EDITOR'S NOTE: As part of MLS Unites, a joint initiative between MLS and the MLS Players Association, we will be shining a spotlight on and showing our appreciation for the supporters who continue to inspire us during these uncertain times and drive our return to the field. Visit our MLS Unites for Supporters page to see everything the league, clubs, players and coaches are doing.
We can all use a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s exactly what The Nordecke offered Columbus Crew players and staff as they return to training.
Members of the supporters’ section hung various tifos at the club’s facility, taking a game-day element from MAPFRE Stadium into the training-ground environment.
“Every little bit of motivation and spirit that we can gain, the better,” Crew head coach Caleb Porter said. "Obviously, our supporters are the soul of our club.”
Before the 2020 MLS season was suspended, the Crew earned a 1-0 win over NYCFC at home behind Lucas Zelarayan’s debut goal. They then went to the Seattle Sounders, MLS Cup winners in 2019, and earned a 1-1 draw.
Of course, Crew fans played a massive role in keeping the team in Columbus ahead of the 2019 season. Since, the club has announced plans for a new stadium in downtown Columbus and a new training ground that'll be called the OhioHealth Performance Center.
And while it’s increasingly likely that MLS games (like other professional leagues) would return without fans, the support in Columbus shouldn’t waver one bit.
“Honestly, it was a great idea because it motivates us and it makes us think about returning to play and give our all for the support that they give us every match,” left back Milton Valenzeula said.