I like Alexi Lalas. I like Taylor Twellman. Everytime I have met them either through AO or in St Louis I have enjoyed their wit and discourse. So I don’t mean to call them out, especially when I am sometimes guilty of the crime myself.
“You can’t call yourself a US Soccer fan, if you do not support the MLS” ~ Taylor Twellman at Washington University panel discussion May 2014.
“If you consider yourself an American soccer fan, that is fine, but if you do not support your domestic league, then I do not consider you an American Soccer Fan” ~ Alexi Lalas
I know that, as pundits for the MLS, they’ve a vested interest in seeing it thrive, but can we stop this please?
Supporters (as I said, including me) do it all the time. Calling other fans out for not supporting properly. Taking pot shots at each other because someone doesn’t conform into their idea of what a soccer fan entails. Who exactly gave you the right to determine who is or isn’t a soccer fan?
If you watch Houston Dynamo v Chivas USA on a Thursday night, it doesn’t make you any more superior to someone who wakes up at 5am to watch Chelsea v Newcastle.
If you would rather save up your money to go watch the United States national team play a few times a year, than buying a season ticket to your nearest MLS team 250 miles away, then who is anyone to say you’re doing it wrong?
Millions of people around the world every single weekend, go and watch their local lower league team, bypassing the top division in their country for something else. You’d never tell a Oveido fan in Spain that they’re not a real football fan because they don’t support a La Liga team, so why do we put up with it here?
Luckily, St Louligans are a microcosm of US soccer fandom. We have all comers, from diehard indoor fans, Eurosnobs, bandwagon jumpers, USMNT fans, lower league team fans, obscure foreign team fans……. We’re all fans though, be it Ambush, Lions, SKC, West Ham, Rangers, Barcelona or Munich. we’re all fans of the game. Who is to say one way is better than the other?
American Outlaws mantra of Unite and Strengthen, really couldn’t be put any better. It doesn’t matter where you are from, who you support, how you got into the game or how long you’ve been a fan…. All are welcome, all are embraced. We can see, in the relationship between the players and the fans how that has grown and thrived. It works.
Fans who went this year to watch FC Bordo and the Lions, and whom will go next year to watch Saint Louis FC, are every bit a part of the US Soccer supporters landscape as someone with a season ticket to an MLS team. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
There is no right or wrong way to do this. We’re all fans. From the soccer mom on the bleachers to the bleary eyes 7am drunk watching Fulham v Stoke City. This game is big enough for us all.