Welcome to the refreshed Black and Red United!! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a fan of soccer. I played it, watched it, and really got into it during my younger days. Growing up in Michigan, there weren’t many options for soccer games on TV. The occasional Champions League match every few weeks was my main chance to watch the professionals play. The 1994 World Cup was the first international tournament I watched with interest. And then, this league named Major League Soccer came about. I watched as many games as would appear on TV, but didn’t select a team because Michigan fans don’t root for Ohio or Chicago. Still, I followed the league casually until in 2007 I graduated law school and moved to the DC area.
Studying for the bar exam, as your lawyer friends will tell you, is a summer’s worth of hell, so to celebrate finishing it, a law school friend of mine that happened to be in DC for a summer internship took me to my first D.C. United match. It was D.C. United vs. Club America in the 2007 Superliga and we sat on the quiet side to take in my first MLS match. But, I wasn’t just following the match. I took in the entire experience of RFK - the players, the atmosphere, but especially the crowd. I remember looking across the field at the Screaming Eagles and the Barra Brava singing and cheering and going nuts, looked over at La Norte drumming and dancing the entire game, and I leaned to my friend and went, “Next game, I’m taking you and we’re going to sit with the crazy fun people.”
And so we did. The next match I went to, we sat in the La Norte section and learned that behind a supporters group, there was a community. There was a family. And I was so deeply interested in becoming a part of it. I started coming to more games, interacting with more fans and fanatics alike, attending supporters group events, and I dove headfirst into the D.C. soccer community. Eventually, I found a home with the Screaming Eagles and through there, my love for the team and the community really grew.
Moving to DC, I always wanted to latch onto a team in the city I was living. The Black-and-Red have always made it easy with the talent on the field to become attached: Ben Olsen, Luciano Emilio, Christian Gomez, Jaime Moreno, Clyde Simms, Fred, Chris Pontius, Andy Najar, Bill Hamid, Dwayne DeRosario, LEWIS NEAL! The history and tradition also contribute, with the MLS Cups and the Supporters Shields and the several trophies. But, through everything, what keeps me coming back is the community, my D.C. United family...you out there. We’ve had some great years on the field and heard RFK bursting at the seams with noise. We’ve had some years where the fans had to motivate each other in the stands to keep it entertaining.
There are road trips, trips to the Maryland Soccerplex, community service events, supporting each other outside of soccer. It’s about sending 700 people up to New Jersey for a playoff match, only for the match to be canceled and 300 people going back up the next night for a win over your archrival. You were there for the team, and you were there for each other. Win or lose, the support was there, the family was there. And that’s why I look forward to every Saturday we are blessed with a tailgate in Lot 8 and a match featuring the Black-and-Red inside legendary RFK Stadium. I suspect that’s what keeps a lot of you out there coming back too.
I’m proud to be a D.C. United supporter. I’m even prouder to be a member of the D.C. United community. So, if you haven’t experienced a match this season, come on out to Lot 8 and tailgate with us. Join us inside RFK and sing for our guys on the field. And then you will truly understand why I’m a fan of D.C. United, and in the process, hopefully you will become a part of this fun family.
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