MLS fans should begin the calendar year with hope, thanks to some potential roster moves in the works, and the start of a new season just a couple months away. But a new year isn’t just about vague wishes – traditionally, it’s also about resolutions, of course.
So what are various supporters’ groups around the league resolving for the 2017 season? We checked in with representatives of several of them around the league to hear what they’re planning.
Red Patch Boys, Toronto FC
“Our resolution is to keep the positive momentum rolling into the next season,” says Mike Langevil, one of the group’s original members. “Despite a heartbreaking loss to Seattle in the MLS Cup final, a lot went right for Toronto FC this year. [We sent] our arch-rivals Montreal packing, and winning the Eastern Conference title was like getting two Christmas stockings at once!”
But that’s on the field – off the field, he hopes they can keep up the momentum in the stands sparked by the team’s post-season run. “Winning always brings out new faces, and the return of some people who gave up on the team in our ‘dismal decade,’” he says. “It's very important now that [Toronto] supporters’ groups harness the energy and interest that's buzzing around this team again.”
Dallas Beer Guardians, FC Dallas
Bailey Brown, president of the DBG, pledges to take care of the Supporters’ Shield on behalf of FC Dallas throughout 2017, and to continue to tour it around Texas. That includes, she says, making sure to get a springtime photo of it amid the state’s flowers, bluebonnets.
“[This] was an amazing year for everyone in Dallas,” she adds. “Our resolution for 2017 is to continue to grow not only in numbers but in passion for FC Dallas and to continue to help influence the environment at Toyota Stadium.”
Texian Army, Houston Dynamo
Member James Hromadka says they promise to take advantage of the Zona Naranja section, into which Dynamo supporters moved this past year, with increased visuals.
“Of course, any supporters’ group is always trying to improve, but one of our big resolutions is to improve our large tifo presentations,” he says. “We used to do several large overheads each season, and we are going to work to get back to that. We have some new energy and blood in our leadership this season that I think is really going to help drive that goal of ours.”
Empire Supporters Club, the New York Red Bulls
Bernon Fernandez, a board member with original New York Red Bulls supporters’ group Empire Supporters Club, promises:
“Our New Year's resolution is to keep bringing the ruckus for our boys — bigger, louder and stronger each year since 1995,” says Bernon Fernandez. “Also, we will continue bringing new songs to keep the MLS songbook fresh for everyone.” (See what he did there?)
Chicken Bucket FC, New York City FC
This group – whose fried-food origin can be found here — boasts a resolution in line with their mission. “Our resolution,” says co-founder Dave Shapiro, “is to spread the CBFC spirit to all corners of Yankee Stadium ... perhaps [along with] some honey mustard.”
Resurgence, Atlanta United FC
This is one of the new groups aligned behind expansion side Atlanta, and Sam Veal, a founder and board member, says they’re working on a list of resolutions for their inaugural season. Two of them concern inclusion, he says.
“We aim to keep pushing for diverse voices in our group. Resurgence prides itself on replicating Atlanta’s vibrant diversity, and our membership relishes in our variance of voices within the group,” he says. “We are all from different walks, be it race, gender, sexuality, and beliefs, but we want to remain as forceful a collective as the City of Atlanta itself.”
He also says that means they’re actively working to align themselves with a diverse range of other supporters’ groups. “We’re really hitting a stride in our match-day planning and think we have some special surprises lined up for Match Day One,” he says. “We’re keeping it positive and acknowledging our differences, and if we keep this up, we’re really going to have a tour de force on our hands.”
Dark Clouds, Minnesota United FC
The other newcomers to MLS this year, Minnesota United FC, already enjoy an established and awesomely named supporters’ group in the Dark Clouds. But they’re focusing on welcoming fresh faces, says Jim Oliver, president and board member.
“For 2017, our resolution is to be way more welcoming of new supporters and making sure they're making big contributions to the community, both in the stadium and outside of it,” he says. “Supporters’ scenes can be tough to break into, and even tougher to sustain long-term, and we want to help people coming to these games make an impact that benefits both the sport and the Twin Cities.”
Southsiders, Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Perhaps the MLS region best known for contentious supporters’ rivalries, Cascadia, looks to turn up the volume in 2017 with resolutions based in their team’s diverse fortunes. Whitecaps fans, now the only ones in the Cascadia triad without an MLS Cup, are quite aware of that status.
“We shall never ever permit a visiting team to hoist a trophy of any kind in BC Place again,” says Southsiders spokesperson John Knox. “Losing the 2016 Voyageurs Cup to Toronto on the final kick of the match by Mr. Weasel Face” — who MLS fans will know better as Will Johnson —“ was bitter swill indeed. Never again! We're very much looking forward to a major reversal of fortune next year.”
Emerald City Supporters, Seattle Sounders
And last but of course, not least, we come to fans of the defending champions. After year-long reminders of who won the 2015 MLS Cup from their friends in Portland, let’s just say humility’s not on the list.
“Our top resolution for 2017,” says ECS co-president Heather Satterberg, “is to be utterly insufferable."