Dino Gardner leads in soccer, rising rap star as ‘Franchise’

Gardner begins ‘spitting’ his rhymes against his opponent “Slow Loris” during his first round of the battle. Photo by: 113 Images/ Beastmode Photography Company

Joe Catania 
Sports Reporter 

Humber’s Dino ‘Franchise’ Gardner, 21, is labeled by his coaches as a ‘battler’ on the soccer field, but it’s his battling off the field gaining him nods in Toronto’s rap scene.

Gardner, co-captain of the men’s varsity soccer team, began playing the sport at age five. He was chosen to play for Ontario’s provincial squad as a teenager, Canada’s national team at the U-18 level, and again for the U-20 team.

Gardiner’s skill set and experience allow him to fill many roles for the Hawks.

“Last year he (Gardner) had a very successful year, he was a key component in winning nationals. This year he’s doing well on the field and helping us in a few different positions,” said Hawk’s head coach Michael Aquino.

Gardner’s versatility and determination on the soccer pitch led him to excel in another aspect of his life – battle rap.

After growing up watching rap battles, Gardner made a decision to try it out for himself.

This past year Gardner joined Toronto’s battle rap league Beastmode Battles under the name Franchise.”

“Franchise came into Beastmode ready and hungry,” said battle rap veteran and Beastmode promoter Joey Vitiritti, 22.

“He (Gardner) never had a battle in his life, but he killed his debut like he was trained for the moment,” Vitiritti said.

“He is the most polished out of all the new comers in my opinion,” he added.

Gardner balances soccer, rap and a school course load.

“Time management is key,” said Gardner. “The biggest challenge is finding the energy for practice, especially after a long commute or a long day of school.

“Battle rap doesn’t take up time in a bad way. I think of lines while I’m on the bus or on the train. I even think of lines while I’m playing soccer,” Gardner said.

Yet he’s humble. “Before every battle I get the bubble guts. It doesn’t mean it’s something bad, it just means it’s time to battle,” he said.

Gardner’s successful Beastmode campaign has sparked interest from other battle rap leagues, looking to add ‘Franchise’ to their events.

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One Comment;

  1. Sean Carter said:

    I saw Franchise’s video a couple times, and yes, the kids got talent, and too bad he’s not picking up a basketball but who am I to judge. However I was looking through Beastmode’s videos and have to disagree with the quote from Mr. Joey Vitiritti, stating Franchise was the most polished of the new comers of Bestmode, how can this be possible if Peppe the Kid is still new on the scene? That mans got talent. For real.

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