SEATTLE - MAY 25: Fans of the Seattle Sounders FC cheer during the game against FC Dallas at Qwest Field on May 25, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. FC Dallas defeated the Sounders 1-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Back in 2009 my seatmates and I decided that the four of us would have five seats. We did this to take girlfriends/wives, but also with the knowledge that we could expose some friends to the game who had not appreciated it live and local. While none grew into season ticket holders, several now watch the matches on TV come to a few games a year and generally enjoy the sport. Many around the soccer community did this little bit of out-reach. They connected with the anti-soccer types, the euro-snobs and others in season one. In 2010 this number surely declined.
In 2011 it may be near non-existent. Tickets are readily available for games, including yesterday at less than face value.
This week I decided to relaunch my efforts, and the evangelism of the sport went to Dick Fain of KJR-AM Seattle. While the team had connected with every host at the station at various points and Fain had gone to a game or two previously, he had not enjoyed the culture of the game.
He and I go back more than a decade, so I knew enough to not get him into the Brougham End, but I did know that he would love going to Fuel with the Emerald City Supporters and doing the March to the Match. So that's where we started. Oddly there were a handful of FC Dallas fans at Fuel a well. They, like Fain, wanted to see the ECS from the inside.
I didn't guide the conversations, and just introduced him to a few people (a Capo, one of the Presidents of the group, a few others). They talked, and based on the interview that Fain did with Matt Gaschk (mp3) he enjoyed the experience and was impressed with not just the atmosphere but the dedication of the supporters and fans of the team.
Not everyone can take a member of the media, but everyone can reach out to other sports fans they know and get them to a game. The experience is still there, even if the team is in a tough stretch. Every thing but the result and the rain was wonderful Wednesday night. We all know some people that watch the Euro leagues, but don't give the local team any attention. We can change that. To borrow from our friends at Canadian Soccer News -Support Local Football.Futbol.Soccer
Get back out there and evangelize the sport again.