It’s been nearly three months since Columbus Crew SC fans last stepped foot inside MAPFRE Stadium to cheer on their beloved soccer team. It’s been 84 days since the Black & Gold last competed in a competitive match, securing a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders on the road.
Since the first two games of the Major League Soccer season took place, the world we once knew has changed and evolved to create what many are calling a “new normal” due to the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing, hand washing and a change in social interaction are ways the country is combating the disease and this, unfortunately, led to a pause in the world of sports.
It’s been a long journey since MLS stopped play in early March, but with some foreign leagues like the German Bundesliga and English Premier League returning to action, it appears signs of normalcy may be on the horizon. This past week, MLS gave the green light for teams to engage in small group training sessions. This isn’t a full-fledged “all systems go” directive from the league office but it does give players and supporters a glimmer of hope.
That glimmer was energized this past week as Crew supporters had a surprise for their favorite soccer team. Members of the Nordecke’s supporters sections decorated the Crew’s training ground at Obetz with Tifos that typically hang around MAPFRE Stadium on game day.
The gesture was greatly appreciated by the players and staff, with some members of the Black & Gold reacting on social media.
The outpouring of love and support from the Crew faithful even caught the attention of head coach Caleb Porter.
“Yeah it was cool. Obviously a nice touch,” Porter told the team’s social media staff. “We really appreciate our supporters coming in and doing that. Every little bit of motivation and kind of spirit that we can gain, the better.
“Obviously our supporters are the soul of our club. I think the guys had a little laugh as well with the pirate, the captain and the Viking crew banner, I thought that was pretty good. I want to thank our supporters, the Nordecke for doing that. I know the players really enjoy seeing that and it gave us a little bit of a lift today in training.”
Defender Milton Valenzuela was also overjoyed with the outpouring of support.
“It was a beautiful, beautiful gesture. The truth is, I liked it a lot and I think all of my teammates liked it a lot,” he said. “Honestly, it was a great idea because it motivates us and it makes us think about returning to play and give our all for the support they give us every match. Thank you to all the Columbus Crew fans for the gesture.”