LAFC supporters - dressed in camouflage at Dignity Health Sports Park - vs. LA Galaxy
Courtesy of LAFC

LAFC supporters groups don camouflage for "united front" on Trafico trip

Following his team’s 3-2 loss to the LA Galaxy Friday night, LAFC coach Bob Bradley bemoaned his players’ lack of intensity.

But they won’t have to look too far for a source of inspiration in that regard before the rematch on Aug. 25 at Banc of California Stadium.

Members of LAFC’s 3252 Independent Supporters Union stormed into Dignity Health Sports Park and occupied several sections of the stadium well ahead of kickoff Friday — with an outfit to match their growing reputation for intensity.

3252’s president Jimmy L. recalled the conversation leading up to the decision to don camouflage: “We either all do it, or none of us do it.”

Packing 17 buses to the brim for the journey to Carson, Jimmy estimates some 1,800 supporters made the trek, most of them in camo shirts and headwear.

The 3252 routinely look outside MLS for ways to raise the bar for the league’s supporter culture. They draw inspiration from both global and lesser-known clubs — as with the creation of their famed “Jump For L.A. Football Club” chant, a nod to Ajax Amsterdam and Melbourne Victory — remixing those ideas with their own Los Angeles flavor.

The camo idea came, in part, from a German second-tier club Dynamo Dresden.

“There is always something coming out of left field,” said Monty S., a 3252 member who admires the 2.Bundesliga club’s creativity. “One day maybe they’d all show up in chicken masks. They’ve always got something up their sleeve.”

Videos of Dynamo Dresden supporters wearing camouflage outing flipped a light bulb for 3252 leaders, and not only for the intimidation factor.

“I think [Dresden] all just did it as an idea to show the unity between their groups, just to show that they’re all on the same page,” said Monty, who felt his fellow LAFC supporters could follow suit.

Most members of the 3252 are also affiliated with smaller supporter groups that fall under the umbrella of the ISU. With their different cultures, personalities and ideas, getting all these groups to agree to work together can be challenging. It’s part of the reason why SGs like those at Dignity Health Sports Park and Rio Tinto Stadium sit in different parts of the ground during matches, whereas supporters at Providence Park and Banc of California Stadium are in the same section.

But when members of the 3252 heard the camo idea, all groups were emphatically on board. For Monty, the message was clear.

“We are all together, we’re all on the same level with each other, we can work together to make a big statement — as simple as camouflage can be.”

With fewer tools like drums and signage at their disposal, visiting supporters have more challenges in making bold statements. Apart from sheer numbers, it can be hard to get a unified point across. But LAFC supporters felt they did that Friday.

“It separated us from the casual fan. It’s showing the united front. It’s all in. …” Jimmy said, then making reference to the ticketing controversy that took place in the week. “It was just a lot of behind the scenes stuff, the unknowns that with Carson, that come to light and they get away with things.”

The controversy referenced came about when the Galaxy refunded a number of tickets in two sections of DHSP two days prior to the game due to what they cited as safety and security concerns.

In light of the ticketing confusion, the 3252 knew that showing unity was important, but also that it came with responsibility.

“When we put on all this camo, we knew the consequences,” said Monty. “If someone in camo started throwing hands, that reflects badly on the 3252.”

Of course, despite all the logistics, there was the simple aesthetic fun of the decision, too.

“It looked cool,” Monty said. “We were all together. You could tell everyone was hyped for it.”

Long after the match, by the time the camo-clad 3252 were escorted back to their buses, they continued chanting despite the on-field gut-check of the Galaxy’s victory.

“When you’re sad, sing a song, when you’re happy, sing a song,” said Jimmy. “We’re all in this together.”

That relentless volume, like finding new ways to get creative with their support, is the standard.

“As supporters, we’re going to be singing no matter what,” said Monty. “We did it for three years before the team was even announced. So to me, singing, win or lose, is always going to happen. But I think in that moment in Carson, losing the way we did, in that moment we said, ‘This is where it really counts. This is where we show we’re about this club,’ and we’re going to keep proving it time and time again until we see the club get to a place where we want it to be.”