Last month during the annual Supporter’s Summit, Columbus Crew SC head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter told supporters that he is looking forward to playing home games at MAPFRE Stadium again in 2018, despite the ongoing unknown of the future of the team in Columbus.
Berhalter hopes the passion of the Nordecke — the Black & Gold’s vocal supporter’s section located in the northeast corner of MAPFRE — spreads throughout the stadium and gives the Black & Gold an incredible home field advantage this season. Save The Crew, a grassroots movement started after club owner Anthony Precourt announced last fall a potential plan to move the team to Austin, Texas, heard the plea from the Crew SC boss and is on a mission to, as they call it, “Fill The ‘Fre.”
The idea is, despite the club’s uncertain future and the displeasure fans feel towards ownership, that this team is still close to the hearts of Columbus and the players on the pitch should continue to feel the city is behind them.
Former Massive Report contributor Nate Beckman leads the project and is a key cog behind the rapid growth of the program. In an effort to show that Columbus is a viable soccer market, Save The Crew created the program aimed at energizing the Crew SC game day environment for fans.
“Our purpose is to bring as many fans as possible to MAPFRE Stadium for Columbus Crew SC home games,” Beckman told Massive Report. Supporters are scattered throughout MAPFRE Stadium in various sections or “districts” as Beckman calls them.
The “Fre Fillers” play a pivotal role in creating a fun, engaging environment for other supporters throughout the stadium, as well as those that already do their cheering and chanting in the Nordecke. STC is seeing a tremendous response to this program, gathering 60 volunteers in just two weeks. The group looks to add another 60-80 volunteers to be included within the assigned districts.
Going forward, the intent is for these districts to take on their own personalities, and from there it’s unknown how the program evolves. With more people involved each week, it’s infusing Save The Crew with new ideas and energy, something well appreciated by those who have been on the working hard since October.
If you are interested in helping and wish to learn more about the program, or have ideas you think might be useful, head over to the Save The Crew website to get involved and find out how you can help to “Fill the ‘Fre” beginning Saturday at the home opener when Crew SC takes on the Montreal Impact at 1 p.m. ET.