Whiskey Brothers '05. Fire Ultras '98. Sector Latino. Ultras Red-side. These are all names, among the many other groups, who have become synonymous with supporters culture for the Chicago Fire. The Independent Supporters Association is made up of a variety of groups as well as independent supporters who are committed to the support of the Fire on game day and beyond. It is the spirited group dynamic of supporters that creates the passionate game day experience that invigorates the fan base and enhances the experience for casual fans.
This weekend before and during this Sunday's match against the Red Bulls twitter lit up with the announcement of two new supporter's groups coming out to support the Fire during the home opener, Atlantic Fire Brigade and Rock Island District. It is always exciting to see new groups form and expand support for the Fire. With two groups forming there was double the excitement and anticipation to kick off the season in Chicago. Any group or entity that increases the home team advantage is welcome.
Here are some of the tweets that went out on over the weekend
@AFBrigade14 @rock_District I love we have two new groups to start off the season at home. Hope to meet all your memebers in the lot! #cf97— Pattrick Stanton (@Pattrick11) March 22, 2014
Great start to the crew were only growing pic.twitter.com/2KVyriMiXj— RockIslandDistrict (@rock_District) March 24, 2014
AFB opening day pic.twitter.com/jpD2Sjkvg4— AtlanticFireBrigade (@AFBrigade14) March 23, 2014
It's great to see new groups ready to get involved. In a time when concerns about Fire's current ownership and skepticism about the competitiveness of the club are much discussed, it is great to see groups of fans want to get more involved. Two new groups signals continued growth of the club's supporter culture.
Why not more groups to continue this trend? There is no reason more groups can't form. Any group of five or more people who are truly committed to the Fire, and who want an outlet to communicate their support, can form a supporter's group. Energy and commitment is always needed to make supporter culture happen. Chicago Fire supporter's groups are self-determined. Want to be in one? Then you're halfway there.
How hard is it to form a group? It’s not hard at all! Full disclosure: I am a member of Atlantic Fire Brigade. Trying to avoid shameless self-promotion in this article, what I really wanted to relay about this story was how incredibly easy it was to form a group. The requirements - as outlined on the Section 8 Chicago website - are that you have a minimum of 5 people, and you contact communications. Check out the details on the Section 8 website.
Really, that is all that is required. The rest is up to your group. Developing a group image, logo and message is by far the more complicated process. Your group, big or small, will need to be committed to the organization of the group. Having a strong social group of friends is important to forward the group dynamic. Identifying what you stand for as a group is an incredibly rewarding process, especially when a group is brought together on behalf of what is most important in this circumstance - support of the Fire!
Although starting out is dead simple, forming a group should not be taken lightly. If you do set out to create your own group, be prepared to get involved. The Chicago Fire Supporter’s community is very welcoming but also inspires committed engagement among its supporters. The Chicago Fire Supporters' community is always in need of additional volunteers and people willing to play a part in making events, tailgates, fundraisers and bus trips happen.
Having more numerous passionate groups in the section will help give the Fire increased advantage at home and on the road when fans travel to support the Fire. I encourage all independent supporters who are truly committed to the Fire to consider forming a group. I would love to see many more groups and many more flags waving in section 8 this year.
In closing, I’ll end with the words former Section 8 Chair Joel Biden shared through Twitter:
#CF97 MORE GROUPS! MORE BETTER! #FF @AFBrigade14 @rock_District— Joel Biden (@JoelBiden) March 21, 2014