Just a year ago, fans of Columbus Crew SC weren’t sure if they would have a team going into the 2019 Major League Soccer season. Those fans still have a team. And soon a downtown soccer specific stadium.
The Black & Gold held their stadium groundbreaking event at the stadium site, West of Huntington Park on Thursday afternoon. Approximately 4,296 fans wearing Crew gear from head to toe attended the event, which was emceed by former Columbus star Kyle Martino.
The first 500 fans were greeted with a small commemorative shovel to honor the day, and were treated to music by a DJ Axcess along with food trucks. Fans could also do a little groundbreaking digging of their own with the purchase of a mason jar and their shovel.
“I haven’t been this excited since MLS Cup 2015” said Crew fan Andrew Tolliver. “We didn’t expect to be here a year ago. The fact that we are is a big testament to the city and how much this team means to us.”
The fans had this date circled on their calendar. And they did not disappoint.
An event like this, after the trials and tribulations that they endured, should be open to the public so all fans can witness another milestone happen in Columbus. They should not be closed to the public and be left wondering if this was actually a good plan to begin with in the first place.
“This is unreal. Last year, everything was about to be taken away from us. We got some good supporters and a good community around us to say ‘No, we’re not leaving,’” Crew fan and former team employee Andrew Curry told Massive Report.
Along the way, the Save The Crew movement gained a lot of fans outside of Columbus, and also a lot of haters. The doubts that many had, fueled Crew fans to push even harder to keep their team where they are.
One of the quotes [Zlatan] Ibra has is that he needs more haters, because his haters become fans,” Curry went on to say. “Everyone that was hating on Columbus, ‘They don’t draw the crowd,’ now look at us. Everyone is jumping on our bandwagon now.
Not only were fans excited to witness this event, Kyle Martino was also ecstatic to be back where his professional soccer career began.
“It’s amazing. I’m still kind of buzzing,” Martino said when asked how excited he was to be in Columbus. “I’m just sad I can’t play in this stadium once it starts. I’ll find a way.”
Overall, the groundbreaking event was one like no other. And for the nearly 4,300 fans to show up on a Thursday afternoon workday spoke volumes to not only the city, but to the league.
“It’s Crew, what do you expect?”