Let me start this blog by giving you some history about me; this will hopefully show that my opinion is well rounded and I have truly considered this opinion. I am one of nine children; of which all the males played football and all the girls were cheerleaders. There were a few of us that also played soccer. I love Notre dame and grew up routing for the Cowboys in Redskin country. I like my football!!
With that considered, I can truly say there is no fan more fanatical than those routing for teams of the MLS. I recently attended my first MLS game which took place in a stadium (RFK) very far from both teams home turf (New England and Texas); yet the stadium was packed. Let’s consider the three aspects of the game: Pregame, Game and Postgame activities.
Pregame: I arrived one hour before the game (1000) and was politely informed that I was 3 hours late! The fans of all ages were involved in the normal rituals I had seen at football pregames (trash talking, eating, drinking, etc – the typical tailgating). But in a addition to the norm I saw pick up games of soccer between opposing teams’ fans, I saw multiple groups of fans with instruments ranging from a very large bass drum to a tuba (who brings a tuba to a NFL game?). These groups were instigating the crowd into a roaring, chanting mass of humanity.
Game: This mass of humanity moved itself and ALL of the instruments into RFK and continued the entire game. They did not stop between plays or TV timeouts. They did not stop at halftime or intermissions (sorry for the NHL reference – I needed something there!). THEY DID NOT STOP! Through it all, the chanting and the cheers continued at a deafening level. Even after a smoke bomb was set off in the middle of the crowd, it all continued. They choked, their noses ran and their eyes stung as if in a CS chamber; but they chanted on.
Post Game: Here was the best part! While the chanting continued to keep the beat for well over an hour after the game, it was very much overshadowed by the fact that not just one or two of the players were pressing flesh with the crowd, but the entire team. As well the general manager, the head coach and what seemed to be the entire management group was out mingling and enjoying the victory with the fans. They truly understood this was as much about them (the fans) as it was the organization.
Needless to say, I will be going back for more!
Soon to be MLS fanatic!