Journal. “You never see it [in the news], but we’ve got one of the best university teams in Canada with women’s soccer, and one of the best in Ontario with men’s.”

He fills what he deems a nagging void, covering important games while boasting an inside scoop on soccer matters on the national scale. He’s Kingston’s lone soccer reporter, and he’s fully cognizant as to why.

“It’s not hockey and it’s not football,” he said. “The local news, papers like the Whig used to be about local sports first — then the other stuff. It was a different time.”

The part-time referee, goalie and league administrator still gives back to the game. Lack of local coverage and a deep-seeded love for the game have both led Fletcher to write for three years and running.

“The only news stories I’ve seen covered in the past 10-12 years … are actually stories I’ve written as press releases from our league,” Fletcher said, minus the Ambassador Cup Youth tournament covered every year.

His time spent in Toronto with the Red Patch Boys was eye-opening. Toronto FC was born in 2007, along with unparalleled support for local soccer in North America.

The club sold out its tickets in its first three seasons, thanks in part to two supporter groups: The Red Patch Boys and U-Sector.

U-Sector used to be a fan group of the Toronto Lynx, dominating the Section U of the old Toronto Varsity Stadium, before it was rebuilt.

“The Red Patch Boys was started up specifically with Toronto FC, named after a first Canadian Regiment from the First World War,” Fletcher said. “And the [Toronto FC] logo is completely based off the regiment.”

The estimated 500 Red Patch Boys were part of the 4,000 fans that trekked to Montreal for the Impact’s home opener against Toronto FC. Fletcher said that game doubled Toronto’s previous league-wide record of visiting fans.

“You get the mix of fans that are there for the game and those just there to party — kind of like Homecoming on Aberdeen, as an example.”

In Kingston, Fletcher doesn’t expect the fan base to suddenly blow up. With Kingston FC entering their second season in the Canadian Soccer League, he’ll just keep writing.

“Something like ‘Support Local Soccer’ isn’t running on the number of hits it gets. It’s all about the information that gets out there,” he said.

“If I write a story that 55 people read, that’s 55 people who know and I feel good about that.”

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