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Supporters Groups Archives

VIDEO: The History and Power of “I Believe” (ESPN)

2014 FIFA World Cup - "I Believe" - ESPN from Nick Aquilino on Vimeo.

It's evolved into American soccer's most iconic chant during this World Cup, but the origins of "I Believe" are incredibly humble. 

Our founder, Dan Wiersema, had the pleasure of speaking with ESPN about the power of positivity of this chant that the U.S. soccer supporters group, the American Outlaws has made a national rallyng cry. 

This originally aired on Monday, June 30th on "World Cup Tonight" and was also featured on SportsCenter.

Tags: American Outlaws, Supporters Groups, USMNT, Video, World Cup

Why American Soccer - Supporters Supporting Supporters

Editor's Note: This anecdote is from our journey from FBM HQ in Austin to Frisco to take in the FC Dallas vs. Sporting KC match. But it is also heavily influenced by the awesome openness we've seen on our USMNT travels to Denver, Seattle, and Salt Lake City this year. Local fans welcoming "outsiders" with open arms and being gracious hosts.

The fans clad in red had picked their spot next to the stadium. This was their sport. They were always here before a game. Grills lit. Kegs tapped. Territory staked out.

Before long supporters wearing various shades of blue arrived. At first there were only a few, the men and women in red paid little attention to them, but then the chartered buses pulled up. The hiss of each of the two buses loudly announcing their arrival. One-by-one.... more blue. The supporters of each, now their numbers more equal, stood toe-to-toe sizing each other up. A mild breeze flapped each groups' flags.

This was Texas so if it was an old Western movie one could imagine a tumbleweed rolling across the scene along with a pan flute and "wa-wa-waaaa".

The hesitation was slightly, but the two groups moved toward each other... and embraced.

Backslaps, handshakes, scarves shared, the clinking of beers, and gentle banter of the evening's match ensued.

These are the supporters of American soccer. More friends than foes.

On this particularly hot and breezy Texas afternoon the one of the supporter groups of FC Dallas, the Dallas Beer Guardians, welcomed a travelling band of Sporting KC supporters, the Cauldron, to their tailgate.

No f-bombs or knife fights. The only blood spilled was from one FCD supporter to another when he accidently caught an elbow to the nose from a fellow fan as the Hoops made a dramatic, two-goal comeback late in the night's game.

The relative short history of Major League Soccer (and even less so in the leagues below) means that the deep-seeded rivalries of a Chivas-America, River Plate-Boca, Liverpool-Manchester United, or a Barcelona-Real Madrid have not yet evolved. And while we won't know if any of these clubs' supporters shared beers fifty or a hundred years ago the camaraderie of the majority of MLS supporters now bodes well for the future.

Sharing is caring.

There's a sense among soccer supporters in the United States that "we're all in this together". That even the rivalries, while emerging, are mostly in good fun. Supporters can separate what happens on the field for ninety minutes from the tailgates before and the bars afterwards. The greater goal is building American soccer and fans of the league are keeping their eyes on the prize.

There are certainly very intense rivalries in MLS (Portland-Seattle, LA-San Jose, Philly-NY, etc) and the passion of each set of supporters from those teams is palpable, but overall when the road team's fan travel they're usually welcomed with open arms by the home side's fans.

For the traveling Cauldron the eight-plus-hour drive down Interstate-35 represents the closest road match they're able to attend. Why spending a night in the Frisco Police Department lock up over a brawl when you can sample the DBG's local craft beer selection they provided for themselves and their new KC friends? It's probably why one of the Beer Guardian's flags is emblazoned with "#BeerFamily". That's what is should be mostly about anyway; a cold brew and a little polite conversation over which state makes the better BBQ.

Saturday was no different and this is what makes American soccer great. Two teams facing off on-the-field, but their supporters enjoying each other's company off-the-field.

No one is asking for sanitized, family-friendly supporters, but just the idea that we'd much rather share a beer than a fist-fight. A war of words and wit (and their team backing it up on the field) can be just as effective.

It's what sets American soccer apart from the rest of the world. We don't have to resort to hooliganism to support our teams; to violence and vitriol to prove who is better.

As the Sporting supporters prepared to re-board their buses after conceding two late goals to draw the match there were the FC Dallas supporters. Not to rub the tie in their faces, but to offer up one more local beer, well-wishes, and safe travels home.

This is American soccer. This is why American soccer.

Tags: Supporters Groups, Why American Soccer

Through The Drinking Glass - Widmer Brother’s Brewing Co.‘s Timber’s Army “Green and Gold” Kolsch

We don't get to do this often enough, but when a soccer-specific beer lands at FBM HQ we can't help but bust out the ol' camera and snap a few pictures. A brewery that's interested in supporting local soccer deserves a photo essay to honor their commitment to the American game.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company took the winner of the Timbers Army Home Brew Competition "Full 90" category and turned their brewery on to produce Abram Goldman-Armstrong's "Green and Gold" kolsch.

A few weeks ago we spoke with Abe as a a part of our "Six Pack Interview Series" and now we're featuring our very own snap shots of the brew that Widmer graciously sent us.

Every MLS team and/or supporters group needs their own beer.

Cheers!

* All photography featured on this page was taken by the Free Beer Movement and is property of the Free Beer Movement.

Tags: Beer, Soccer Marketing 101, Supporters Groups, The Best of Both Worlds, Through The Drinking Glass

The Best of Both Worlds - Seattle Breweries Release a Pair of Supporters Beers

Editor's Note: We'll have more on these newly released supporter's beers in the future (and hopefully some samples), but here's some information to whet your whistle.

Press Release:

Gorilla Football Collective (GFC), an official supporters group of the Seattle Sounders FC, has partnered with Big Al Brewing and Dick’s Brewing Company to bring two distinct, craft beers to the 2013 soccer season. GFC, a 501c3 with a charitable emphasis, enjoys giving back to the community through its “CIVic Ticket” program, community service projects and fundraising events. Proceeds from both beers will benefit Gorilla FC Charities.

Big Al Brewing created for Gorilla FC Civ’s White IPA which is made using American Two Row, Malted Wheat, Unmalted Wheat, Oats,  and given bitterness and aroma with Nugget and Cascade hops. This beer was designed with balance, flavor, and drinkability in mind. A refreshing wheat beer, with a unique Belgian character, balanced by an assertive bitterness and bright hop aroma and flavor and comes in at 6.0% ABV.  Alejandro Brown President/Head Brewer of Big Al Brewing had this to say about the project "We are proud to partner with Gorilla FC who share our passion for Seattle Sounders FC and our commitment to community. We look forward to raising many pints of Civ's White IPA and funds for local charities while supporting our beloved Sounders with this remarkable organization!"

Dick’s Brewing Company is also working with GFC and they have produced the Dick’s Au GFC. The Dick’s Au GFC is a Golden Ale brewed with American Two Row, Malted Wheat, and Magnum hops. The Au GFC is dry hopped with 3 distinct varieties; Saaz, Mt. Hood and Tettnanger. The first sip brings refreshing crispness with a slightly sweet malty aftertaste. The dry hop adds a nice floral and herbal backbone to the beer making it a great session beer with a 5.5% ABV. Julie Young, Owner and Dave Pendleton, Head Brewer of Dick’s Brewing Company said, “We are very excited working with GFC as we are huge football fans! We love supporting GFC’s charity activities and are happy we can do that through our beer.” Dick’s Au GFC is a play on the periodic table symbol Au for Gold and when being ordered go ahead and ask your bartender for an,  A-U GFC!

Big Al’s Civ’s White IPA and Dick’s Au GFC will have a special release at four GFC partner bar locations on March 2nd, 2013 for Sounders first kick: Fado Irish Pub in Pioneer Square, Auto Battery Bar and The Summit Public House on Capitol Hill, and Naked City Brewery & Taphouse in Greenwood. Starting March 3rd you will be able to find these two beers around the Puget Sound area. Soccer is a cause for drinking, now you can drink for a cause with Big Al and Dick’s and GFC! The beers are available now at the two breweries.

On March 15, 2013, from 4:30 to 9 p.m., a release party for both beers will be held at Golazo Headquarters 714 E Pike, Seattle WA 98122. Meet the brewers, enjoy Big Al’s Civ’s White IPA and Dick’s Au GFC while listening to a live DJ. Media and public are welcome!  Proceeds from the event will benefit Gorilla FC Charities.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups, The Best of Both Worlds

Major League Soccer Road Trip - An Introduction

“Moreover, there remains only one single constant in the life of people particularly of men, and that is the soccer club and all the ties to it associated with being a fan. Marriages fail, relationships end, jobs disappear, anything can happen; only one real thread remains reliably through life: team loyalty.”

-          Roman Horak, University of Vienna

My name is Evan Ream, and I believe this to be true. Starting June 16, two friends and I will be going on an epic road trip to document soccer fandom in the United States and Canada. Our trip, the MLS Road Trip, will cover over 10,000 miles in 51 days with stops in 12 (possibly 13) different major cities, attending 14 (possibly 15) different games in order to document the amazing fans in North America.

During the trip, we will be updating our website every day with writing, pictures and video of the fans, plus food and general culture of each city we visit. Each Friday I will be writing a recap of our last week for The Free Beer Movement that will include an exclusive-to-The-FBM beer review. But I invite you to follow the trip on our website as well.

Just like in a soccer game, fan participation is paramount. We want your help, your input and your ideas. We are trying to paint the best picture possible of each fan base, something that we cannot do without a plethora of help from the fans in each city. Do you have an idea, suggestion or cool soccer tattoo (http://mlsroadtrip.com/fan-tattoo-gallery/) that you would like showcase? Do you know a crazy fan? Do you know a cool place that is crucial to your cities’ soccer culture? Please email me, tweet me or comment on the website or Facebook page.

This project is as much yours as it is ours. We want the website to be a place that shows what MLS is really about. We want Euro-snobs to look at the website and decide that maybe they want to come to a game in this country. We want to create more MLS fans. Help us.

And, as always, since this is the Free Beer Movement, here is a beer review from the town I live in: Ashland, Ore.

Meet: Ashland Amber. Brewed locally at the Caldera Brewing Company, Ashland Amber is distributed to 13 different states, England, Japan and Puerto Rico. Southern Oregon is known for its delicious local brews, and Ashland Amber is no exception. Nearly every bar in Ashland serves it, as it is the most popular of Caldera’s beers. This beer is so popular that most of the black and tans in Ashland are actually made with Ashland Amber instead of Bass Pale Ale, improving the taste in my opinion. If you are ever in Oregon (or Japan), do yourself a favor and order an Ashland Amber.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, MLS Road Trip, Supporters Groups

D.C. United Players Just Want to Bang on the Drum All Day

Photo Credit: D.C. United

When most professional athletes (and European soccer players) can't suit up for a game they're usually seen living the good life up in a luxury suite with the owner and/or their wife/girlfriend, but not Major League Soccer players.
 

Photo Credit: D.C. United

If you want more evidence of why American soccer is so great look no further than scenes from last Saturday's D.C. United home match against the Seattle Sounders. Despite the 0-0 scoreline defender Brandon McDonald, who was suspended, and midfielder Andy Najar, who was sick, took the the supporters section to bang on the Barra Brava's drums alongside other supporters, the Screaming Eagles and La Norte.

Players joining the supporters during matches are nothing new at D.C. or even the rest of MLS. The most famous example of an "off-duty" MLSer is, of course, our main man Frankie Hejduk slamming beers with Columbus Crew fans before a match against Los Angeles he was suspended for.

American soccer might be getting bigger and bigger everyday, but the league players continue to be as humble as ever. Signing autographs forever after matches and at practices, showing up at local bars and restaurants and mingling with fans, even buying everyone in the room Chipotle.

This is American soccer and the closeness we, as fans, feel to our teams and players is one of the most vital parts of what makes our version of the sport, and it's authentic growth, so enjoyable.


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Tags: Major League Soccer, News, Supporters Groups

The Best of Both Worlds - KC’s Supporters Groups Built a Beer-Rainbow for a St. Patrick’s Day


 
When soccer and beer collide... that's the best of both worlds. This space reserved for any intersection of the suds and the sport whether business, beer and soccer events, or random humor. 
 
Saint Patrick's Day is always a bit of a haul for Americans as we over-indulge on unnecessary things like green beer and Jameson when we'd never think of doing such regularly. For several Major League Soccer teams it was their 2012 home opener as well.
 
Normally you'd think that this was a all-hands-on-deck sort of situation for the folks in Kansas City and their  supporters group "the Caudron"; getting TIFO, tailgates, and tickets all straightened out. But throw in a St. Patrick's Day parade and that's when a few flags and the like will do.
 
Or you could build a float that resembles a beer-rainbow. We're sure there's plenty of time for that...
 
Oh wait there is?



Makes us thirsty just looking at it.

Mmmmmm.... beer....

Local TV coverage of the float and KC's supporters:





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Tags: Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups, The Best of Both Worlds

Where in the World is the 2000 MLS Cup?

UPDATE: Turns out the Cup has been in Kansas City all along. It was put in storage during renovations to Arrowhead Stadium a few years back. Either way the Hunt Sports Group is "loaning" the trophy to Sporting KC to display at LIVESTRONG Park for this season where it will then return to Arrowhead and be featured in a gallery dedicated to Lamar Hunt. Sporting will get a replica to show off.

The late Lamar Hunt said that the trophy was so important to him that he was able to keep it when he sold the team to local, OnGoal, but years after his death it is apparently not important enough to his son and the rest of HSG to dust it off and display it without the Internet getting on his case.
 
We still believe the real MLS Cup trophy belongs with Sporting KC and its fans and not in the former owners AMERICAN FOOTBALL stadium where it will most certainly be completely unappreciated.

The Wizards celebrate with their MLS Cup.
An unseasonable warm mid-October day in Washington D.C. was the setting for the 2000 Major League Soccer Cup. The championship game pitted the Chicago Fire, the league's most potent offense, against Supporter's Shield winners, Kansas City Wizards.

Miklos Molnar would capitalize on some unusually poor Fire defending to score on Zach Thorton in the 11th minute. For the remainder of the match the Wizards and Cup MVP Tony Meola would weather the Chicago attack (and make ten saves) to hold onto a 1-0 win in front of nearly 40,000 fans.

For the Kansas City Wizards, now Sporting KC, the 2000 MLS Cup would be the franchise's only domestic league title to date (they won the U.S. Open Cup in 2004). On the field and in the locker room players like Meola, Mo Johnson, Preki, and Uche Okafor would celebrate with the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy and bring the hardware back to Kansas City to share it with supporters.

For the Hunt Sports Group, the 2000 MLS Cup would be the first league title for one of the teams they owned. At the head of HSG, Lamar Hunt, who backed the founding of MLS after the success of the 1994 World Cup, and in the league's darkest days of the late 1990s and early 2000s, kept it afloat along with AEG.

Thanksgiving Tower. HSG HQ.
In 2008, the Hunt-owned Columbus Crew would add an MLS Cup of its own to HSG's trophy case.

But in 2000, until the sale of the KC franchise in 2006, the only league title Hunt could claim would be that of the Wizards.

Presumably while the Hunt Sports Group (which also owns the Chiefs) still administered the Wizards the MLS Cup was predominately displayed somewhere at Arrowhead Stadium, but when the team was sold to OnGoal, a local investor group, the Cup left town.

Hunt Sports Group's headquarters lie within the Thanksgiving Tower in Dallas. The 645-foot, fifty-story building is the city's eighth tallest and sits in downtown looking like the government building that Neo would have to make his way through in  first "Matrix" movie.

But deep inside this building isn't Morpheus, but Kansas City's MLS Cup.

For whatever reason when the team was sold to OnGoal the Cup was packed up and moved to Hunt's headquarters. Was it an oversight in the sale negotiations? A demand that Hunt keep what he thought was rightful his? The answer is a mystery.

(Right now, no one on either side is talking. We've reached to Sporting people and a few on the HSG side and gotten no response. Clearly this is a sensitive issue for both sides.)

Hunt, center, with the Crew and their 2002 Open Cup.
Certainly the Cup is a reward for Lamar Hunt's contributions to American soccer, but for the fans of KC it is a symbol of the team's triumph. Lamar Hunt passed away later in the same year the Wizards were sold, but his son Clark now controls the soccer-side (among other things) of the Hunt Sports Group.

The Wizards were re-branded in 2010 as Sporting KC, but that doesn't mean the history of the "Wiz" is gone and forgotten. Just as their fans celebrate their 2004 U.S. Open Cup (ironically named after Lamar Hunt) as a part of their collective history, so do they the 2000 domestic title.

It is incumbent upon the Hunt Sports Group and Clark Hunt to do the right and noble thing and return the 2000 MLS Cup to Kansas City and its fans. The Cup has no more place in Dallas as would the one Columbus won. Certainly credit to HSG in building the league and the Wizards into a championship side, but  owners are no more important than the players, coaches, and supporters that worked along the way to make this possible.

Here' to hoping the 2000 MLS Cup makes it way back up Interstate 35 to Kansas City soon.

Editor's Note: The Sporting KC blog, "The Sporting Times" got the ball rolling (pun intended) on this issue and is pushing Hunt Sports Group to bring the Cup back to town with FC Dallas on March 25th. Read his appeal and about his efforts here.


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Tags: Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

Better Know A Supporters Group - Sons of Ben (Philadelphia Union)

 
We continue our comprehensive coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 
 
Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.
 
When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.
 
Today... it's the supporters group that inspired our series, Philadelphia Union's Sons of Ben.
 
As told to the Free Beer Movement by Sons of Ben President Matt Ansbro.
 
The Basics
 
MLS Club: Philadelphia Union
 
Stadium: PPL Park
 
Year SG Founded: 2007
 
Section Name (if other than SG name): The River End
 
Any other SGs apart of your section? The Illegitimates, Bearfight Brigade
 
Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): 134 – 140, River Side
 
The Meaty Questions
 
What are the origins of your groups’ name?
 
In late 2006, after some long discussions on BigSoccer Ethan Gomberg, one of our original members, suggested the name “Sons of Ben” and it was almost immediately adopted. 
 
Favorite chants/songs?
 
Dale Philadelphia and Phindaloo
 
Another favorite to the tune of She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain: We’re the best behaved supporters in the league, when we win / We’re the biggest bunch of bastards, when we lose.
 
Why is being in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?
 
There is nothing quite like sitting in an area you had a hand in designing.  In conversations with the ownership group from the start they wanted to make sure we had our own section set up in a way that would be the best supporters experience in the league and the most intimidating. We, and the team, have accomplished both
 
Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?
 
“Here before the team”.  Sons of Ben was born out of the passion for the game and the desire to have it played in our city.  That started in 2007 when SoB was formed and has continued through today.  Our members are ridiculously passionate about this game, this team.  They bring their energies each and every game, for 90+ minutes, through thick and thin.  We’ll abuse our opponents (and their supporters) the entire game all the while supporting our boys and pushing them on to 3 points.  Other SG’s have done this longer than us, and some of them are pretty good at it, but we would put our short history up against all of them.
 
Greatest game(s) in team history?
 
June 27, 2010 vs Seattle Sounders - The first game at PPL Park and our first true home game, win.  It was our first game in the River End.  The first time on our new, beautiful pitch. The first time we all got a glimpse of the energy we could create.  And, most importantly, the first time we were truly a supporters group.
 
Predictions for this season?
 
MLS Cup Champion.  Is there really another answer to this question?
 
Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?
 
It’s all ours.  There is a sense of pride in coming to a professional soccer game near home. Many Union fans had never had that feeling and with ticket sales very strong the interest won’t wane any time soon.
 
US Soccer has travelled light years since their “just happy to be here” qualification for Italy in 1990. The players are getting valuable experiences all over the world and ratings for World Cup & Gold Cup games have grown audiences at rates that make ESPN & Univision take notice.  Lots of people talk about the destination of Winning the World Cup. It may happen someday, but why focus on the future when we are pretty damn good right now.
 
For more information OR to join the Sons of Ben, check out their website.
 

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Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

Better Know A Supporters Group - Texian Army (Houston Dynamo)

 

We continue our comprehensive coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.
 
When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.
 
Today we feature one of Houston Dynamo's largest supporters groups, the Texian Army.
 
As told to the Free Beer Movement by James Hromadka, a member of TA's Board of Directors.
 

The Basics

SG Name: Texian Army

MLS Club: Houston Dynamo

Stadium: Robertson Stadium (New soccer-specific stadium currently under construction. Opening date: 2012)

Year SG Founded: 2006

Section Name (if other than SG name): North End

Any other SGs apart of your section? La Bateria, El Batallon, Brickwall Firm

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): 214

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name? 

The original name of the Dynamo was going to be “Houston 1836” after the year in which Houston, Texas was founded. However, 1836 was also the year that Texas won its independence from Mexico, and a big political stink was raised by county commissioner Sylvia Garcia. Since the team was going to need political help to get a stadium, they caved on the name and changed it. The Texian Army uses the same name as the Texas revolutionary army that fought and defeated Santa Anna during Texas’ fight for freedom. Even after 1836 was no more, the group decided to keep the name.

Favorite chants/songs?

“Oh Dynamo You Are My Love” and “Forza Houston” are our two most popular songs.

 

Why is being in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”? 

It’s where all the action is. Elsewhere in the stadium you’re just a fan. But being in the supporters’ section you feel as though you were part of something bigger, that your cheering “wills” the team to victory. And when your team does score, the section goes nuts.

Every soccer fan should spend one game with the supporters.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

Our tifo is top notch. We have a new banner for every opponent this year that’s a cartoon making fun of the opponent. We have come up with some good banners over the years. Next year at the new stadium is going to be exciting because it will be an opportunity to come up with all new banners for the occasion.

Our group also loves to travel. Texian Army members have amazing stories from seeing the Dynamo play at Pachuca and elsewhere. The annual trek to Frisco for the FC Dallas game is always fun because it is obvious that we are not wanted there. 

Greatest game(s) in team history?

It would be easy to say the very first game or the two MLS Cup championships, but there’s nothing l enjoy more than the games against FC Dallas. The first time we played them was a barnburner win, and one of the most exciting games ever was the home leg against them in 2007. There’s a lot of bad blood between the two teams and its fans alike. We don’t like each other, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Predictions for this season? 

The Dynamo get its only road win of the season in Frisco. Brad Davis finishes the season as the assists leader. The Dynamo don’t make the playoffs.

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer? 

Houston is our city. MLS is our league. If you truly enjoy soccer, why wouldn’t you want to watch soccer in your city? In your country? How can you be a fan of a team from a city (or country for that matter) that you’ve never been to? Plastic Man Utd and Chelsea fans are just as bad as plastic Red Sox and Yankees fans.

For more information and/or how to join the Texian Army go to their website.

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Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

Better Know a Supporters Group - Gorilla Football Collective (Seattle Sounders)

 

 

We continue our comprehensive coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.

 
When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.
 
Today we feature one of Seattle Sounders very visible and very vocal supporters groups, Gorilla Football Collective.
 
As told to the Free Beer Movement, by Melina Young, one of the group's "captains".

The Basics

SG Name: Gorilla Football Collective

MLS Club: Seattle Sounders

Stadium: Century Link Field (Previously Qwest Field)

Year SG Founded: 2009 (same as the Sounders)

Section Name (if other than SG name): We sit primarily in section 120 in the stadium, but there are members that are scattered throughout the stadium.

Any other SGs apart of your section? We sit next to the Emerald City Supporters (ECS) and some of them overflow into 120.

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): South (Brougham) End

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name?

The history of Gorilla FC goes something like this… Gorilla FC ‘s core group are a bunch of activists that put together a soccer team way back when. With all the excitement of the Seattle
Sounders FC, we decided to get it back together and be more or less an open loose group then we were before! We are still holding on to some of our roots though and will support our local
communities through various benefits.

Favorite chants/songs?

There are so many chants and songs that go on throughout every game, it is hard to pick a favorite. We love to chant along with the other supporter groups to try and create the best possible environment at the game. One chant that almost everyone participates in (throughout the whole stadium) is a “call and answer” style chant, where our side of the stadium yells “Seattle” and the rest of the stadium answers with “Sounders” it is really cool to experience.

Why is being in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

Well, ours really are great because we start in the first row behind the goal, where the players warm up, and walk to the locker rooms. A lot of our players do high-fives, handshakes or autographs after the game (sometimes give away their jerseys or other stuff to loyal fans) so it is a great place. It is also great to attend the game with a supporters club and sit in the same section, because you get to sit with 50-100 of your closest friends every time you go to the game. Usually, no matter who you are sitting by, they are just as enthusiastic about the game (and hanging out with you) as you are, so it is always a lot of fun.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

Gorilla is very inclusive in our membership. We state proudly on our website that: “We accept all those who are willing to chant with us, drink with us, and Support with us no matter your race, religion, political view, sexual orientation or gender. Gorilla FC helps support the Seattle Sounders FC as well as our local community.” This helps set a standard for our group. We also have a code of conduct to ensure that everyone has fun at the games.


Gorilla is also very involved in charity work and put on several events each year (with and without the Sounders club) to raise money. We raised more than $20,000 in one day for Doctors Without Borders after the Haiti disaster.
 

Greatest game(s) in team history?

I am sure everyone who is asked will have a different response, but one really great moment was when the Sounders won the US Open Cup for the second year in a row, in front of a home crowd, last year (2010). Every game is great in its own way.

Predictions for this season?

I predict that the Sounders will win a third US Open Cup this year, and make a great run for the MLS Cup too.

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

Soccer is a great game. It is fun to play and exciting to watch. The Sounders players are really great guys who are really involved in, and love, the community here in Seattle. This is a sport that is still in its early years, and it is a great time to get involved and support different clubs. Soccer is the world’s game for a reason; we want it to be big in America too. The Sounders care about getting input and support from the fans, which is why they have an Alliance Council and allow the fans to vote. This is pretty unique in American sports, and we are all just excited to be a part of it.

For more information and/or to join Gorilla FC, check out their website.

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Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

Better Know A Supporters Group - Section 8 (Chicago Fire)

 

We continue our comprehensive coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 


Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.
 
When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.
 
Today we feature not a supporters group per say, but Chicago Fire's independent supporters association, Section 8.
 
As told to the Free Beer Movement, by Daniel Martin, Section 8's Director of Communication.

The Basics

SG Name: Section 8 Chicago, the Independent Supporters Association (ISA) for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club

MLS Club: Chicago Fire Soccer Club

Stadium: Toyota Park

Year SG Founded: The ISA convened officially in 2003, but there are several Fire SGs that predate the ISA.

Section Name (if other than SG name): Section 8 / The Harlem End / Sections 116-119

Any other SGs apart of your section?

Several. Section 8 is not a supporters group but an association of groups and independent fans. Active groups include (but are not limited to) Ultras Red-Side, Husaria, Fire Ultras, Whiskey Brothers 05, Acme Irregulars, Westmont Ultras, Far West Front, Red Scare, Partisans, and more (I’m sure I’m forgetting someone and will probably get called out for it). There’s also Sector Latino, who formerly shared space in the Harlem End but moved to the other side of the stadium last season so they could concentrate on building their group and supporting the Fire barra-brava style with chants in Spanish. S*L remain good friends with the rest of S8 and we work together to support the Fire at home and on the road whenever possible.

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): Sections 116-119, north (Harlem) end. S*L is in section 101.

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name?

Chicago Fire fan culture began in the Spring and Summer of 1997, with the establishment of Barn Burners 1871. The group formed as a precursor to the announcement of Chicago's selection as a site for the league's first expansion team, and spent the time prior to the club founding in October of that year laying groundwork for an organization dedicated to the needs of the nascent fan base. BB1871, along with original club GM Peter Wilt, selected Section 8 at Soldier Field as a designated standing area to encourage the style of fandom traditionally seen globally in soccer, at sporting events worldwide, and in college athletics in America.

The experiment was an instant success, drawing large numbers on the way to the Fire's league championship that first season; and established the club and Fire supporters as leaders of the movement in North America.

The Fire Ultras, originally inhabitants of Section 9 in the opposite South End corner, chose to move into Section 8 in 1999, an event credited as the true beginning of "Section 8" as it is known now. By mixing the American style of BB1871 with the continental European ultras style of FU98 in a way that could only happen in Chicago sports, a completely new, vibrant, and infectious blend occurred.

Favorite chants/songs?

Urbs in Horto Magico, Hot Time in Old Town Tonight, La Maquina Roja, Just Can’t Get Enough, Fire Fans Know Just One Song, Slow to Fast/Fast to Slow, Don’t Stop Living in the Red, Matt Reis’ Mother has a Cock, and many, many more.

Why is being in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

No one in our sections sits, for one thing… we’re standing on the benches the whole game. Personally, I love seeing the team score right in front of the sections. The goal is very close and you can see the build-up of plays clearly right up to the finish. Otherwise it’s the collective energy and camaraderie that is ever-present during Fire games… it always seems strongest in the Harlem End.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

Creativity, diversity, volume, organization, away support, persistence, honoring history and community, and charitable giving.

Greatest game(s) in team history?

The MLS Cup/U.S. Open Cup Finals in 1998 when the team won the double in their first season. The 2000, 2003, and 2006 USOC championships. Any time we beat New England, especially in the playoffs. Taking down NYRB 5-1 after they snuck in and took our then-coach J.-C. Osorio was pretty great, too.

Predictions for this season?

We’re in the midst of a great USOC run once again, everyone has high hopes for that to continue. We may or may not make the MLS playoffs but there is a sense that the core of the team is being rebuilt with promising young players that will serve us well in seasons to come.

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

Supporting the local club, simple as that.

For information and/or to join Section 8, visit their website!


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Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

Better Know A Supporters Group” Viking Army Supporters Club (New York Red Bulls)

We continue our comprehensive coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.
 
When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.

Today we feature the New York Red Bulls' Viking Army Supporters Club

As told to the Free Beer Movement by Viking Army's Greg Buchberger.

The Basics

SG Name: Viking Army SC

MLS Club: Red Bulls New York

Stadium: Red Bulls Arena

Year SG Founded: 2010

Section Name (if other than SG name): South Ward is the name of the supporters end of the stadium (Sections 101, 102, 133).

Any other SGs apart of your section? Empire Supporters Club (Section 101), Garden State Supporters (Sec 133)

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): South end behind goal, Section 102.

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name?

New York had a disastrous season in 2009 which prompted a major shakeup in the front office. Erik Soler (Norway) was brought in as well as Hans Backe (Sweden) and Joel Lindpere (Estonia? ESTONIA!? Close enough...). We had a brand new beautiful Stadium, we were winning and a glimmer of hope grew in the South Ward. Our Founders showed up to games wearing mock Viking helmets as a sign of affection for Hans Backe. The Hans Backe Viking Army was born.

During the offseason between 2010 and 2011 the process began in growing to a recognized supporters group. We changed our name to Viking Army Supporters Club for sustainability, since no coach lasts forever. As to the sustainability of a Viking them when/if all the Scandinavians have left, well, we still call our team the Metros, so what does it matter?

Favorite chants/songs?

As Long As I'm Breathing, New York’s Red And White, We’ll Be Coming.

Why is being in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

The 12th man concept is not cliché, it’s fact. Supporters involve themselves in the experience and are more than passively witnessing a spectacle; they are a part of it, and what makes soccer unlike any other experience in the world.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

 

We literally have members all over the world. Some found us by following their players career from afar now that they transferred to Red Bull New York, others walked past us pregaming and wondered what all the hubbub is about. Whether near or far, home or away, day or night, we are constantly brainstorming on how to show our love for the team, have a few laughs along the way, and to prove our theory that if a free beer gets people to games, then a pitcher hooks 'em for life. And we don't care if you want to wear a Viking helmet or not, just SING!

Greatest game(s) in team history?

As painstakingly recorded by the tireless archivists at MetroFanatic, the best game of all time is May 5, 2001: MetroStars 3, DC United 2.

Down 2-0 at home against your Archrival is not happy, especially since Metro was not playing particularly well up to that point. Then Clint Mathis scored in the 79th minute, and Rodrigo Faria equalized in the 88th minute. And then amazingly, in the 90th minute Petter Villegas slotted in for the win.

Then again there was August 26, 2000: Dallas Burn 4, MetroStars 6

Score once it’s a goal. Twice it’s a brace. Three times you have a hat trick. FIVE times you are Clint Mathis.

More recent memory… June 2, 2010: NYRB 2, Dynamo 1. JPA scores on a set piece for a win at very last minute. Crowd went wild… you had to be there.
 

Predictions for this season?

Realistically, many empty kegs and an end to the 16 year cupless drought. Optimistically… We want the Cup!

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

Many great names have come through this league over time, and only getting better. MLS is becoming more than just a career extension for the aged, it's an opportunity to get minutes and be a part of building history instead of riding on what’s already been built.

As a result, the game and the culture surrounding the beautiful game in the US is unlike anywhere else in the soccersphere, and it is breathtaking watching it blossom.

For more information and/or to join about Viking Army check out their website.

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Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

Better Know A Supporters Group - Black Army 1850 (Chivas USA)

 

 

We continue our comprehensive coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.
 
When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.

Today we feature our first supporters group from Los Angeles' Chivas USA, Black Army 1850. BA 1850 is relatively new to the supporters section at the Home Depot Center, founded in 2010, but their focus and beliefs about supporters and their role in American soccer is a mature as much longer-standing supporters in MLS.

As told to the Free Beer Movement by Josef Zacher, one of the founders of Black Army 1850.

The Basics

SG Name: Black Army 1850

MLS Club: CD Chivas USA

Stadium: Home Depot Center (Carson, CA)

Year SG Founded: 2010

Section Name (if other than SG name): 138

Any other SGs apart of your section? None

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): South East Corner, Section 138

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name? Why the Black Army?

We see ourselves right now as a group that is focused on creating an army of die-hards that exclusively supports Chivas USA. While are numbers are not massive, we realize the potential of becoming the size of an army as Chivas USA establishes its own unique history and identity in Los Angeles. As our name indicates, we do not wear the traditional Chivas USA colors of red, white, and blue. We have chosen to follow a protocol that many European Ultras established long before us, by wearing black rather than the traditional team colors. For us, the black symbolically represents our intention to go against the grain of conformity in the Chivas family. We are not here to bask in the glory of a club that is in a different league and a different country. Like our club, we cherish the thought of being the "black sheep (in this case goat)" of the "sacred flock". Our colors also provide an excellent back drop for our tifo displays on game day. Even though we do not wear the colors of Chivas USA on game day, we bleed the Chivas USA colors every day.

Significance of 1850?

We identify with 1850 because that is the year California and Los Angeles became officially part of the United States. Our group strives to establish Chivas USA a local team by identifying with Los Angeles and Southern California.

"Solamente Chivas USA"

We chose our motto "Solamente Chivas USA" because we wanted to make a clear separation between C.D. Guadalajara and Chivas USA. We understand that Chivas USA was created by the owners of C.D. Guadalajara, however we pride ourselves in making the distinction that Chivas USA plays in the United States and Major League Soccer (MLS). We are here to support an American team.

Favorite chants/songs?

Our group prefers an “authentic” ultra-style that is more chant and chorus based. Our drummer, John Sandate, created a great drum and chant chorus based on “Bro Hymn” by Pennywise. A crowd favorite is a Black Army version of the “tequila” song. Currently, we are working on “Chivas Blood, L.A. Heart” a chant that was inspired by a Morrissey song.

 

Why is being in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

Nothing can compare to the passion and loyalty from the terraces. They truly love their club and will show it for 90 minutes. These are the folks that truly represent what this game is all about.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

Our support for Chivas USA is pure and cannot be questioned. We pride ourselves on being independent and free of outside interference. There is no one that can buy our voices or opinions. If there is something that isn’t kosher at Chivas USA, we will call them out. One of our goals in the Black Army is to provide support for our club even beyond the stands. Our members are very active in community service and outreach projects. We work side by side with Chivas USA on projects such as Heal the Bay Beach Clean-ups and Blood Drives. Our supporters group also takes on an active role in promoting equality and acceptance for fans of the beautiful game. We are currently promoting the first-ever Equality Night at an upcoming Chivas USA match.

In terms of game day bragging, you can count on the Black Army to give everything it has for over 90 minutes, every game. If our club falls behind, we will only get louder. Win, lose or draw our Goats can count on our full support. Our loyalty is without question or condition.

Greatest game(s) in team history?

Surely, these will happen when we leave the HDC.

Predictions for this season?

With Robin Fraser at the helm, we know that there is massive potential for improvement and long term success. We have all witnessed his contributions at RSL and can see that he has what it takes to turn things around at Chivas USA. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this club climb back into the playoffs in 2011.

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

We love our country and our league! The vast majority of our members are also in the American Outlaws. In terms of MLS, we realize that this is the best league in the country at this time and the best opportunity for the American player to develop into professionals. The success of MLS is a key component to the overall success of the game in the United States. There is no doubting that the league has serious limitations, but we get the idea of supporting the domestic game. Only an idiot would expect MLS to be on par with leagues and clubs that have a 100 year head-start. We are going to truly enjoy growing with the MLS.

For more information and/or to join Black Army 1850 check out their website.

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Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

Making The Case: A Troubling Time for Supporters in New England

At this point in American soccer I thought we were really past this. I thought that, for the most part, Major League Soccer teams had decided that supporters were a good thing. Yeah, sure they occasionally dropped the f-bomb and, oh yeah, we'd really appreciate it if you left the smoke bombs at home, but you all keep on doing what looks good on TV and to the rest of the fans at the stadium... cheering your brains out for the home team.

Wrong.

Last weekend the New England Revolution took to the field at the massive Gillette Stadium against the Chicago Fire and what occurred around the 60th minute of this match can only be described as madness. The solid New England site, "The Drug is Football" has documented the incidents well and we''ll be borrowing their descriptions liberally.

"What can only be described as a planned operation took place against the Fort (the supporters section for Revs fans) and Revolution Supporters Groups. Gillette Stadium security, TeamOps, went about ejecting and in multiple cases having the Foxborough Police Department make arrests. The start of all of this is from the "You suck asshole" chant that is routinely done around the league after goalkeepers take a goalkick."

From various accounts of the incident, which you can also read in more detail at two other Revolution sites, "The Indirect Kick" and "The Bent Musket", supporters of the Revs were forcibly removed from the stadium after security responded to multiple complaints over language (during this match and all season) coming from "the Fort". Of others who were not removed many left the game in silent protest of the security details' tactics.

Whether or not this was a premeditated operation is unknown., but members of "the Fort" noticed an increased security presence during the match, more security supervisors from TeamOps (which is owned by Revs team owner Robert Kraft), and the lack of the Revs Girls who normally roam freely around the section cheering with the supporters. An omonous foreshadowing of things to come.

"The Drug is Football" reported that at least 10-12 people were arrested and more than 20 people have been banned from Gillette from the match. Their account again:

"One person who was arrested has gotten in touch with us, due to pending legal action we will not publish his name however he told us he was arrested for disorderly conduct. We witnessed him being arrested and he was peacefully leaving The Fort along with many others. He also has told us that when he was arrested by the Foxborough Police Department he was not read his Miranda Rights, when he asked he was told by the arresting officer "Fuck your rights", in addition when they ID'd him he gave his military ID to which the officer said to him "You must be in the Navy because you're acting like a pussy". 
Obviously we cannot blame this directly on the team, but these actions by the Foxborough PD are appalling and the disrespect they gave to an active member of the military is shameful considering we are a nation still fighting multiple wars. These officers may be or have been members of rival branches of the military but there is no excuse for bringing that into their job. One cannot help but think this all could have been easily avoided."

The Revolution's Chief Operating Officer Brian Bilello confirms what sparked the incident (full statement here):

"Unfortunately there was an issue last night in the fort which was a culmination of multiple weeks of complaints from many of our STH who do not sit in the fort. This was related to one particular chant which our supporters' liaison has spoken to the supporter group leaders about on multiple occasions this season."

While Bilello calls the situation from last Saturday an "issue" for the members of the supporters groups (the Rebellion and the Midnight Riders... both previously profiled in our "Better Know a Supporters Group" series) and other unaffiliated fans in "the Fort" this was more than just an issue. His PR backing of the security's actions will only make the current situation worse.

Why TeamOps decided Saturday's game was the day they were going to come down on "YSA" or any other poor language we may never know. Given the treatment some supporters experienced the response by Bilello appears short-sighted and tone deaf. Blaming supporters without giving a hint of remorse to how they were treated or maybe acknowledge that TeamOps may have been over-zealous will haunt him and the team for a long time.

The New England Revolution are one of the founding clubs of MLS (and the only team still with its original crest) and the former home of some great American soccer players including Steve Ralson, Clint Dempsey, and Taylor Twellman. The team missed out on several MLS Cup titles in the league's early years and, since success in the in the 2007 U.S. Open Cup, the team has struggled missing the playoffs in 2010.

Gillette Stadium, home to the NFL's Patriots and located 30 minutes south of Boston in Foxborough, is the home of the Revolution, but even decent crowd sizes, something that has been hard to come by lately, are swallowed up by the nearly 70,000 seat behemoth. The team's owner, Robert Kraft, one of the saviors of MLS in its darkest years has been accused of indifference to the team and whether or not that's completely accurate it's easy to see why that charge has been leveled against him.
 

"The Fort" during last Wednesday's poorly attended TFC match
and what it might look like each game going forward.
Photo Credit: The Drug is Football

What occurred on Saturday night at Gillette was the culmination of years of difficult relations between the Revolution Front Office, the ever rotating set of TeamOps security personnel, and the supporters of the Revs.

Rebellion Vice President Brendan Schimmel said, "The failure is everywhere. The FO has to respond to complaints from STHs, in doing so they risk alienating a majority. Security, for their tactics employed being perceived as disorganized, inconsistent and indiscriminate. Everyone and their mother knows the behavior at a Pats game is ten times worse, except they don't have one section they can scapegoat.

"Although, I can assure you the FO did intervene before security took action Saturday night allowing us the chance to curtail the profanity. The expectation that anyone had the power to prevent a crowd like this from swearing is unrealistic and the result was unfortunate. The response to these requests is what forced Security's hand. This is a bad situation that put good people in difficult positions."

"I love the Revs. But the feeling of being treated like criminals in your own house is frustrating," he continued.

"Celebrating supporters for their joint road trip to Red Bull Arena one week and then having ejections occur for the same behavior a week later at home is inconsistent and it brings multiple underlying issues that linger with many supporters to the surface."

Schmimmel even acknowledged that Revolution supporters have been working to stamp out "YSA" as it is offensive, annoying, sophomoric, and unoriginal. Both the Rebellion and Midnight Riders released a joint "Fan of Code Conduct" which looks to rid the supporters section of such actions. Unfortunately, running a supporters group is much like herding cats and cultural change takes time.

The mess that transpired only serves to highlight the bigger problem the Revolution organization has... that they are stuck in what is commonly referred to as MLS 1.0. The fact that newcomers (and even some older clubs) to MLS have soccer-specific stadiums, supporter friendly policies and expectations, and successful marketing that shows positive growth in their team's area. The Revolution has none of these markers of a successful MLS franchise.

And while Schimmel points to "healthly" relationships with the Revs FO, the rot in the club comes not from well-meaning people behind desks, but a lack of understanding coming from the ownership of what it takes to become a successful American soccer franchise. Look at the Revs hesitation in signing a "designated player" (Benny Feilhaber basically fell into their lap via the allocation order rule and even then it seemed as though they were going to pass), look at the lack of progress of finding the team a proper soccer home, look at the limited marketing and family-sanitized approach to game day operations and one can see the frustrations underlining what transpired last weekend.

Where do the Revolution and its supporters go from here?

Schimmel wondered out loud, "Honestly, there is no one solution that can probably satisfy everyone. Regardless of the advances we make, overall, the perception of our ownership and the venue we play in will always serve to create discord."

"The incident has ballooned into something far bigger than a simplified argument about a fan's right to swear. It is now for better or for worse serving as a referendum on how the club's most loyal fans feel about the organization," he said.

Teams across the league use its supporters to market the team, the atmosphere they create is the stuff that draws the TV cameras in, and is, more often than not, celebrated by the fans in the rest of the stadium. In the cavernous Gillette "the Fort" is often the only audible crowd noise and when the majority of the section left the match the difference was clear. The Revolution can't both promote "the Fort" culture and then actively restrict some of the elements (and off-color comments) that come from it.

This is a crucial time for American soccer in New England. After drawing 65,000 to the same place for the U.S.-Spain match the Revolution drew barely drew 6,500 to a midweek match against Toronto FC (although it was during the Stanley Cup Game Seven with the Boston Bruins) and 14,500 to the Fire match. The potential for growth in the Boston-area is there and has been since the Revolution's arrival in 1996.

Stories like this one only heighten the perception that the ownership isn't serious about American soccer and putting down solid roots. With much of the American soccer world's eyes on Kansas City last week and seeing their ownership's commitment to American soccer and the positive working relationship the club has with its supporters (including its own members bar!) just shows that it can be done.

Many long-time season ticket holders and members of the supporters groups are questioning their commitment to a club they've given so much support to, but that the club has given so little back to them. If the actions from Saturday's game and Bilello's comments are to be taken as evidence, the team appears to have put its lot in with family-sanitized game day "atmosphere" (which research shows the family dollar in American soccer is credibly fleeting) rather than the supporters who are there game in and game out. If the Revolution loses "the Fort" then they may have just lost the entire plot.

The Revolution supporters have meetings scheduled with the Front Office, but only time will tell if American soccer in the Boston-area can survive such a disaster that occurred this past Saturday. At this point both sides are talking past each other with the Revs FO concerned about the language and the supporters concerned about their treatment by security personnel and other issues festering underneath this latest incident.

In the end the best solution to this problem might come from the most simple idea. One commentator wrote that to end the "YSA" chant just "put the fucking ball in the net and there won't be a goal kick."

There you go.

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Tags: Major League Soccer, Making The Case, New England Revolution, Supporters Groups

Better Know A Supporters Group: Angel City Brigade (LA Galaxy)

 
 
We continue our comprehensive coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.

When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.
 
Coming off their SuperClasico win against Chivas USA Saturday night, it's the "Angel City Brigade", supporters of the Los Angeles Galaxy.
 
As told to the Free Beer Movement by former ACB council member "Pox" and one of their current "capos".
 
The Basics
 
SG Name:  Angel City Brigade (ACB)
 
MLS Club:  Los Angeles Galaxy
 
Stadium:  The Home Depot Center
 
Year SG Founded: 2007
 
Section Name (if other than SG name): Section 121 / The North End
 
Any other SGs apart of your section?  The Galaxians occupy the front of section 122.
 
Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction):  The North End of the HDC, section 121.
 
The Meaty Questions
 
What are the origins of your groups’ name?
 
Angel City refers to our group’s homage to Los Angeles.  We’ve felt from the beginning that it was important to add Los Angeles in some way to our group’s name.  Brigade just refers to the camaraderie between our group’s members.  Hence, Angel City Brigade.
 
Favorite chants/songs?  
 
“This is LA” is our anthem.  It’s sung before every match and usually in the dying minutes of a match.  It’s unique to the league, and at a time when groups recycle a lot of songs it’s nice to have one that completely stands on it’s own.  Other songs that seem to be favorites are “Aleo” and “LA LA LA Let’s Go.”  We’re VERY big on moving en masse in unison.  These last two songs get everyone jumping and moving together and add to the atmosphere of the North End.
 
Chants can be found here.  http://angelcitybrigade.net/acb-chants/
 
Why is being in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?  
 
Soccer Supporter’s in America are becoming a huge selling point for marketing soccer in America.  There’s a fervor and passion that comes with being a soccer fan and up until recently this aspect of the game was lost on the American public aside from a very small minority.  I believe that the Angel City Brigade and other SG’s across America and Canada are playing a huge part in not just providing an example of the passion but educating America’s sporting public.  If you come into our section you WILL lose your voice and you will leave knowing that you gave your all in support of the LA Galaxy.  This type of dedication makes you feel a part of the team.  That, and the numbers don’t lie.  We went from 20 members in 2008 to 600-800 per game in the 2011 season.  The passion, organization and knowledge we have is clearly contagious.
 
Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?  
 
Angel City Brigade has grown and thrived in one of the most creative environments in the world.  We exemplify Los Angeles both inside and outside the stadium.
 
Inside the stadium we chant and sing non stop in support of our team.  If we are losing we only get louder. Angel City Brigade sing in Spanish and English and carry the best traditions from each supporting culture around the world, effectively creating a hybrid supporter’s culture.
 
Outside of the stadium ACB have bands dedicated to their section who play benefit shows to raise money for travel costs and tifo.  Angel City Brigade organize and compete in a friendly soccer game with Chivas USA supporters to promote the passion and emotion of a Clasico game without the violence.  Angel City Brigade are true representatives for what supporters in America should be, a conglomeration of different aspects of support from around the world who carry all the emotion and passion without the violence.
Section 121 Band found here.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmEJAZ7mU2o
 
Greatest game(s) in team history? 2002 and 2005 MLS Cup Finals.
 
Predictions for this season? 
 
With our hectic schedule I doubt we’ll take the supporter’s shield again.  We’ll easily qualify for the playoffs and once we do we’re easily one of the favorites, especially now that we’re hosting the MLS Cup.
 
Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer? 
 
It’s sad that this even has to be asked.  Unfortunately a lot of Americans tend to lean towards the European or South American leagues.  Since that’s the reality it’s up to average MLS fans as well as supporter’s groups to draw attention to our league through our support in both dollars and passion.  You will NEVER have the same connection with a club 6,000 miles away as you do to the one in your own backyard.  Be proud of our young league and clubs.
 
One message.  GET YOUR HEAD STRAIGHT!!!  SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CLUB!!!! 
 
For more information and/or to join the "Angel City Brigade" check out their website

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Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

Better Know A Supporters Group: Bulldog Supporters Group (Colorado Rapids)

 

After a brief interruption in our weekly series we return to our coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.

When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.
 
Today it's the "Bulldog Supporters Group", supporters of the reigning MLS champions, Colorado Rapids.
 
As told to the Free Beer Movement by BSG President Jon Forget.

The Basics

SG Name: Bulldog Supporters Group (BSG, The Bobbies)

MLS Club: Colorado Rapids

Stadium: DSG Park

Year SG Founded: 2010

Section Name (if other than SG name): The East Terrace

Any other SGs apart of your section? West Terrace occupied by Pid Army.

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): North side of the stadium, directly under the “2010 Championship” plaque, you can’t miss us.

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name?

Our name evolved from our home pub. We hail out of the downtown Denver soccer pub “The British Bulldog”. This was a place many of us would frequent before the supporters group formed to watch matches with others. For many of us, our pub is a second home.

Favorite chants/songs?

Glory, Glory Colorado, Conor Casey Rapids’ #9, Mountain Roads Take Me Home, Pabloooooo, Ginger Ninja, We all Bleed Rapids Burgundy, Mental

Why is sitting in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

No sitting here! We are unique to the league as we are the ONLY standing supporters terrace. I guarantee you will not get the excitement or atmosphere standing/sitting in any other part of DSG Park as you will in the terrace. From the terrace we hope to inspire the team, pushing them on to victory with our voices. Win or lose, we are family.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

We realize that we are new, but that hasn't stopped us from quickly growing and becoming organized. We have many new and old fans that are 

completely dedicated to the club, and are eager to inject their passion to make it better. It’s this passion from our members that is on display before, during, and after a match. Simply put, we are rowdy, partying, song singing, soccer loving people drinking beer and playing games in the warm Colorado sunshine. There aren't many ways to spend a Saturday better than that.

Greatest game(s) in team history?

Chris Henderson’s screaming volley over Mark Dodd to reach the final in ’97 is something many of us will never forget. Coming back against Kansas City on the 4th of July down a man in ’05. Crushing LA on opening day 4-0 in ’08. Of course our run through the playoffs this past year. Home and away against Columbus, San Jose and Dallas are games that for obvious reasons will never fade from many of our memories.

Predictions for this season?

If we finish out of the top three that would surprise a lot of people. Now that we have a taste for winning in our mouth there are raised expectations. If we don’t get our hands on some kind of silverware I think people will be disappointed. The month of July will be HUGE for us as we will be playing seven games in twenty-six days. After that, we start in the CCL where traveling might take it’s toll. God willing, we will remain healthy and focused enough to be able to mount a serious challenge for back-to-back titles.

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

Simply, this is what we have. For people lucky enough to feel so passionate about soccer there IS no other place to start than by supporting your local team. Do it, and be proud of your team, remember your rivalries and that the enemy of your enemy is a friend.

For more information and/or to join BSG check out their website.

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Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Supporters Groups

Better Know A Supporters Group Photo Essay: Section 8 (Chicago Fire)

Chicago Fire training pitch. Toyota Park in the background.

We had to take a brief respite from our weekly series featuring profiles of Major League Soccer supporters groups, because, well, several of them haven't returned their questionnaires yet (you know who you are!).

That being said... we were digging through the dark room at FBM HQ and we came across a bunch of photos we've never featured on the site. Last October we had a chance to catch a game in "Section 8", the supporters section of Chicago Fire the night before the USMNT international friendly against Poland.

Growing up in Wisconsin, the Fire were the closest MLS team for us to travel to so we frequented their games as they played all over Chicago-land; Naperville, Soldier Field, and finally, in their own digs, Toyota Park.

The late fall match pitted Chicago Fire against their arch-rivals, Columbus Crew, and though the home side was starring down a post-season-less 2010, the supporters (and not a supporters group, but an "independent supporters association") were in full voice and in the mood to put a dent in the Eastern Conference leading Crew's march to the playoffs.

The weekend also happened to coincide with the 13th anniversary of the birth of Chicago Fire so the fans were in a festive mood to celebrate their club's accomplishments despite the lack of them that season.

The night was the truest definition of what it means to be a supporter of American soccer; no matter what.... they were behind their club. True support. True passion.
 

 


Section 8 Chairman Tom Dunmore






View from the "capo".
Celebrating (?) the other "Great Chicago Fire"




A parade of past successes. 


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Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

Better Know A Supporters Group: Screaming Eagles (D.C. United)

 
 
We continue to expand our coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.
 
When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.
 
Today it's the "Screaming Eagles", supporters of the capital city's D.C. United.
 
As told to the Free Beer Movement by SE President Paul Sotoudeh.
 
(Editor's Note: Last week we featured on of D.C. United's other SGs, Barra Brava. Check their profile out as well!)


The Basics

SG Name: Screaming Eagles

MLS Club: D.C. United

Stadium: RFK Stadium

Year SG Founded: 1995

Section Name (if other than SG name):
The Nest (132-134), The Perch (231-232) and the Aerie (139)

Any other SGs apart of your section?

No (Editor's Note: Other SGs in RFK including Barra Brava, La Norte, District Ultras)

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction):

Sections 132-134 and 139, as well as additional rows in 231 & 232. Northeast side of RFK (the TV or “loud side”).

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name? 

We held a quick poll amongst the small group of people who came to the earliest meetings. Screaming Eagles was adopted without too much debate. It just made sense. There was an eagle in DC United’s logo and supporters groups scream when they're in the stadium. It serves as a bit of an homage to our fighting men and women (we’re based in our nation’s capital, after all), and we figured that nobody looking for the 101st Airborne would be confused by a soccer group w/ the same nickname.

Favorite chants/songs?

Tough to pick. Although we have a number of go-to chants that we have used for many seasons, we like to keep things fresh and add new ones every year or two, so there’s always a new favorite – we have a good one for Charlie Davies that we just started doing. If forced to pick, I’d say what is currently known as the “Benny’s Army” chant – a chant we first did back when we were “Bruce’s Army” – is a good choice.

Why is sitting in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

The Nest is along the touchline at midfield, very close to the action, so we have the opportunity to influence the match through our support. There’s no better place to be a fan and really experience and become part of the game. Plus, our sections are where the party is.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

At the start of MLS, the Screaming Eagles set the standard for how American supporters groups are run in terms of organization, style of support, and relationship with our club’s front office, and we continue to push things forward in 2011. Our tailgates are the best in the league, our support for DC United and the US National Team is second to none, and our match-viewing events draw plenty of new fans. But we also sponsor local rec soccer clubs and organize community outreach activities and charitable efforts that spread the game to young and old alike. We are the best grassroots promotional organization for soccer in the DC area, because it isn’t just about watching the match for us. We’re here to grow the game, and that’s what we do every day.

Greatest game(s) in team history?

The 2004 Eastern Conference Final is the greatest match in MLS history. That said, I think the team’s high point is the 1997 MLS Cup at RFK Stadium, when United beat the Colorado Rapids 2-1 in front of a sold-out home stadium. For that match, the league erected and sold additional temporary bleacher seats behind the south goal to accommodate the demand. The weather was rainy and bitterly cold. And still, we had 57,000+ people come out and thunderously chant for DC together – and we won a title. When growing the game is your goal, there’s no better blueprint to follow than that.

Predictions for this season?

Great improvement. We aren’t MLS Cup contenders by any reasonable measure, but we’re young and tough and talented. I expect that we’ll make the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, getting markedly better as the season progresses, and then be a really tough out for whoever we’re matched up with in the playoffs.

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

DC United is our hometown team and the US National Team is our nation’s team. There are lots of people who live in America and claim to love the game, but aren’t interested in supporting soccer in this country so that one day it will be as good or better than what they get up early on weekend mornings to watch. There’s nothing wrong with being interested in watching the high standard of play on display in foreign leagues, but this is our game and these are our teams, and we believe in supporting them 100%.

For more information about the "Screaming Eagles" or to join up with them check out their website.

Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

Better Know A Supporter’s Group - Barra Brava (D.C. United)

 
 
We continue to expand our coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.

When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.
 
Today it's Barra Brava, supporters of the capital city's DC United.
 
As told to the Free Beer Movement by BB "elder" Robert Gillespie.
 
The Basics
 
SG Name: La Barra Brava

MLS Club: DC United

Stadium: RFK Memorial

Year SG Founded: 1996

Section Name (if other than SG name): Barra

Any other SGs apart of your section? Yes, Screaming Eagles (working on their profile, too!) and La Norte, District Ultras

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): Barra is 135-138 at midfield on the East side of the stadium

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name?

Our group was founded by a man from Bolivia and took the name (Brave Fans) from the Barras of South America.

Favorite chants/songs?

“Fuck you Ref!” Well our favorite songs/chant is “La Barra Brava”, but many others are very popular, including “Olsen’s Army” which the front office has co-opted for their marketing strategy.

Why is sitting in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

Well, first off, no one sits. In the Barra sections everyone stands for 90 minutes, singing, chanting and generally creating a winning atmosphere for our Club. Our sections are in the first level right at midfield so in addition to the great atmosphere we also have seats closest to the action with fantastic views of the field.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

Our passion and commitment to completely supporting the team for 90 minutes. Our atmosphere has long been the best in MLS, the commissioner moved the MLS Cup to RFK in 2005 because of the atmosphere calling DC, “MLS’ best market”.

Our tailgates are legendary and have been featured in Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post and numerous other publications and broadcasts.

Our members develop real relationships with our players. Many former players or injured players visit our tailgates and injured/suspended players often stand in the Barra during matches. Christian Gomez, our former #10, famously played a drum in the Barra all match during an away in Giants Stadium.

Our group and the Screaming Eagles (DC’s other supporters group) were the first to really travel in large numbers not just to close matches but throughout the league.

The people are amazing, it’s a great group who raise large amounts for local charities, donate thousands of hours of community service and create a true family atmosphere in Lot 8 and in RFK

Greatest game(s) in team history?

Well all four MLS Cup wins of course. I think most United fans would say the 2004 Eastern Conference final against NE was the best atmosphere ever at RFK if not in the entire league. Our friendly against Nottingham Forest in 2004 was an incredibly fun atmosphere including an amazing tailgate with Forest fans and founded a relationship that continues to this day.

Predictions for this season?

For DC United: Young, tough scrappy team that should be hard to beat and challenge for a playoff sport. For La Barra Brava: To continue to set the standard other MLS supporters groups aspire to

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

I started following soccer in the 1970s with the NASL and began coming to United matches in 1996. Many of our members, especially our early members, followed soccer from their home countries or were NASL fans. We also have a large number of active and former service members who fell in love with soccer while stationed abroad. Soccer is the greatest sport in the world, the only truly global sport and there is no sport in North America that has the kind of supporter that follows soccer. The large, organized groups and the fanatical relationship to the club organized among 1000s of fans in a supporters group isn’t seen in the NFL, NBA or Baseball.

To learn more about Barra Brava or if you're in the DC area, join the group, visit their website.

Tags: Better Know A Supporters Group, Major League Soccer, Supporters Groups

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