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HAILING FROM A SMALL TOWN IN THE SOUTH WEST OF ENGLAND. CLIVE TOYE COULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED THAT HIS LEGACY WOULD BE MADE 3,0000 MILES AWAY ACROSS THE POND IN AMERICA. QUICKLY RISING THE RANKS AS THE TOP BEAT SPORTS REPORTER IN LONDON. CLIVE WAS ONE DAY PRESENTED WITH A UNIQUE CHALLENGE . IT WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL INTO UNCHARTED TERRITORY AND TAKE ON THE DAUNTING TASK OF CONVINCING A NATION TO EMBRACE A GLOBAL GAME THAT THEY KNEW VERY LITTLE ABOUT.

50 YEARS IS QUITE A LONG TIME TO TRY AND CONVINCE SOMEONE OF ANYTHING, ESPECIALLY ONE SO STUBBORN, BUT IT WAS EVENTUALLY ACHIEVED. THIS NATION HAS GONE FROM PEOPLE NOT KNOWING WHAT A SOCCER BALL LOOKED LIKE, TO FILLING STADIUMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, PRODUCING GENERATIONAL TALENT, AND HAVING BOTH THE MENS AND WOMENS NATIONAL TEAMS COMPETE IN THE WORLD CUP. SOCCER IS A GAME FUELED ON PASSION AND LOVE AND ITS WITH THIS LOVE AND PASSION THAT LED CLIVE ALL THOSE YEARS AGO TO GET THE BALL ROLLING TO WHERE IT STANDS TODAY. 

 

CJ - WHEN YOU FIRST CAME TO AMERICA WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS ON THE STATE OF THE GAME HERE ?

CT - THE GAME WAS HARDLY KNOWN. "WHAT'S SOCCER ?" WAS A COMMON QUESTION. WHEN MY CLUB THE BALTIMORE BAYS REACHED THE FINAL IN THE FIRST YEAR, THE LOCAL MEDIA SUGGESTED WE WOULD BE WORLD CHAMPIONS IF WE WON. I HAD TO POINT OUT THAT MORE THAN 200 COUNTRIES PLAYED THE GAME AND THAT - UNLIKE OTHER AMERICAN SPORTS WHICH BEGAN AND ENDED WITHIN THE BORDERS - WE HAD A HUGE AMOUNT OF COMPETITION WE WERE NOT READY TO FACE YET AND, OF COURSE, THE QUESTION WAS ASKED : WHAT’S THE WORLD CUP ? WE BOUGHT THE TV RIGHTS TO THE 1970 WORLD CUP FOR $15,000, THAT’S FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS AND COULD NOT FIND A TV CHANNEL TO SHOW IT AT NO COST. WE EVENTUALLY ENDED UP SHOWING IT IN LARGE VENUES LIKE MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.

CJ - REALIZING SO MUCH WORK WAS TO BE DONE, WHAT WAS THE PROCESS OF GOING ABOUT THIS ?

CT - THE PROCESS WAS TO DO ANYTHING TO GAIN ATTENTION....CONSTANT ACTIVITY FROM GIVING TV RIGHTS TO ANY LOCAL STATION TO CONVINCING CBS TO DO AN OCCASIONAL GAME, TO HAVING THE COACH AND PLAYERS GO OUT SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK TO MIX AND MINGLE, SET UP KIDS' GAMES AND TRAINING SESSIONS, ENCOURAGE AND EDUCATE PARENTS WHO SHOWED AN INTEREST AND IN MY CASE, GO OUT TO ALL MANNER OF SOCIETIES, SOCIAL CLUBS, EDUCATIONAL GROUPS AND GIVE SPEECHES, OFTEN AS MANY AS THREE IN A DAY.

PICTURED - TOYE AT NEW YORK COSMOS PRESS CONFERENCE


CJ - WHY IS COMMUNITY SO IMPORTANT WHEN IT COMES TO SOCCER, HOW DO YOU THINK THIS PLAYS A ROLE IN THE GAME

CT - THE SOCCER COMMUNITY STRETCHES INTO EVERY CORNER OF THE GLOBE, IT'S THE ONLY SUBJECT WHICH CAN BEGIN A CONVERSATION AND DRAW PEOPLE TOGETHER ANYWHERE FROM CAPE TOWN TO CAIRO, CHINA TO CANADA TO CHILE TO CHARLESTON. A LOCAL COMMUNITY TENDS TO STICK TOGETHER, EITHER IN SUPPORT OR OPPOSITION. THE “WORLD COMMUNITY” ALSO GAVE US SOME GREAT PLAYERS NO ONE HAD HEARD OF BEFORE….JOMO SONO AND ACE NTSOELENGOE FROM SOUTH AFRICA, ART AND ASHER WELSH FROM JAMAICA, LINCOLN PHILLIPS FROM TRINIDAD, GUY ST-VIL FROM HAITI, SCORER OF THE LEAGUE’S FIRST GOAL, FOR THE BALTIMORE BAYS.

CJ - WAS THIS IDEA OF BEING A PART OF SOMETHING MORE THAN JUST THE GAME ONE OF THE DRAWING FACTORS IN CONNECTING WITH PELE AND CONVINCING HIM TO SIGN WITH THE COSMOS ?

CT - PELE’S CONTRACT WITH SANTOS WAS COMING TO THE END AND, APART FROM SANTOS HANDING HIM ANOTHER, THERE WAS INTEREST FROM JUVENTUS AND REAL MADRID SO BEFORE WE EVER TALKED MONEY, I MET HIM MANY, MANY TIMES TO TALK ABOUT THE USA AND SAID TO HIM: “IF YOU GO TO EUROPE YOU CAN WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP, IF YOU COME WITH US, YOU CAN WIN A COUNTRY”.

PICTURED - PELE AND CLIVE AFTER NY COSMOS GAME. AUTOGRAPH READS “TO MY BIG BOSS, LOVE YOUR FRIEND - PELE”


CJ - IT MUST BE INTERESTING TO SEE YOURSELF ON A TSHIRT AND PART OF THE INSPIRATION FOR SOCCERTES FIRST COLLECTION. DO YOU STILL SMOKE CIGARS ?

CT - CUBAN CIGARS WERE GOOD, THE PRIZE OF THE DAY....AND BANNED, LIKE ALL CUBAN GOODS. SO SMUGGLING THEM INTO THE COUNTRY WAS A TASK......BUY THEM AT ANY FOREIGN AIRPORT/SIT SOMEWHERE PRIVATE AND REMOVE EVERY PIECE OF PAPER IDENTIFYING THE MAKE, THEN STUFF ONE IN EVERY CORNER OF YOUR LUGGAGE AND WALK THROUGH WITH CRIMINALITY IN EVERY CORNER. FINALLY I GAVE UP, ON OCTOBER 8, 2010.

PICTURED - TOYE CELEBRATING A NY COSMOS VICTORY


CJ - CAN YOU DRAW ANY PARALLELS BETWEEN THE FASHION INDUSTRY AND THE SPACE YOU WORKED IN. YOU SEE NOW IN THIS DAY AND AGE SO MUCH CROSSOVER BETWEEN ART,MUSIC, AND SPORT. HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS ?

CT - SOCCER DID NOT HAVE THE FINANCIAL ATTRACTION OF ART AND MUSIC IN THOSE DAYS. IT WAS A WORKING MAN’S GAME WITH CONNECTION ONLY TO THE GAME. IT WAS NOT SPELT $OCCER THEN.

CJ - YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN GOOD AT TAKING AN IDEA AND BRINGING IT TO LIFE. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO DO THIS ?

CT - I HAVE NOT THE FAINTEST IDEA…..SOMETHING COMES INTO MIND, SO DO IT.

CJ - YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE GAME SINCE DAY ONE. WHAT IS YOUR HOPE / DREAM FOR THE STATE OF SOCCER IN AMERICA GOING FORWARD AND IN THE COMING YEARS?

CT – I WANT IT TO BE WHAT IT IS ALREADY BECOMING…THE GAME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS IN EVERY PATCH OF GRASS ACROSS THE NATION – AND THEN A LEAGUE SYSTEM OF PROMOTION AND RELEGATION, AS IN MOST OTHER COUNTRIES, SO THAT THE NATION CAN BECOME ABSORBED WITH THE ACTIVITIES OF CLUBS WITH ABILITIES REGARDLESS OF THE SIZE OF THE CITY OR THEIR BANK ACCOUNT. PAY ATTENTION AND THE INCREASING PRO AND SEMI PRO LEAGUES WILL SHOW WHAT CAN BECOME THE FUTURE.