Rivals on matchday, Texas SGs come together for Harvey relief

Enemies for 90 Texans for life

Though Hurricane Harvey has wreaked historic devastation on Houston in the past few days, it has also inspired numerous stories of people helping other people. And that’s extended to soccer supporters’ group in the Lone Star State. 

Just last week brought a wild 3-3 Texas Derby, with the FC Dallas hosting the Houston Dynamo. But while the supporters in the stands may have been enemies during the game, they dropped all of that instantly when it was time to come together. As soon as news of Hurricane Harvey spread, the leader of one of the main FC Dallas supporters’ groups reached out to one of the leader of one of the main Houston Dynamo supporters’ groups. 

Moved by the scenes in Houston, Dallas Beer Guardians president Bailey Brown contacted her counterpart at Texian Army, James Hromadka, offering to help. 

“It was just the right thing to do,” Brown says. “We had members asking what they could do to help; community outreach is part of what we do as supporters. And this is soccer family.” 

Brown also pulled in another supporters’ group willing to help: 210 Alliance, one of the four main groups for San Antonio FC, a USL team with NYCFC ties and a passionate in-state rivalry with Dynamo-linked RGVFC. Their donation page, with info on online money donation and physical collection options (including the upcoming Dallas match on Saturday against the Red Bulls) even has a suitable motto: “Enemies for 90, Texans for life.” 

“We jumped at the chance to make a real difference in the lives of fellow Texans affected by Harvey,” says 210 Alliance’s Bob Busby, who will coordinate with fellow SAFC SG group Gardeners for an away match watch party this Saturday. “While we may hate each other on the pitch, the beauty of this game is how fans come together when it matters the most."

As the call for help has made its way around the supporters’ community, they’ve seen donations come in from MLS and USL-affiliated groups from all over. That pleases Brown great, but it doesn’t surprise her. 

"This isn't just about Texas," she says. "This is about helping other human beings. I think we -- supporters' groups around the United States and Canada -- would react this way to any community in need during crisis.” 

Hromadka welcomed the collection drive done on their behalf in Frisco. Meanwhile Texian Army also set up an online donation page in response to the crisis. They were, of course, curtailed in their ability to collect physical donations, as Houston doesn’t have its next home game until Sept. 9, and the patchwork of flood zones throughout the city would make it difficult for Texian Army members to congregate in an alternate central location.

“This is unchartered territory for a lot of things,” Hromadka says. He’s been without power for the last few days, and one of two routes in and out of his neighborhood is flooded. Though his house remains safe and dry (albeit dark), other Texian Army members who have checked in have a foot or more of water in their homes. 

“We’re all Texans at the end of the day, and stand together,” he says. “There’s no rivalry when you’re underwater.” 

Hromadka is hopeful that by the the next Dynamo home game, things will be much improved in the city, and he's especially looking forward to reuniting with safe-and-sound fellow fans. “There will definitely be a lot of hugs," he says, "at that first tailgate back.”

Visit donation pages for the Dallas Beer Guardians here and the Texian Army here. Click here to read more about MLS Works Harvey relief efforts.