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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

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