In interest of full disclosure I must begin by saying that I am a proud member of the Iron Lion Firm and have quickly become a rabid fan of Orlando City Soccer…and to be honest, that’s exactly why I’m writing this.
The local news topic of the day Thursday was posted on Yahoo! Sports by friend of Open Mike Eric Adelson.
He pointed out a problem in the supporter section of Orlando City matches at the Citrus Bowl in which some people are using grossly inappropriate language, which does in fact violate the club’s code of conduct for supporter groups.
Now I’m not here to attack anybody. Not Eric, not the Iron Lion Firm. I’m simply here as a fellow supporter who just wants everything ironed out.
Over the past year and a half or so this city has undergone an incredible transition into a soccer town…and no, I’m not saying it’s not still a basketball or football town, it’s just also a soccer town now.
The grass roots movement to take this team from USLPro into Major League Soccer was a journey like no other. I was fortunate enough to move here right at the beginning and can honestly say that I’ve never seen anything like it.
I’ve always loved soccer, I just never watched religiously outside of the World Cup.
Being here in this city for this movement has pushed me into the realm of obsession. I sometimes even find myself throwing on a random match in Spanish just because it’s the only one on.
I don’t know any Spanish what-so-ever. I took French like a dummy.
The passion and loyalty of the Iron Lion Firm and Ruckus supporter groups is what drew me in the most…that and of course the greatest ownership team of all time, but that’s probably going to be an entire post of it’s own at another time.
I went to my first match in 2012. The chanting, the drums, the smoke.
The energy of a rather tiny crowd (compared to now of course) was palpable. It only took 1 match and I was sold that this thing was special and going to get big…and boy has it.
So here we are. A good chunk of the way into our first year in Major League Soccer and the only real issue that has come up, is both minor and very serious at the same time.
I say minor because it’s the vast minority of people in the supporter section that can take the blame for the use of inappropriate language and the rare flying object.
Now why it’s serious shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody, and Mr. Adelson, in my opinion, explained why perfectly. The word in question is unacceptable and the people who use it need to be dealt with. Period.
Thankfully they are.
I have talked to numerous people involved in the supporter groups since this story arose and have full faith that their leadership is on top of this, and that these actions in question do not reflect the ideals of the group.
Before Orlando City’s final USLPro season at Disney, the chants were all changed to clean versions. Before this inaugural MLS season, the Iron Lion Firm sent out this link to the chants for 2015.
The chant in question “Sos Cagon” has been changed to “That’s disregarded” for over a year according to those I spoke with and I can attest that they were absolutely changed before the March 8th inaugural match.
All I can hope for is that the leaders of these great, passionate and loyal supporter groups can eradicate this problem…because one day in the not so distant, but still pretty distant future, I will bring my kids to Orlando City Soccer matches and I will tell them of all of the great history of my club.
So I leave you all with one request.
Let’s work together to eradicate the problem few and continue to create a history we can all be proud of for generations to come.
Image is everything. Let’s keep ours clean and as purple as can be.