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Soccer Needs Fans Like These

After all the publicity surrounding the behavior of fan groups at the Columbus Crew's northeast corner, and Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber's statement last week that the throwing of streamers and confetti will be "kept under review," Bob Hunter spent an evening with the Hudson Street Hooligans, Crew Union and La Turbina supporters' groups. As the Crew went down 2-0 at home to San Jose, he enjoyed his night with "a throbbing, dancing, chanting, bouncing, screaming, smiling mob. If there were a way to get every sports fan in America to spend just one evening with these crazies, soccer just might become our nation's most popular sport."
Some fans were enthralled by the soccer, and some with the show around them, "which is worth the price of admission without the game. Everybody is smiling, except for the security guy, who looks like his face is about to crack." The fans were emotionally involved in the game, while simultaneously creating the atmosphere.
"MLS wants the fans to act like lunatics, within reason," writes Hunter. "Go crazy, but be sensible. Get wild, but stay tame. The truth is, what I saw last night was civilized. It was all in good fun. Yeah, some of the chants weren't suitable for church on Sunday, but you can hear much worse on cable TV. Crack down on these people? Get serious."

Read the whole story at Columbus Dispatch »

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