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Toronto soccer gets A Kick to the Head at View Points
Screening & Discussion at Harbourfront Centre - October 16, 2008

2007 was a very good year for soccer in Canada. Canada's most popular amateur sport (850,000 registered players in 2007) also became Canada's largest single sport event (FIFA U-20 World Cup 2007 attendance of nearly 1.2 million spectators) and saw the astounding launch of the Toronto FC (who sold out every home game in the 20,522 seat BMO Field). Now that soccer has taken the centre stage in Canadian sports, what has been its impact on our culture and community?

Harbourfront Centre's View Points series gives Toronto soccer a verbal kick to the head on October 16. The event includes a screening of A Kick To The Head - a documentary on the power and influence of soccer in Toronto hosted by Dave Bidini and directed by Mike Downie for the CBC. Following the screening, participants from the film join Bidini in a discussion that explores the importance of soccer in their lives and cultures.

Panelists include Abdi Warsame (Youth Coordinator at Canadian Somali Congress), Paul Gregory (Manager of Canada’s Homeless World Cup Team) and Radio UNO host, Irene Zerbini. Current Toronto FC Captain Jim Brennan (who from 1996 to 2006 played in England's First and Second Divisions and Premier League) will also be part of the panel.

The evening begins with a special screening of Who Cheers for Canada, a short documentary that explores soccer and it's connection with Canada's cultural mosaic. Produced by the Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre and shot during the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the video explores why people who have made Canada their home don't cheer and celebrate Canada's soccer team in the same way as they might celebrate other internationally known teams. Onik Khan, a resident of Regent Park who helped direct and produce the video will also join the discussion following the screening of A Kick To The Head.

A Kick to the Head takes place at Harbourfront Centre's Brigantine Room Thursday October 16, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. ($5 at the door, tickets also available in advance online). View Points is a contemporary culture discussion series focusing on cultural issues and local, national and international current affairs.

For public information and tickets call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com. Harbourfront Centre is located 235 Queen's Quay West, Toronto.

The next View Points event takes place on November 12, 2008 (admission $5) at Harbourfront Centre. More Than Bows and Arrows is an exploration and discussion (by prominent Ontario Aboriginal cultural figures) of historical Aboriginal misconceptions and stereotypes and artist responses to these false identities.

View Points' Panelist Biographies:

Dave Bidini is a Canadian musician and writer and a founding member the Rheostatics - who delighted fans and critics across the nation for more than two decades while defining the best of Canadian Indie Rock. He has published several books about music and sports. His documentary I Am a Hockey Nomad (based on his book Tropic of Hockey) won a Gemini Award while Baseballissimo was picked as a "Notable Book" by USA Today. More info at www.davebidini.ca

Jim Brennan is a native of Newmarket, Ontario, and has competed in 49 international contests for Canada's national soccer team - second among active players in the organization. The current Captain of Toronto FC previously played 10 seasons in England in the First and Second Divisions and in the Premier League from 1996 to 2006, one of only a handful of Canadian players to ever achieve this level of success. In 2007 he played in all 27 Toronto FC games and was named to the MLS All-Star inactive roster and was named Toronto FC’s ‘Defender of the Year’. Brennan shared MVP honours with Carl Robinson. In 2008 he was named to the MLS All-Star squad who won the first MLS All-Star Game to be played in Canada at BMO Field.

Paul Gregory worked within the Forensic Mental Health field for 20 years for the St. Leonard’s Society (Peel) and Houselink Community Homes (Toronto) before working within a Municipal framework setting strategy and policy for addressing homelessness and housing challenges. He received a Masters degree from the University of Toronto and is currently Manager of Canada’s yearly team entry into the Homeless World Cup of Soccer. More info at www.homelessworldcup.org

Onik Khan is a 16 year old resident of Regent Park who participated in the Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre's 2007 summer program and helped direct and produce the Who Cheers for Canada short documentary. The Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Center is dedicated on the use of media to empower young people. For more information visit www.regentparkfocus.com

Abdi Warsame was born in Mogadishu, Somalia and lived next door to Somalian soccer legend Ahmed Abdikarim Mohamed, better known as Antar. At 15 Abdi was selected to play on one of Somalia's top teams (Wagad), the same team that made Antar a Somalian soccer superstar. In 1986, Abdi immigrated to Canada with his uncle and is currently married with three children. He now works as the Youth Coordinator at the Canadian Somali Congress.

Irene Zerbini has worked in journalism since 1989. Starting her career in Milan she worked as a national reporter at TG5 and TG4 and then on investigative news programs for RAI in Rome and later as a reporter at TG1, Italy's number one newscast. Moving to Canada in 1998, she has since hosted programs at TLN, OMNI and CHIN Radio and is currently News Director at Radio Uno/CHSC1220 and a correspondent for Radio24 (Milan) and Baobab (RadioRAI), both in Italy.
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Media contact: Shane Gerard - Ph: 416-973-4518 or sgerard@harbourfrontcentre.com


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