Yesterday was my first experience with what is the intense, drunken mayhem of soccer fans. And it was SO MUCH FUN! Being from Hockeytown I thought I’d seen the best of sports fans, but soccer fans are a completely different breed.
I took a half day (yay!) and Pants and I headed downtown for the Gold Cup soccer game at Ford Field. We got an early dinner at Small Plates. We sat on the patio, melting from the heat and stuffing our faces with fries, pizza and beer. A few soccer fans strolled by, but I had no idea the crazy soccer adoration we were about to encounter.
After dinner we walked a few blocks over to the Detroit Pub, which was home base for the American Outlaws – the team USA supporters. I cannot really explain what we walked into…the bar was at least 100 degrees, completely packed with red, white & blue clad, American flag cape wearing, chanting, singing, dancing drunken fans. We made our way to the bar and I pulled my hair up into a sticky, sweaty ponytail while Pants waited for beer. We found a couple spots at a table and started drinking – partially to cool down and partially to make the non-stop singing and chanting enjoyable and actually hilarious. Pants went over to the American Outlaw table to buy a bandanna and came back with a shirt for me and I was officially transformed into a fan, which you kind of have to do at these things.
By the time we made our way outside I think we each had a handful of flags and stickers all over us. The chanting and singing continued as we formed into a makeshift parade, walking around the block, through Greektown and over to the stadium past honking, high-fiving, (annoyed and bewildered) people. As much as I’ve never been a crazy sports fan outside of hockey, this was fantastic!
After all the ruckus, we did in fact make it to the game! We had really good seats and while the ball came flying into the stands a few times, it wasn’t as terrifying as being at a baseball game. We downed nachos and a giant soft pretzel…which was really my main reason for joining Pants at the game :p The singing and chanting continued from the packed American Outlaw section and every time the ball went near the goal everyone stood up and then broke into cheering/jumping/hugging when it went in. We beat Canada 2-0 :)
I know soccer isn’t huge here in the states, but it should be! I knew I was going to be surrounded by enthusiastic fans, but their love of the game really surpasses any other sporting event I’ve been to. If you have a chance to go I completely recommed finding the crazy fans, getting decked out in the team colors and joining in on the fun!