I never thought I would like soccer.
Growing up in central Indiana, basketball was the sport you played, at least until you were old enough to start playing football. I never attended a soccer game growing up and no one in my family expressed any interest in it until one day, when I was at college, my twin brother told me one of his friends had gotten him tickets to watch soccer in Columbus. I didn’t think much of it until he told me what a great time he’d had, and that he’d be attending the MLS Cup Final. I tuned in briefly to it — my first MLS game — and, well, we all know how that went.
For the next two years, my brother kept telling me about this team, the Columbus Crew. But I was busy, finishing college and starting my career and so I didn’t watch many games. That all changed when my brother texted me Grant Wahl’s infamous tweet. I was incensed on behalf of the community my brother was a part of and that’s when I became radicalized.
I watched the rally online, realized that it wasn’t over and I put an order in for two scarfs that said, “Save the Crew.” I remember hesitating as I went to push the order button, wondering if, by the time these were delivered, the team might already be in Austin, Texas. I put those thoughts to the side and kept believing there was a chance. The first full soccer game I ever watched ended with Adam Jahn silencing 60,000 Atlanta United fans. From that moment, I was addicted to not just the movement, but the sport; I had found a new love.
After that, I moved to Alaska (my day job is as an Infantry Officer in the Army) and continued being a supporter, joining the Nordeke, signing the pledge and watching games at 6 a.m. my time. I made trips to attend games and got plugged into the community of Crew fans on every corner of the internet.
I was in northern Alaska on a training mission when I got a series of texts from my brother. I remember standing in the cold, and realizing that our community had finally achieved our goal. We had done it! I was as far as I had been from the Crew fan base, but I had never felt closer. Two years later, I was still in Alaska celebrating the Crew winning MLS Cup with my brother who had brought me into the fandom on the phone.
As I continue to grow in my fandom, I recognized that I wanted to give back and continue to contribute to this Massive community. That is why this year, I am excited to have the privilege of writing for Massive Report. My goal is to provide a view from afar, as a fan who has lived across the country but never in Columbus. I’ve had beers with Crew fans from Carolina to Seattle and I’m fascinated by the ethos of what it is to be a Crew fan wherever you happen to be.
I also hope to be able to help new fans like myself grow in their understanding of both the game of soccer and the Crew community. As someone whose day job involves creating and deploying tactics to achieve victory, I’ve gotten deep in the weeds of the rules and tactics of soccer. Yet I can still remember learning about the offside rule, why it’s important who the No. 10 is, what in the world GAM is and why this guy named Frankie is running around the stands.
As I take this next step in my own Crew journey with you the reader, I hope to be able to both share what I’ve learned and continue to grow my knowledge of this team I love.