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The good times: departing Toronto FC vice-president recalls his best memories

10/24/2013 02:23 EDT | Updated 12/24/2013 05:12 EST
TORONTO - Paul Beirne, Toronto FC's first employee, is stepping down at the end of the year as the MLS club's vice-president of business operations.

Here are some of his favourite memories of the team, which began play in 2007:

— "The seat cushions is obviously a high note." Toronto FC fans showered the pitch with giveaway seat cushions when Danny Dichio scored the franchise's first goal in a 3-1 win over Chicago Fire on May 12 in the inaugural 2007 season. It came in Toronto's fifth-ever game and second at BMO Field.

— The first ever home game, a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on April 28, 2007. "After building it for a year and a half and finally seeing it come to fruition, I do recall sitting in the stands after everyone had left and just having a good cry. So that was probably a big release for me. That was a good moment."

— The pitch invasion and celebration at the last home game of the 2007 season, when Dichio scored in the dying minutes to secure a 2-2 tie with the New England Revolution on Oct. 20. "It was the most orderly pitch invasion you ever saw. It was very respectful but it was a moment for those supporters to pat themselves on the back. So it was a really special moment in Canadian soccer, I think."

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