Those who have attended a live soccer match know that the experience is unlike that of any other sport. Only college sports come close to matching the passion and enthusiasm of the fans on any given match day. Soccer aficionado or not, it is difficult not to fall in love with the match day experience.
At the heart of the match day environment are the supporters groups. They lead the chants and songs that urge on the players on the pitch. The Houston Dynamo have four official supporters groups which bring the fans together both inside and outside of the stadium.
With the inaugural match for the Houston Dash now approximately two months away, Dash fans have been waiting for the establishment of the first official Dash supporters group. With none forthcoming, one fan finally decided to take matters into her own hands: Melissa Philips. Melissa is a member of a Dynamo supporters group and a lover of soccer. She is half Colombian and half Guatemalan which, as she puts it, makes her a fan of soccer “since conception”.
I love soccer and I believe the formation of another professional league is an amazing opportunity to grow the love of the sport. Also being a woman I feel this team will inspire other women and young girls, the team is made up of women that have fought to make their dreams of playing professionally a reality in a primarily male driven sport.
With a desire to “help fuel the energy of our team”, as she puts it, Melissa launched an effort via social media and in conjunction with other soccer lovers in Houston. Houston Dash Coach Randy Waldrum and Houston Dynamo President also provided support in spreading the word. “It took off faster than I could have ever imagined”, says Melissa. Within a week, Orange Brigade was founded.
We want to help become the driving force for the Dash when they are on that field giving it their all. I think we all have been in that situation where we are on a team or in an individual competition and we know the main thing keeping us going is our support system that’s what we want to be for the Dash.
With Orange Brigade in place, the next step is building up the membership. Fans generally assume that being a member of the supporters group means standing in the supporters section the entire game and that, therefore, it is really for young adults. Where it comes to Orange Brigade, Melissa wants to correct that assumption.
(Orange Brigade) is for everyone! It is an amazing way to meet people with like interests and it is so much fun. We want members from our group all over the stadium. Imagine an entire stadium filled with supporter members chanting and becoming one with the team on the field, epic. So I would say if you enjoy standing the entire match and losing your voice like I do, join me in the supporter section or if your family prefers a less chaotic environment by all means get your seats where you are comfortable because as an Orange Brigade member we need visibility all over.
Supporters groups are about much more than just supporting the team inside the stadium, however. Members can expect other match day and non-match day events.
Since we’re just starting off I imagine we will establish an unofficial tailgate or I’ve even thought about doing pot luck tailgates, I think tailgating can be just as fun as the match so if you’ve never tailgated come try it, you’re missing out. I’m sure we will also participate in non-match day events we will discuss this more in our first meeting which I hope to have in the next week or so.
Melissa also tells me that some of the recognizable Dynamo chants will make their way across to the Dash, however many don’t work so well given the difference in syllables between Dash and Dynamo. Orange Brigade is, of course, looking to create new chants, which is another thing that members can get involved in. Orange Brigade will seek ways to engage non-supporters group fans in learning and participating in the chants, including recording them and making them available along with the lyrics on the internet.
Joining Orange Brigade is a great way to get involved with the Houston Dash in this, their inaugural season. People interested in joining can check out Orange Brigade’s website at www.orangebrigade.net. In addition, the Dash are hosting Dash Day this Saturday (tomorrow) from 1-4pm at BBVA Compass Stadium. Dash Day is open to the public and is an opportunity to meet members of the team and buy Dash gear. Orange Brigade will have a table at the event where people can get more information and join.