Welcome to the refreshed edition of The Bent Musket! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to do the same about why you’re a fan of the New England Revolution, head over to the FanPosts section to begin. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here, Come Fan With Us!
For all the articles, recaps, columns and everything else I’ve written over the last few years here, I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about how I became a fan of the Revolution. I have a rather eclectic portfolio of favorite sports teams for a variety of reasons but soccer was a late addition for me personally as I’m sure might have been for other MLS fans.
I guess it would be more important to start a little further back though, and briefly discuss how I fell in love with soccer in general. There were two distinct things that shaped my love of soccer when I was a kid: the fact I was about pretty much the smallest kid in my grade and I moved around a lot.
So it turns out the best sport for a kid who’s really small and not athletically talented in any way turns out to be soccer. I made a ton of friends and bonded over sports on and off the field along the way in Pennsylvania, Delaware and eventually Connecticut. Somehow rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Braves when I was six worked out well in NY Giants/Mets territory. While I made a ton of friends, I wasn’t exactly very good at soccer which was fine with me, I just liked running around a lot and volunteering to be keeper more often than I should have for someone who was four-foot-nothing.
I never really played a true position, probably should’ve been a fullback but ended up as a striker in high school and played one year of varsity as a third stringer my senior year. I didn’t care that I was only going to play on rare occasions, I just enjoyed being on the team and look back at those playing days with great joy, especially my lone goal senior year which my coach called one of the best of the entire season.
The first World Cup I remember was my freshman year of high school in 2002. It was glorious, all of the foreign language teachers put the games on all day, my friend Joe walked around with a giant Portugal flag for a week (he’s still bitter about that 3-2 loss I assume) and from that point on I was hooked on international soccer and the USMNT and USWNT.
But my MLS fandom came around much slower. I watched games every now and then but it wasn’t until I was in college that I started to follow the league more and also started blogging in my spare time. I didn’t start off focusing on soccer, but around the 2009 Confederations Cup I was doing mostly soccer and later MLS Power Rankings on the old CBS SportsLine Community page.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I became a Revs fan but I do remember two specific events that shaped me from a general MLS/soccer fan to a navy wearing New Englander. The first was in 2006 when the NY/NJ Metrostars died and became the Red Bulls because I thought at the time, and still have a disdain for Euro inspired names to this day, that Red Bull NY was a dumb name and I couldn’t root for them. This was especially a problem when you’re going to college in NJ and the Union didn’t exist yet.
The second was the Revs losing the 2007 MLS Cup Final because somehow everyone assumed that since I was from Connecticut and disliked RBNY that I was automatically a Revs fan and chose to rub it in. I accepted these insults and did a little research into the Curse of Caricola which ended a lot of the Revs to Buffalo Bills comparisons my from fellow college soccer fans. Now I am constantly reminded that Connecticut may or may not be the sixth state in New England, I can’t win...standard stuff really, remember I’m an Eagles/Braves fan living in Giants/Mets territory.
However, the proverbial nail in the coffin was the 2008 SuperLiga. I love that tournament, I will always love that tournament and I really hope it comes back in some capacity. I don’t even think I was able to watch the final live, or if it was even shown on TV at all, I just remember being really happy that the Revs beat the Houston Dynamo and lifted a trophy. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t the CCL or the MLS Cup, it was the first trophy the Revs won since I was anointed full fandom. No, I wasn’t aware the USOC was a thing a decade ago, I was young okay.
Anyway, my first Revs game was in September of 2011 against FC Dallas which was strangely one of the few games New England won at all that season. I saw Shalrie Joseph and Rajko Lekic score goals, made fun of Brek Shea’s hair and cemented my status as a Revs fan for life. My only regret is that I chose to do this towards the tail end of the Steve Nicol era rather than enjoying the full misery of losing all those MLS Cups and not making my first trips to Gillette and RBA sooner.
Somehow I made an egregious life mistake and actually signed up for Twitter in 2013 and within a few short months somehow latched on writing here and spearheading TBM’s summer Gold Cup coverage for the USMNT. I fell in love with Belize, which still might be my favorite article I’ve ever posted here, and have gotten the chance to interact, laugh and argue with the Revs hashtag for many years. I’ve gone to a few games at Gillette since then, several more at RBA and Yankee Stadium since they are closer to my house (that 3 hour commute to Foxboro is brutal), and am looking forward to another round of sitting on Metro North in the next week.
Sports have had a tremendous impact on my life, and soccer in particular. For 12 seasons I have been a member of the gameday staff for the Bridgeport Bluefish, my local independent baseball team. I was an intramural referee/supervisor in college for soccer, flag football, basketball, volleyball and eventually got my USSF referee badge back in 2010. I’ve been following lower division teams in England such as Plymouth Argyle (recently promoted to League One) and Macclesfield Town (just lost at Wembley in the FA Trophy Cup Final) thanks to countless hours of FIFA manager mode dynasties. I’ve covered USOC qualifying and charity games in CT involving the Revs and Newtown Pride and one day might find myself in the Gillette press box.
For now, my rambling and long winded columns from home in the glorious New England stronghold of Fairfield County and love of the best logo in MLS, the crayon flag, will have to suffice. Soccer is full of wonderful stories and people and I hope that you share your stories with us here at TBM and SBN. The comments section and FanPosts are available for everyone to share their stories of soccer fandom.
Be sure to check out and read other soccer blogs or site that cover your other favorite sports teams for more stories as every SB Nation site will have similar posts today. If you’re one of the many heading down to RBA this weekend, I hope to see you there.
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