Monday, April 11, 2011

Better Know A Supporters Group: The Inferno

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 we feature “The Inferno”, supporters of FC Dallas.

As told to the Free Beer Movement by long-time Inferno member Gina Zippilli (and thanks to Dana for all the networking).

The Basics 

SG Name: The Inferno

MLS Club: FC Dallas

Stadium:Pizza Hut Park

Year SG Founded: 1995
Section Name (if other than SG name): The Wedge

Any other SGs apart of your section? El Matador

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): Section 121, in the Southeast corner of the stadium.

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name?

We, of course, haven’t always been FC Dallas. In 1995, when we were the Dallas Burn, the name “Inferno” seemed pretty straightforward.

Favorite chants/songs?

“Dallas til’ I die”- We don’t sing this song because we heard another group sing it and thought it sounded cool. We sing this song cause we mean it.

“Fight for the shirt”- It helped get us the come from behind win at Chicago in 2007. Its a chant we do when the team is in trouble, and the players know that and respond to it.

“Walkin’ In A Dallas Wonderland”- Sometime back in 2008, FC Dallas were getting their butts handed to them in US Open Cup play by a USL team. The Inferno, moved to the point of delirium, started chanting and singing whatever came to mind and thus, a song based on a Christmas carol was born. Not only did this song stick, but we’ve also come up with naughty variations of the song for our mascot, Tex Hooper. Who knew an oversized bull could smoke grass and tap that ass? We sure didn’t.

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

Soccer is different from sports like basketball and football because the fans are more passionate. Any soccer fan knows its not possible to casually sit and watch a soccer game while your team is out there doing all the work. In the supporters section, you get to actively participate in the game. There is no sitting on your hands, twiddling your thumbs or participating in the wave. You get to tell the referee what you thought of his call, tell the opposing team’s keeper how bad he sucks and earn yourself a sore throat the next day for urging your team’s star striker to go for goal. Plus, its more fun to celebrate a goal by jumping up and down, screaming and throwing confetti like a child than it is to idly stand there and applaud like you’re at a golf tournament.

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

What we lack in numbers, we make up for in strength and toughness. We’ve been through a lot with FC Dallas- the stadium not being ready on time, heartbreaking playoff defeats at the hands of the Rapids in both 2005 and 2006, Steve Morrow’s sudden firing after a 5-1 home loss to LA, and the subsequent deconstruction and rebuilding of our team- all at the hands of a new coach we didn’t know or trust yet. They say whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and make us stronger it has. That strength (we chant, sing and cheer for FCD in 90-100 degree heat for months on end every season) from what we’ve been through and the fact that we’re still here makes us one of the best.

Greatest game(s) in team history?

If we’re talking Dallas Burn days, the 5-2 win over LA in 96 was probably our first taste of “this team could be something.” LA was the glamour team in 96 (Campos, etc.) and beating them was big, especially in front of our own fans.

Obviously, the first regulation win in team history was big – v KC on a Thursday, 3-0.

In 1997 we beat LA in the playoffs which was huge and then won the U.S. Open Cup over DC – the first team to beat DC for a championship.

Jumping ahead to the FC Dallas days, the US Open Cup semifinal at Pizza Hut Park in 2005 was big as it was our very first win in the new stadium.

The June 2007 game against Chicago was a come from behind victory at Toyota Park. The odds were stacked heavily against us after going down a goal early on, and having a player sent to the hospital, but the team persevered. Bobby Rhine scored the tying goal with Kenny Cooper scoring the winner, and both players jumped into the group of traveling Inferno members to celebrate their goals.

Beating Kansas City 6-0 in August of 2009 was an important moment for FCD. 2009 was a rough year performance-wise, and Kenny Cooper’s departure for 1860 Munich had just been announced the day before, making the fans feel even worse. That win reminded us that we were a team, and reassured us that we’d be okay.

FCD’s playoff games leading up to MLS Cup in 2010 were also very memorable. FC Dallas ignored the doubters and handled Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy with a degree of confidence we’ve never before seen out of our team. They made history and set an example for future FC Dallas squads as if to say, “hey, if the 2010 team did it, so can we.”

Predictions for this season?

While we’ve lost some key players from the team that got us to our first MLS Cup, and we are indeed off to a very slow start, we’ve still got the pieces to have another very strong year.

MLS MVP David Ferreira is back, George John is healthy and Ruben Luna is maturing and getting comfortable with the first team. Additionally, we just signed Colombian U-20 Fabian Castillo who offers incredible speed in addition to size. Once our favorite bus driver decides on a Starting XI (and where to play Brek Shea- hopefully at left mid), and Luna, Castillo and Milton Rodriguez begin to gel, we could once again be the force to be reckoned with that we were last year.

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

We may like different styles of the game and support different teams, but the one thing every soccer fan in the world shares is that passion for the game. Supporting MLS and US Soccer is just the same as in Europe and other countries around the world. You support your local club and you support your country.

For more information and/or to join up with The Inferno, check out their website.

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"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I'm going to punch them in the face."
– Former Dallas Burn (aka FC Dallas) coach Dave Dir

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