When looking back fondly on the US national team's 2-0 victory over Mexico last week in Columbus, Ohio, and remembering the massive tifo unveiled in the north end of the stadium prior to kickoff, the above photo of graphic designer and seamstress extraordinaire Suzi Clow should be the lasting image of American fans' support.
Clow, a third-year Columbus Crew supporter, came up with the idea to power the sewing machine through her Mini Cooper car not for fun or enjoyment, but out of necessity when it became clear the dimensions of the tifo were entirely too large for the warehouse they were working in up to that point.
"The giant 'Home' banner with the eagle was to be hoisted up on a net, and we had the challenge of putting grommets in it and having it be stable enough to hold the weight of the fabric," Clow told MLSsoccer.com via e-mail on Tuesday. "I brainstormed with everyone about the best way to reinforce the grommets ... but had the sudden idea of, 'Why don't we ask people to bring old jeans and we can use pieces of denim.' What's more American than that?"
Very few things are more American than constructing a soccer tifo out of denim, Suzi.
"So here we are, Friday before the big game," she continued. "I had no idea how long it would take me to sew in the reinforcements so I was freaking out about getting it done. We started around 5 pm and I was able to sew all of the reinforcements — dragging myself, the tifo and the sewing machine all over the parking lot — around 9 pm. It was dark by the time we finished and I set myself up in front of the headlights for light."
The tifo concept, which branded Columbus as "Home" for the USMNT vs. Mexico rivalry and reminded everyone of the 2001, 2005 and 2009 successes, came from Crew and USMNT fan Justin Bell. According to Bell, the idea for the eagle centerpiece came from a photo of the U.S. federal courthouse in Columbus.
“I didn’t really know what to do with it," Bell told The Lantern, Ohio State University's student newspaper. "But when it [be]came clear that we were going to have to do this big design, I decided to make that into the centerpiece of this banner.”
The "Home" tifo design was so popular among folks in Columbus that the group mocked up the eagle centerpiece on a T-shirt, now available for pre-order on their website.
The group of tifo designers and constructors operated under the codename #TifoSweat during their "Home" endeavors.
"Honestly, I would say for me, [using the car] was one of the more awesome moments in the process of #TifoSweat," Clow said. "I would not put sewing in a parking lot using my car for power under my amazing ideas bucket, but in hindsight it was kind of out there. You can guarantee that I will be involved with sewing on any #TifoSweat project in the future and using my skills and know-how to construct these things."
The car, by the way, has also doubled as a power source for a margarita-making blender at a Crew tailgate this year. It's practically a legend in the minds of Crew and USMNT supporters.