Lately, The Powers That Be at MLS are falling all over themselves celebrating The Fans. Not by giving us stuff, mind you. By writing articles:
- Fans working hard at fandom in the off season. While the players are relaxing. We’re just so dedicated, never taking a break from soccer.
- Players judging which stadium has the toughest fans. (We’re #6)
- Fans tips on tailgating (trust me, Rapids supporters do not need to read this)
- The history of MLS supporters groups
- Fans help MLS grow (duh)
- Something called “tifo”. Do we have this in Colorado? (Honestly, if you want to read about some serious, occasionally deadly, tifo-type shenanigans, check out the article on Turkish soccer fan-atics in The New Yorker)
- Supporters are fans who are also passionate. About soccer. Or maybe vice versa. Whatever.
Honestly, this is all starting to sound suspiciously like sucking up. It’s nice that MLS recognizes that fans are important — how else are they going to generate income? So how about a free jersey or free beer?
I polled some random Rapids supporters recently, to see what changes they’d like to see this year, to improve the fan experience. I got a variety of interesting and possibly sarcastic answers. A common theme was more player-fan interaction, especially after the games. Why can’t players spend more time on the field, signing autographs, high-fiving, chatting and so forth? Another popular idea: more fans in the stands. Thinking back to the frenzied atmosphere at the Conference final in November, I’d definitely agree. What changes would you like to see? Check all that apply.
Actually, it’s about time that MLS figured out fans are important. If we’re the 12th Man, then maybe we deserve occasional coverage throughout the season, not just token recognition during Supporters’ Week.