The year is 2010 and I am fresh out of the great American tradition that is amassing as much student debt as possible. My sights are set on a fresh life in the borough of Brooklyn, NY. Like many of my generation, I grew up playing soccer, but the beautiful game had taken a backseat to other extracurricular activities as I had progressed through my schooling.
Soccer always held a special spot in my heart, and would manifest occasionally as intramural teams at college or pickup games with friends. I'd long had an eye on MLS and was excited about the growing league, but had yet to hitch my wagon to any particular club.
You see, I happened to have grown up a few miles outside of Philadelphia and the closest team to me was this MetroStars/Red Bulls operation. The prospect of rooting for this New Jersey team that claims to be from New York and is named after an energy drink wasn't appealing. So the wait continued.
Around this time the Philadelphia Union entered the league and caught my attention. So I started traveling down to Chester, PA and watching matches there. This had a few benefits, of which included developing a healthy dislike for the NJ Pink Cows, and introducing me to the concept of the supporters section. Having been unaware of the existence of such a group I knew instantly I needed a community like that in my life. Alas, driving to Philly to watch matches was a pain in the ass, and Brooklyn had me hooked, so it was clear that getting really involved with that club was not sustainable.
My hopes were pinned on NYC getting an expansion club. This was by no means a long shot, as it was widely understood to be Don Garber’s wettest of wet dreams at the time. As it became clearer that there would indeed be a brand new club, my excitement grew. Immediately a Google alert was set, and periodically (hourly, daily, who's to say) I searched “NYC MLS supporters club.” Then one bright beautiful day it all came together. NYCFC formed, the Third Rail formed, and I was all in.
That's how I became a fan of New York City FC, and the community is why I continue to be one. Our club is awesome, they are dedicated to winning, and our community of supporters is top f'n notch. To stand in the bleachers on match day is one of my favorite ways to spend two hours in NYC. It’s why I check HRB five plus days per week. It’s why I’ve got four different jerseys for a team that has only had three seasons. It’s why i ride the 4 train (which is always running local) for 45 minutes to a baseball stadium where the security guards treat us like unruly cattle.
It’s the singing, the chanting, the celebrating. It’s the community.
The best part is it is all that much sweeter to have been there from the beginning, supporting the club and growing with it.