Our next contributor in the “Living Louligan” series is Dave Corbitt. Dave’s history with soccer is a different path than most of us took, so this is a great perspective. If you’ve been around for a while, tell your story and we’ll post it.
I grew up in a military family and everywhere we lived was soccer. My older brother came to love soccer in the late 60’s while we were in England (he still has hope for Leeds). I came up watching and playing as much soccer as I could as did the rest of my family. In fact, there were so many soccer players in my family that while at church camp during the summer, my family would take on anyone. Even as a 45 year old fat guy, I play a 40+ outdoor game in the winter and a pick-up game during the summer. I love the game.
I’m not a big fan of any one particular team or league but whether it’s a local high school, PDL team, or an International at Busch, I just love being in the environment. Once I talked some of my pals to join me at an AC St.Louis game, and we thought it would be a good idea to sit at the half-line so we could see more of the game. While there I heard drums, cheering and a ton of enthusiasm from the corner
of the stands so I turned to my friends and said, “They look like fun and we’re going down there.”. I met fans from several different supporter groups who, coincidentally, would soon band together to
become the St.Louligans. They were somewhat lit from the tailgate, loud and we’re definitely standing behind “their” team.
To me, the greatest part of soccer is the team concept. This is true with soccer fans. How many times have you seen someone out in the public with a soccer jersey on and thought, “That guy knows what is cool”? It’s like a fraternal order. It’s a club. Sure, you have players on the team, coaching staff and owners, but you also have a band of soccer fans who stand behind the club and irritate the opposition. You can contribute to the flow of a game more than you realize.
On one occasion, the St.Louligans were at an Illinois Piasa game as they played Detroit Waza. We picked out one player from Detroit and made it a point to heckle him. He’s a skilled player, no doubt, and he took on our challenge with some good play…..most of the time. When he stumbled, we pointed out his shortcomings over and over. At the end of the game he came over to our corner and I sensed that ‘something’ was about to happen. The hair started to stand up on the ‘Louligans collective backs as the player stuck his head through the door and said, “I hate you guys…..but you’re the best fans in the league. The more you yelled, the harder I tried and the harder I tried, the more you yelled. Well done.” We made a difference in the game and it was awesome.
Supporter groups are what you make of them. If you put out little effort then you probably won’t get much out of it but if you jump in with a bunch of enthusiasm, you’ll find that you’re deep in a group of rabid soccer enthusiasts who can make things happen. The St.Louligans are from the far reaches of the St.Louis area so there are plenty of opportunities to participate at a game, watch party or social event. Our efforts to secure pro soccer are going to come from a grassroots effort and this is where it starts.
Come out and meet some people. Let me introduce myself. I’ll probably be handing you a beer at the same time so be ready.