Are You Ready?

2012 is gonna be great!

Happy New Year my fellow Louligans, 2011 was great and 2012 is destined to be even better. It’s been a while since we’ve updated the site. We haven’t been sitting by idly waiting for the next Lions game. We’ve been living the silly season. Some of us started an indoor team and have managed to go two whole sessions without winning a match. We’ve also been going to Illinois Piasa games and rooting on our local Pro Indoor Soccer team. As always we’ve been active on our facebook pages and updating our fans via twitter on a fairly regular basis. Our podcast has been on hiatus, but we’ll be starting back up soon. All these things are just spokes in the wheel of the St. Louligan master plan. Our main goal continues to be to grow the fan base of St. Louis soccer and to get together with like-minded individuals to have a great time.

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We know the pain of losing teams. Our numbers definitely took a dip with the demise of the St. Louis Athletica and A.C. St. Louis- but its time to put that chapter of St. Louis soccer completely behind us. The St. Louis Lions are our team. A team that believes in doing things the right way and have consistently made smart decisions to ensure the future of the club. (The biggest of which was becoming an affiliate of Glasgow Celtic F.C.) We need to continue to grow our group and put all of our support behind the Lions. Why? Because they’re our team and they are the best chance we have of bringing Professional Outdoor Soccer back to our city.

Let’s take a look at the last several teams that have gone into MLS. The Seattle Sounders, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact. One thing that all these teams have in common are massively supportive and active fans. And the fact that, while everyone automatically assumed that the NY Cosmos 2 would be the next MLS expansion team, Orlando City has quietly moved up the ranks to be one of the favorites to take that spot. Orlando City was the NASL team in Austin, TX two years ago- they made the move to Orlando, FL and the USL-Pro last season and won their league. They did so with great fan support and should be a blueprint for us all. Obviously, the Lions are doing everything they can and we have to help them. The economy is in the dumps and there aren’t a ton of millionaires lining up to invest in soccer- but we have to make it attractive for any potential investors. Trust me, a stand filled with screaming passionate fans will impress someone with money to spend more than a small group of people quietly clapping on the sidelines. So here’s your challenge.

GET MORE PEOPLE OUT TO THE LIONS GAMES. I don’t care how we do it, but we have to do it. Tony Glavin (owner/coach/cool guy) has made no secret of the fact that he wants to bring Pro Soccer back to St. Louis. Obviously the first step would be to take the Lions up to USL-Pro. That is a completely achievable goal. If one of us wins the lottery we’ll beg for your money- but until then all I ask is to help make some fans. If you hang out with other soccer fans, get them to commit to at least one Lions game this summer. All we can do is expose people to the fun we have. If they don’t like it that’s their loss. I’m willing to bet that if they come out to Glavin Complex they’ll have fun and come back. Also, don’t limit it to soccer fans. If you know someone that just enjoys having a good time, a few beers and tailgating- they’re fair game. It’s a Saturday out with the boys (or girls). Who doesn’t need that in their life? There are a ton of soccer fans in St. Louis. Every Saturday morning bars like The Amsterdam and Barristers are full of people who are passionate about their English team- we have to keep trying to get them interested in their local team. I would like nothing more than to cause our friend Jim Shipley a giant headache by trying to figure out how to accommodate all the St. Louligans wanting to watch the team. Lets make him buy us our own stand. (I’m sure Jim would love that problem.)

A few of us sat down with Tony, Jim and Michael last week and were discussing the upcoming season. They had just returned from the Annual USL AGM. They even got some complements about the St. Louligans. That’s what we’re here for- to make a difference for our team. We had a great first year as a group with the Lions and they are excited to see what we’ll bring for season two. Obviously banners and beer and singing and chanting will be back, but we need to take it up a notch. We need to do a better job of getting the regular Lions fans to join in with us on the singing and chanting. We need to be louder. We need to do more things in the community that will help spread the word about the Lions and the Louligans. And most importantly we need to have more fun. I believe we can do it.

So, here’s what it looks like for the upcoming months. February will be tryouts for the Lions and Tony will get a chance to look at some new talent and fill out the team. We’ll be there to check it out and maybe have some interviews with potential players. The USL-PDL season starts in May. Maybe another road trip for the season opener. Podcasts, Piasa Games and Pinball. So many things to do. We’ll probably have a pre-season season ticket party like last year- I don‘t know if we‘ll do a special shirt or scarf for this season, but we‘ve always got our CafePress store if you want some schwag. The Lions are kicking around some ideas and really want to do some special things for us this season. All in all, things are great and getting better. The Lions see us as partners in this rather than just customers. That’s all we can ask and lets return that respect by treating them as more than a just a team. They’re OUR team.

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To anyone who might be reading this article who hasn’t joined us at a live game or is just following us on twitter or facebook, I really hope you’ll join us in person. It’s a great time and you’ll meet some great people. Following a team with a Supporter Group is addictive. I’ve met people that I consider great friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. The level of the soccer is not the same as the EPL or MLS, but its good and getting better. The number of MLS players that have played in the PDL is pretty impressive. This is your chance to see the next big things of American soccer. Some of these guys will be stars in the future and you can see them closer than you’ll ever see them once they make it big. I love the intimacy of the PDL. I like being friends with the coaches, players and management of my team. I think every other Louligan feels the same way. So. Please join us at the Glavin Complex this season. We sold 40 Louligan season tickets last year. I want to sell over 50 this season and I want at least that many in regular attendance at the games. Come to the park and bring a friend. I’ll see you there.

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