NEW YORK — It was their first opportunity to take ownership of the New York City expansion team proposed for 2016, and they seized it with both hands.
The Borough Boys supporters group have been around for five years, waiting for the opportunity to get behind an MLS club in Queens. And Tuesday night's town hall meeting at the Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows Park was the first event where the locals were able to show their colors. But the Borough Boys did more: They made themselves heard.
Not only did the group of 30 or so unleash the occasional soccer chant during the event, where MLS officials presented their plans to the community, but Borough Boys president Nick Laveglia also had a say on the podium during the proceedings.
"We’ve been harassing [MLS Commissioner] Don Garber since 2007 to give us a team in New York City," Laveglia said. "So this night is really special.
"The fans are [here] in New York. What they need is a proper club and proper stadium and to build a stadium in Flushing Park," he continued. "We’re going to march down Roosevelt Avenue into the stadium and cheer our team to victory."
So the Borough Boys already have their march mapped out even before a team is officially announced. Laveglia told MLSsoccer.com that the club doesn't have "an official membership" since they don't have a team, but their following numbers "in the thousands."
Ahead of a potential expansion team launch in 2016, the Borough Boys have already fostered what they call "good relationships" with their New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union counterparts. But Laveglia didn't mention the New York Red Bulls supporters as part of that list.
"They don’t like us," Laveglia said of the RBNY groups. "There's going to be a rivalry there and that rivalry has started already."
In the meantime, the Borough Boys will be supporting the NASL New York Cosmos, who are expected to begin play in the fall of 2013. And they'll get behind the NYC2 project best they can.
"This is just a kick-off event. We know how tough this process is going to be and we're going to help them along the way," Laveglia told MLSsoccer.com after announcing to the 500-plus on hand: "The Borough Boys are here. We’re going to make noise. To use a popular phrase: Let’s get stuck in, New York."