Happy New Year my fellow Louligans, 2011 was great and 2012 is destined to be even better. It’s been a while since we’ve updated the site. We haven’t been sitting by idly waiting for the next Lions game. We’ve been living the silly season. Some of us started an indoor team and have managed to go two whole sessions without winning a match. We’ve also been going to Illinois Piasa games and rooting on our local Pro Indoor Soccer team. As always we’ve been active on our facebook pages and updating our fans via twitter on a fairly regular basis. Our podcast has been on hiatus, but we’ll be starting back up soon. All these things are just spokes in the wheel of the St. Louligan master plan. Our main goal continues to be to grow the fan base of St. Louis soccer and to get together with like-minded individuals to have a great time.
We know the pain of losing teams. Our numbers definitely took a dip with the demise of the St. Louis Athletica and A.C. St. Louis- but its time to put that chapter of St. Louis soccer completely behind us. The St. Louis Lions are our team. A team that believes in doing things the right way and have consistently made smart decisions to ensure the future of the club. (The biggest of which was becoming an affiliate of Glasgow Celtic F.C.) We need to continue to grow our group and put all of our support behind the Lions. Why? Because they’re our team and they are the best chance we have of bringing Professional Outdoor Soccer back to our city.
Let’s take a look at the last several teams that have gone into MLS. The Seattle Sounders, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact. One thing that all these teams have in common are massively supportive and active fans. And the fact that, while everyone automatically assumed that the NY Cosmos 2 would be the next MLS expansion team, Orlando City has quietly moved up the ranks to be one of the favorites to take that spot. Orlando City was the NASL team in Austin, TX two years ago- they made the move to Orlando, FL and the USL-Pro last season and won their league. They did so with great fan support and should be a blueprint for us all. Obviously, the Lions are doing everything they can and we have to help them. The economy is in the dumps and there aren’t a ton of millionaires lining up to invest in soccer- but we have to make it attractive for any potential investors. Trust me, a stand filled with screaming passionate fans will impress someone with money to spend more than a small group of people quietly clapping on the sidelines. So here’s your challenge.
GET MORE PEOPLE OUT TO THE LIONS GAMES. I don’t care how we do it, but we have to do it. Tony Glavin (owner/coach/cool guy) has made no secret of the fact that he wants to bring Pro Soccer back to St. Louis. Obviously the first step would be to take the Lions up to USL-Pro. That is a completely achievable goal. If one of us wins the lottery we’ll beg for your money- but until then all I ask is to help make some fans. If you hang out with other soccer fans, get them to commit to at least one Lions game this summer. All we can do is expose people to the fun we have. If they don’t like it that’s their loss. I’m willing to bet that if they come out to Glavin Complex they’ll have fun and come back. Also, don’t limit it to soccer fans. If you know someone that just enjoys having a good time, a few beers and tailgating- they’re fair game. It’s a Saturday out with the boys (or girls). Who doesn’t need that in their life? There are a ton of soccer fans in St. Louis. Every Saturday morning bars like The Amsterdam and Barristers are full of people who are passionate about their English team- we have to keep trying to get them interested in their local team. I would like nothing more than to cause our friend Jim Shipley a giant headache by trying to figure out how to accommodate all the St. Louligans wanting to watch the team. Lets make him buy us our own stand. (I’m sure Jim would love that problem.)
A few of us sat down with Tony, Jim and Michael last week and were discussing the upcoming season. They had just returned from the Annual USL AGM. They even got some complements about the St. Louligans. That’s what we’re here for- to make a difference for our team. We had a great first year as a group with the Lions and they are excited to see what we’ll bring for season two. Obviously banners and beer and singing and chanting will be back, but we need to take it up a notch. We need to do a better job of getting the regular Lions fans to join in with us on the singing and chanting. We need to be louder. We need to do more things in the community that will help spread the word about the Lions and the Louligans. And most importantly we need to have more fun. I believe we can do it.
So, here’s what it looks like for the upcoming months. February will be tryouts for the Lions and Tony will get a chance to look at some new talent and fill out the team. We’ll be there to check it out and maybe have some interviews with potential players. The USL-PDL season starts in May. Maybe another road trip for the season opener. Podcasts, Piasa Games and Pinball. So many things to do. We’ll probably have a pre-season season ticket party like last year- I don‘t know if we‘ll do a special shirt or scarf for this season, but we‘ve always got our CafePress store if you want some schwag. The Lions are kicking around some ideas and really want to do some special things for us this season. All in all, things are great and getting better. The Lions see us as partners in this rather than just customers. That’s all we can ask and lets return that respect by treating them as more than a just a team. They’re OUR team.
To anyone who might be reading this article who hasn’t joined us at a live game or is just following us on twitter or facebook, I really hope you’ll join us in person. It’s a great time and you’ll meet some great people. Following a team with a Supporter Group is addictive. I’ve met people that I consider great friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. The level of the soccer is not the same as the EPL or MLS, but its good and getting better. The number of MLS players that have played in the PDL is pretty impressive. This is your chance to see the next big things of American soccer. Some of these guys will be stars in the future and you can see them closer than you’ll ever see them once they make it big. I love the intimacy of the PDL. I like being friends with the coaches, players and management of my team. I think every other Louligan feels the same way. So. Please join us at the Glavin Complex this season. We sold 40 Louligan season tickets last year. I want to sell over 50 this season and I want at least that many in regular attendance at the games. Come to the park and bring a friend. I’ll see you there.
you're doing it wrong.
It’s been about a week since our last St. Louis Lions game of the 2011 season (our first full season with the Lions). Lots of great things happened this season and lots of fun was had. True, the soccer on the field wasn’t always the greatest. We did take a step down from the lofty heights of Division 2 pro soccer to Division 4 semi-pro soccer, but I also believe we gained a lot of pride and respect as supporters. We didn’t quit. It would have been easy to throw in the towel after the demise of AC St. Louis (many did), but those of us that truly appreciated the fun of going to a match and hanging out with like minded individuals had to keep going. The St. Louis Lions of USL-PDL were always a part of the plan for 2011, even when we were clinging to the hope that AC STL would return. Several Louligans had extolled the virtues of Glavin’s club in Cottleville and had already convinced us to add them to our list of teams to support. The fact that AC died led to a full embrace of the Lions. I, for one, do not see this as a bad thing. We formed an excellent partnership with the Lions front office and have been taken care of from day one. Whenever an issue came up it was taken care of by the staff at the Lions and I’d like to personally thank Tony Glavin, James Shipley, Michael Harshbarger, Pete Gowran, and Beth Causey for helping us with everything this season. (plus all the rest of the Lions staff and players) I think it was a pretty successful first season together.
Just counting in my head I would say we had an average of around 30 Louligans at every game. Some others came to one or two games, but consistently the core of the group showed up for every game. We also added a few to our crew as the season went on and even some of the original Lions fans joined us (in spirit) by chanting and singing with us at games. That’s pretty cool. We heard from several sources that our efforts were noticed by other teams in our division. The Lions players were always available to chat after games and on facebook and twitter and said we made a difference to them on the field, and that’s really the highest praise a supporters group can receive. Would we like to have had more of the crew there? Definitely. And we tried. We continued to invite them to games and events. We worked with theLions and others to give everyone a reason to come out. We planned viewing parties for USA games and the Champions League Final in conjunction with Lions games, we had a screening of the Jay DeMerit film at the park before a game, we had tailgate parties, we offered to buy tickets, we had family day, etc. In short, I think we did our part to bring fans to the games. We had a target audience of people that enjoyed coming out to AC games last season and it should have been more successful. But it wasn’t. I really don’t know what more we could have done. I think we just have to admit that maybe live soccer is not a priority for everyone. That’s ok. We’re paying our dues. We know who the true St. Louligans are and our numbers will continue to grow. When pro soccer returns to St. Louis, whether that’s USL-Pro, NASL, WPS, or something else- we’ll be ready. We are building our own movement. For now, the Lions are happy to have us and I’m happy to have them.
The only real downside to this season is that it was so short. We need more games. Luckily for us there are other outlets. We’ve been asked to come out to SLU games and SIUE games so we’ll organize a few outings to those games. Piasa will be back later this Fall so we’ll be there too. I know there are other local colleges with teams that I’m sure we could have some fun with- Lindenwood, Webster, Wash U., etc. So what I’m saying is there are plenty of local soccer teams to support. I encourage you to attend any and all the games you can and to invite friends to go with you. If they have a good time, make sure they come back next season to the Lions. I can’t wait until next season to see what the Lions have in store for us and the rest of their fans. I have a feeling that the Celtic affiliation is just the beginning and we are lucky to be in on the ground floor.
So keep watching our Twitter feed and our Facebook pages for what’s next. Podcasts will continue to be recorded no matter how silly and useless they are. St. Louligan FC indoor team season is about to start so you can always come and yell and scream for us and see how bad soccer truly can be and that should make everyone appreciate the Lions even more.
Finally I’d like to thank those of you that cared enough to support our movement. Those of you that took time out from your family or jobs to come out for a couple hours on a weekend and stand in the heat and have a few beers with friends are all appreciated. For spending $20 for a scarf or a t-shirt to show your support. For bringing a friend to a game. For giving a ride to someone that couldn’t drive. For just being a soccer fan. Thank you. Without all of us we would have missed out on something great. It takes us all to make it work. Even if you just sit silently in the crowd, just being there means a lot to me.
The Lions played 4 games, including one the Louligans road tripped to in Des Moines. The boys talk about the HORRIBLE officiating in the USL, how the Lions players are responding to us, and the upcoming day of soccer at the Glavin complex.
And, of course, we're drinking and cursing. Kyle calls Brad a c*nt. Tone set.
Hello Boys and Girls. That’s right, another post in the same week. It’s almost like we’re getting serious. Never fear, we’re as silly as ever, but I wanted to make sure everyone knows about another great day of soccer planned around the St. Louis Lions soccer club. Last weekend we had a double-header with a Champions League Final viewing party at iTap before the Lions game against the Springfield Demize. That day couldn’t have gone any better (unless you’re a Manchester United fan). After a glorious afternoon of great beer and great friends and an epic Champions League Final we got to witness a 6-1 beat down of the Demize by the boys in the Hoops. Glavin’s Green and White were on fire and we even brought a couple more newbies out to the game and they plan on coming back. (Welcome Matt and Seth)
So there’s an away game this weekend. How will we fill our time before the next home game on the 11th?
How can we top that double-header? Enter Jered Schneider. Who is Jered Schneider? He’s a guy that follows us on twitter. I’ve never met him and I’ve only talked to him via tweet and it was never anything big. Then one day he sent me a tweet asking if the Louligans would be interested if he could get a screening of the Jay Demerit Documentary, “Rise and Shine”, in the St. Louis area. Well, yeah we would.
Most of you are soccer fans and have heard about the Jay Demerit film. For those that don’t know the story (SPOILER ALERT)- Jay Demerit’s story is almost a fairytale. He was a good soccer player in High School and College and when he graduated he packed a backpack and took off for England with the hopes of playing professional soccer. He started in Sunday park leagues and moved up the ranks until he was playing for Watford in the Championship and scored the goal that got them promoted to the Premiership. He then compounded his success at the club level by playing for the United States National Team in the 2010 World Cup. He’s now playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS. To put it in perspective, imagine that one of our Lions took off to England without a plan and ended up captaining a small team to the Premiership and playing for the United States in a World Cup. That’s basically what happened. That’s the short version- the long version is in the film. I heard about the film a while ago and I knew it had gotten good reviews and they were trying to get the financing to get distribution. I would hear about screenings in select cities and secretly wished that St. Louis would be on the list somewhere. Jered did too, but instead of waiting around, he made it happen and he decided to let us in on the party. Thanks Jered.
In addition to the St. Louligans, Jered wanted to involve the St. Louis Lions and the St. Louis Chapter of the American Outlaws. You all know the Lions, but you might not know the Outlaws. They’re a supporter group for the US Men’s National Team and they have chapters all across the country. (They also work with the Free Beer Movement- a ringing endorsement for me.) I knew Ryan of the AO St. Louis group also only by facebook and twitter. Again, I fully support that group. Most of us are USMNT fans and having them involved in this venture will hopefully make some cross members between our group and theirs.
To appeal to everyone involved, Jered had a great plan and has worked with the Lions to satisfy all parties. So without further ado… The TRIPLE HEADER!!! The St. Louis Soccer Day. All of this takes place at our home ground, Tony Glavin Soccer Complex on June 11th. Step one, at 1pm we’ll watch the film- “Rise and Shine” in the complex. Intermission with a little tailgating from 3pm until gametime. Step two, at 5pm we watch our Lions take on the Kansas City Brass on the pitch live. And Step three, at 7pm the American Outlaws will host a viewing party for the USMNT Gold Cup game vs. Panama back inside the complex. Another full day of soccer for us at the Glavin Complex. We have a chance to see a great film, introduce some newbies to the greatness of the Louligan experience at a Lions game, and to watch the USMNT with the premier supporters group in St. Louis. The cost of this entire day of soccer is $15 with proceeds going to get the film released to the general public. (also- our friends at Objectivo are selling a shirt to raise money for the film- link below) WIN-WIN-WIN.
If all goes well, the film will make some money, the Lions will gain some fans, and the Louligans and American Outlaws will gain some members. I honestly can’t imagine a better day of soccer. Best of all, we don’t have to change any of our plans. We were going to be at the park by 3 anyway to drink and hang out- now we get to watch a movie while doing so. Then we should have more fans at the game than usual and that should encourage our boys even more. Finally, we have a good excuse to prolong the day and have a few more beers after the game and watch the USA beat up on Panama.
Now, you can help Jered by spreading the word. That’s all he wants. I need you to tell your friends and enemies about this terrific day. Use facebook, email, twitter, electronic forums, message boards, and old fashioned face to face networking to let everyone know about this event. I can’t wait. Below are all kinds of links to share. DO IT.
R.S.V.P. to the Game
R.S.V.P. to the Film
"Rise and Shine" Film Page
Fundraising page for the Film
St. Louis Soccer Day facebook page
American Outlaws St. Louis Chapter facebook page
AO St. Louis Twitter Feed
St. Louis Lions Website
St. Louis Lions Twitter Feed
St. Louligans Twitter Feed
Jered Schneider's Twitter Feed
Objectivo's Jay Demerit Fundraising T-shirt
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