you’re doing it wrong.
It’s been about a week since our last St. Louis Lions game of the 2011 season (our first full season with the Lions). Lots of great things happened this season and lots of fun was had. True, the soccer on the field wasn’t always the greatest. We did take a step down from the lofty heights of Division 2 pro soccer to Division 4 semi-pro soccer, but I also believe we gained a lot of pride and respect as supporters. We didn’t quit. It would have been easy to throw in the towel after the demise of AC St. Louis (many did), but those of us that truly appreciated the fun of going to a match and hanging out with like minded individuals had to keep going. The St. Louis Lions of USL-PDL were always a part of the plan for 2011, even when we were clinging to the hope that AC STL would return. Several Louligans had extolled the virtues of Glavin’s club in Cottleville and had already convinced us to add them to our list of teams to support. The fact that AC died led to a full embrace of the Lions. I, for one, do not see this as a bad thing. We formed an excellent partnership with the Lions front office and have been taken care of from day one. Whenever an issue came up it was taken care of by the staff at the Lions and I’d like to personally thank Tony Glavin, James Shipley, Michael Harshbarger, Pete Gowran, and Beth Causey for helping us with everything this season. (plus all the rest of the Lions staff and players) I think it was a pretty successful first season together.
Just counting in my head I would say we had an average of around 30 Louligans at every game. Some others came to one or two games, but consistently the core of the group showed up for every game. We also added a few to our crew as the season went on and even some of the original Lions fans joined us (in spirit) by chanting and singing with us at games. That’s pretty cool. We heard from several sources that our efforts were noticed by other teams in our division. The Lions players were always available to chat after games and on facebook and twitter and said we made a difference to them on the field, and that’s really the highest praise a supporters group can receive. Would we like to have had more of the crew there? Definitely. And we tried. We continued to invite them to games and events. We worked with theLions and others to give everyone a reason to come out. We planned viewing parties for USA games and the Champions League Final in conjunction with Lions games, we had a screening of the Jay DeMerit film at the park before a game, we had tailgate parties, we offered to buy tickets, we had family day, etc. In short, I think we did our part to bring fans to the games. We had a target audience of people that enjoyed coming out to AC games last season and it should have been more successful. But it wasn’t. I really don’t know what more we could have done. I think we just have to admit that maybe live soccer is not a priority for everyone. That’s ok. We’re paying our dues. We know who the true St. Louligans are and our numbers will continue to grow. When pro soccer returns to St. Louis, whether that’s USL-Pro, NASL, WPS, or something else- we’ll be ready. We are building our own movement. For now, the Lions are happy to have us and I’m happy to have them.
The only real downside to this season is that it was so short. We need more games. Luckily for us there are other outlets. We’ve been asked to come out to SLU games and SIUE games so we’ll organize a few outings to those games. Piasa will be back later this Fall so we’ll be there too. I know there are other local colleges with teams that I’m sure we could have some fun with- Lindenwood, Webster, Wash U., etc. So what I’m saying is there are plenty of local soccer teams to support. I encourage you to attend any and all the games you can and to invite friends to go with you. If they have a good time, make sure they come back next season to the Lions. I can’t wait until next season to see what the Lions have in store for us and the rest of their fans. I have a feeling that the Celtic affiliation is just the beginning and we are lucky to be in on the ground floor.
So keep watching our Twitter feed and our Facebook pages for what’s next. Podcasts will continue to be recorded no matter how silly and useless they are. St. Louligan FC indoor team season is about to start so you can always come and yell and scream for us and see how bad soccer truly can be and that should make everyone appreciate the Lions even more.
Finally I’d like to thank those of you that cared enough to support our movement. Those of you that took time out from your family or jobs to come out for a couple hours on a weekend and stand in the heat and have a few beers with friends are all appreciated. For spending $20 for a scarf or a t-shirt to show your support. For bringing a friend to a game. For giving a ride to someone that couldn’t drive. For just being a soccer fan. Thank you. Without all of us we would have missed out on something great. It takes us all to make it work. Even if you just sit silently in the crowd, just being there means a lot to me.