By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell
Hello all. I am Bridget McDowell, reporting from the ‘cold and frozen North’ on our Minnesota United Football Club.
I am a relative newcomer to the soccer world. I have always enjoyed the game, but asthma and knee problems prevented me from getting closely involved. Instead, I watched the game at every opportunity, but those opportunities were rare.
My first soccer memories are of the 1994 and ’99 World Cups held in the U.S. Like many others, I was glued to the ’99 title match, sitting just feet from the TV, but I wouldn’t understand the significance of that match, when the sports bra became synonymous with triumph, until much later. It would also take time for me to understand the massive role the ’94 and ’99 World Cups played in proving that the U.S. was a worthy host to the beautiful game.
It wasn’t until college, where I had access to cable and the knowledge of friends in the school’s DIII development program, that I was finally able to watch matches on a regular basis. Watching both the Premier League and MLS, I was most drawn to the fans. The supporters made watching soccer a more thrilling experience than any other sport. And then I went to my first Minnesota United match.
I accidentally bought tickets in the supporters section for a 2014 friendly against Swansea City AFC and it was the best mistake I have ever made. The drums, blue smoke, jumping and chanting, the capo lying on his back to catch his breath after a goal celebration. I became a season ticket holder just weeks later. For two years, I observed the supporters groups; in 2017, I joined them. This game, this club, and its fans have stolen more of me with each season. And I happily give it.
Soccer has roots in Minnesota that reach far beyond MNUFC’s NASL days. It’s a rocky past forgotten by many, but the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2017, despite being less than spectacular in terms of results (some standout performances are not well reflected on the table), proved that the game has a lot to gain from this state. The Snowpener was just the beginning of this latest chapter.
The supporters will only grow louder as MNUFC slowly and quietly shapes its roster and approach for 2018. I am excited to bring you the news from the North.
Follow and chat with me on twitter // @BCMcDowell
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