MONTREAL – Jeb Brovsky’s wife felt a tremor in the Force: “It was the weirdest thing. I saw Darth Vader at your game,” she told her husband, who is a fullback for the Montreal Impact.
Yes, see him she did. Well, not exactly.
Not Luke Skywalker’s father, but a member of a very particular Montreal Impact supporters group: the Jebi Knights (no misspelling here, it's Jebi with a "b").
WATCH: Brovsky's message for the Jebi Knights
Founded in 2012 by five season-ticket holders at Stade Saputo, the Jebi Knights are a family initiative at Montreal Impact matches. These moms and dads – yes, the Jebi Knights have the right to marry – bring their children to the stadium, and the young ones dress up as Chewbacca or C-3PO.
The group, which currently counts 15 active members, has no intention of filling a whole section with Wookiees; they just enjoy themselves while supporting the Impact and, of course, Jeb Brovsky, the Impact fullback for whom the group is named.
“Even before the Jebi Knights thing caught up, we’d identified Jeb as one of our favorites,” co-founder Martin Binette told MLSsoccer.com. “We liked his work rate, and we saw him fighting like the devil in holy water on the field.”
And more than his on-field endeavors, it’s how Brovsky acts as a guardian of peace and justice that caught the eye of the Jebi Knights. The values the 24-year-old embodies are ones that the older members of the group hope they can pass on to their young Padawans.
“We started getting to know him on Twitter, and we saw how he’s not only a good player, but also a good person,” Binette said. “He’s involved in the community, he founded a charity and the messages he sends on Twitter are always positive.”
Unsurprisingly, it was a tweet that started it all. As the Brovskys joked around one day, Jeb’s father called his son a “Jebi Knight.” Amused by the nickname, the Montreal defender tweeted in jest that there should be such a supporters group.
“Within minutes, I got a tweet back saying, ‘I’m doing it,’” Brovsky recalled.
The reply came from another co-founder of the group, Benoît Labonté.
“It was really spontaneous,” Labonté told MLSsoccer.com. “Our kids love Star Wars, so they were into it. They also love soccer, so it fit perfectly.”
“It's amazing,” he said. “It kind of grew and grew, and now they've got more followers and I think it's grown into something very fun for the fan base to get involved in.”
Olivier Tremblay covers the Montreal Impact for MLSsoccer.com.