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D.C. United's Barra Brava

The Washington Post serves up a profile of D.C. United's "Barra Brava," or brave fans section, where the music, singing, dancing and beer flinging go on all game long. Indeed, United's faithful offer up one of the only experiences in MLS that could be compared with what goes on at South American and European soccer matches.

It all started 11 years ago when Bolivian real estate agent Oscar Zambrana bought 15 tickets for the first D.C. United home game. Zambrana exchanged one of the tickets for a drum, which he brought to into the stadium. Not understanding soccer culture (or "fan love" as the report calls it), drums were banned from the second game. That's when United President Kevin Payne stepped in. He understood that to deny fans the ability to play music was to deny the franchise the right to develop its own atmosphere. The ban was promptly removed, and the Barra Brava was born. The club-yes it's an official club-has more than 800 members who pay their dues of $25. Once a predominantly Latino club, the Barra Brava is now multicultural; its chants are both in English and Spanish.

Says Marshall Conner, officially "el segundo capitan" of the Barra Brava: "The Barra Brava works how America is supposed to work. It's a great melting pot. We have 27 different nationalities there now. We have guys from Africa, we have guys from Europe, and South America, which is obviously our roots that we want to hold on to. What we want to be is the standard for American hard-core support."

Read the whole story at Washington Post »

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