The year 2013 was a strange one for soccer in St. Louis.
We hosted three huge international friendlies, putting us back on the national stage. The Fire and Ice were Midwest champs in their inaugural season. FC Bordo announced they’ll play in 2014 in the NPSL. And rumors continue to put us in consideration for a pro team.
But it was also a year that struggled at times. No formal announcements have been made for the Chupacabras. The Lions finished a disappointing 5th place of 7 teams; barely an improvement from the last-place finish of 2012. The Piasa looked promising at the beginning of the season, but have been on a slide that hasn’t been kind.
There was one major event this season that won’t get any press, but was a resounding success. The Louligans and American Outlaws – St. Louis finally joined forces. There were a few early crossovers, like Jack Burton and Matthew Bird, who encouraged the hook-up; like drunken sailors at fleet week, the love was immediate. The cooperative tailgate at the Inter Milan-Real Madrid friendly was such a success the group appeared on Fox2 news.
So, where do we go from here? What do you do when two titans of alcohol consumption join forces? (Besides open a bar.) If you’re the Louligans and AOSTL, you do something that you’re truly an expert in. Something silly.
On Saturday, January 4th, the first New Year’s Classic takes place.
At 10am, the two sides will take the pitch at the Tony Glavin Soccer Complex. No, not the indoor pitch. The outdoor fields. I said we were silly, and we mean to prove it. But we’re not doing this just to be stupid. We could do that from the comfort of a bar stool. Or couch. Or passed out in the ivy.
The two sides are doing this as a food drive for the St. Louis Foodbank. After the holidays, people tend to forget about the needy. They go back to their regular, pre-holiday routines, try to make those resolutions stick, and pay off those Christmas presents. But this time can be a tough time for those in need; the heating bills go up while paychecks don’t. Tough choices get made, and going hungry is a choice of necessity.
We soccer fans, while unlucky with pro teams, have been blessed with a great community. I don’t like using the word “blessed”, as it’s become overused in a non-secular manner. The definition of blessed is “of or enjoying happiness”. And we truly are. Tony Glavin and his club are lending us the use of one of their fields. His staff and players will be out with us…we hope the players can make noise for us as we do for them. The Piasa staff and players will be joining us; the Fire and Ice coaching staff were some of the first to join up with us. I don’t think there’s a supporters group out there who have the access we have to the players and staff of these teams.
It’s time we start flexing our collective muscles. We have such great people in these two groups, that it’s time to start using our powers for good. And, truth be told, there are some people that don’t know us in the best light. We’re the loud drunks who might say a bad word every now and then. (Or a lot.) Every successful supporter’s group has a charitable side. And we’ve always talked about doing some community service; it’s time to take action. Not just once; we’ll do this every year, to keep our brands out there during local slow soccer times.
The best part about all of this? We’ll have a good time, because that’s what we do best. These two groups, brothers and sisters in supporting soccer, will have a lot of fun, and be able to give back to the community. We’re going to freeze our butts off (or maybe not? Who knows with St. Louis weather.) playing the game we support. We’re going to provide for the needy. And we’ll establish our philanthropic actions that we can continue for years to come. It’d be great to look back in 20 years, when our MLS team is helping host this, and we have corporate sponsors, and think, remember when it was just 50 of us at the original Glavin complex?
Location: Tony Glavin Soccer Complex
Start Time: 10:00am
Admission: 1 canned good or other item to be donated (see list) We highly recommend bringing more, because we’re badass.
There will be the option to donate cash or via paypal at email@example.com
Two 30-minute halves
Free substitutions (goalies will need to wait for a stoppage, just so there’s no confusion or mess with the changing)
General asshattery will be penalized (we all have jobs to go to, so anything like slide tackles, aggressiveness, and lack of alcohol are punishable.)
Offsides will be tough to call, without Line-o and the crack referees we see at the games. So it will generally be off, but exaggerating cherry picking may be met with a visit from a drunken Leicester City fan with a Singapore cane. Glory hounds will not be tolerated…well, we are allowing Chelsea fans to play, so I guess we are allowing some glory hounds….
Andi Gebhart is playing in sandals and a robe.
Both teams should bring a colored and a white shirt; red for AO STL and green for Louligans. There are a lot of people who are members of both, so bring both in case we need to even out players from each side.
Post game, we’ll celebrate our foolishness at Exit6 Pub and Brewery. They’ve agreed to open early, and we are appreciative. We’ll need the electrolytes after the game.