Tag Archives: get to know me

Wake Up, It’s (Almost) #DOOP Day!

Cait Costello - Philadelphia Union/mlsfemale
Official Philadelphia Union Reporter

By Cait Costello // @caitcostello

There were three main reasons behind my decision to move home to the Philadelphia area after living in South Carolina for a decade: it was because I wanted to be closer to my family, I wanted to live in a bigger city (with public transit) and I wanted to be close to professional soccer.

There wasn’t a single MLS team in the South before 2015, but with my move to Philadelphia, I finally had a team to root for based in the city I love.  My first game was in June 2016, when my boyfriend’s company held a work outing for employees and their families. 

We met with a marketing representative from the team, and as a marketing/public relations person myself, I was fascinated to learn the origin and design of the team crest. The boys in blue went on to defeat the Columbus Crew 3-2 on that balmy Wednesday night, and I was hooked from the first #DOOP.

I grew up playing soccer despite never being good at sports that require hand-eye (or foot-eye) coordination. Sports that require endurance and a certain amount of stubbornness—cycling, running and, for a few years, roller derby—are a better fit for me. That’s what drew me to the Union. It’s not a team that spends the most money on the highest-skilled players, but it is a team that works hard and will tough it out.

That’s a very Philadelphia mentality, which is appropriate when you remember that the Union grew out of a group of passionate (and a bit rowdy) fans. No other team in the MLS formed after its supporters group willed it into existence, and the Sons of Ben continue to energize the entire stadium, no matter the score.

Cait Costello - Philadelphia Union/mlsfemale
My boyfriend and I at the match

For the past two seasons, that passion brings my boyfriend and me to Chester. Watching the Union play is one of our favorite things to do together, and we’ve had the good luck to mostly see wins at the games we attend.

Now, I’m excited to share my love for the Philadelphia Union at MLSFemale. Come #DOOP with us.

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @caitcostello

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

A Long-Distance Relationship With My Team

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Get to know me

I’m Eve. I’m a teacher who lives in small-town New Brunswick, Canada. I am one of the two Montréal Impact fans that I know here (the other one is my mom!). How on Earth did a girl from a small-town Hockeyville come to be a diehard Bleu-Blanc-Noir supporter?

I come from soccer fan stock – my father and brother are lifelong supporters of Manchester United. Nothing about their shiny, faraway team with its sleekly coiffed superstars spoke to me though. So I watched the EPL, and World Cups, with the vague appreciation of a neutral.

My family had been aware of the Impact’s existence for some time, even before they joined MLS, due to my brother’s travels with our provincial soccer team. However, we lived in NB, and team’s matches weren’t broadcast on a network we received … So they kind of fell off the radar for us.

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Map of Canada showing provinces. New Brunswick (NB) is an eastern province.

Then came Didier Drogba. I wish my story were more inspiring or exciting, but instead, it makes me cringe a little. My mother has her own version of a “Fantasy Football Team”. Dear reader, I’ll spare you the details, but it is comprised of veteran/retired players whom she adores. Drogba just so happens to be a part of her Fantasy XI and when news of his arrival in Montréal reached even our little corner of NB, she found a way to watch him.

It’s hard to describe what happened the first time I tuned in while on the couch one September evening. Maybe my mother’s girlish excitement was contagious, or maybe it was my own “coup de foudre”. I found myself actively cheering for the Impact.

I distinctly recall that game – it was Drogba’s first start, and his first hat-trick for the Impact. Although that was obviously quite an important part of the match, I recall so much more. Piatti and Romero lighting up the attack, the ever-classy Justin Mapp orchestrating midfield attacks, the drama of the back-and-forth scoreline.

I was more than interested, I was invested. And when Bernier scored in the knockout round win over Toronto FC and tore off to the sideline clutching the crest on his jersey, I fell in love.

Since that late summer night, I have lived, eaten and breathed Bleu-Blanc-Noir. I have given up most Saturday night socialization in favour of watching matches on TV with my mom. We have made three trips together to watch the team play (including one across the country), with another planned for this summer.

I’ve made great friends and found a place for myself in the #IMFC community on social media and am so excited to share my thoughts and feelings on my team via this new platform.

Featured image of mom and me courtesy: Eve Powell

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @evejulia9

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

Soccer is a part of my life, always

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale
Official FC Dallas Reporter

By Bailey Brown // @baileystaysposi

Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to play soccer. My parents always said, “You can only play sports that we are willing to watch.” I guess that shows one the generational sports gap.

Dallas, my hometown, has always had a rich soccer history. Starting with the Dallas Tornado in the NASL, the Dallas Sting, Tatu and the Sidekicks, and finally, the Burn which is now FC Dallas; one simply cannot ignore the impact Dallas has had on soccer with Lamar Hunt’s influence in the United States. I guess all along, this resonated with me whether I realized it or not.

My best friends growing up were all soccer players and we would wear our purple Dallas Sidekicks jerseys. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t realize that there was another soccer team in Dallas at the time, the Dallas Burn. My soccer journey doesn’t really start until my senior year of high school.

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale

My senior year of high school brought a lot of changes in my life. I quit volleyball and started taking German. With my love for the language also came their men’s national team in the 2006 World Cup.

I was hooked and I didn’t want soccer to stop being a part of my life. I started researching some of my favorite players. At the time, Bayern held claim to Lahm, Ballack (who transferred to Chelsea that year), Kahn, and Schweinsteiger. That’s when FC Bayern Munich became my team of choice.

Throughout college, I would wake up and watch them however I could stream the game. This continued to 2012 when I finally got to visit Munich for the first time. This solidified my love of the team who I now have in ink on my right arm. However, even bigger was this was a Euro Cup year. I got to experience watch parties with German fans in Munich and Frankfurt. When I came home, the streaming wasn’t enough. I needed to be in the game.

That’s when I found FC Dallas.

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale

I went to my first game in 2012, saw the Garden, and instantly bought season tickets for the next year. I didn’t know a lot about the team, but I knew I wanted to be a part of the growing soccer community in the United States. Fast Forward six years: I am now in my third year serving as President for the Dallas Beer Guardians and in my second year of leadership for the Independent Supporters Council serving as Vice President for the 2018 season.

Giving female fans and supporters a voice in the game is a passion of mine. We are a growing audience who don’t just show up because of a significant other. We are fans. We are leaders. We are role models.

I look forward to giving you write-ups from games that not only showcase FC Dallas but how females are impacting the fan culture in the United States every single day.

Featured image: 1984 Dallas Sting Team – Photo credit: Dallas Morning News

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @baileystaysposi

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

Chicago Fire and me, we’re a thing

Daniela Calvo - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Daniela Calvo // @DanielaCalvo__

My name is Daniela Calvo and I have been following soccer since I can remember. As a Mexican American, I grew up watching Liga MX with my father, a passionate Club America fan. My weekends were filled with nothing but soccer games and on weekdays we listened to Jorge Ramos on the radio. In spite of watching and listening to soccer with me, my father was surprised he raised a fanatic.

Summer of 1998 my uncle, cousin, and I attended many Chicago Fire games at Soldier Field. Not only was my uncle excited to have a team represent our city, but also because he can introduce the sport he loved so much to his son. Lucky for me he always bought an extra ticket. Despite the triumphs of the Fire’s inaugural season my cousin never harvested an interest in the sport, which led my uncle to lose interest in the team as well.

A couple years after that, I would say the early 2000’s I started watching FC Barcelona games on my own and the reason was Ronaldinho. The talent he brought to the team- his dribbling, set pieces, and long shots captivated me. He’s the reason why Barcelona is my favorite European team. I spent years watching La Liga witnessing the rise of Messi, the integration of Neymar, and Puyol’s retirement. All of that was great, but I felt like I was missing something.

The thing I was missing was the Chicago Fire. I wanted to watch games in person, rather than my computer screen. I attended my first Fire game in 17 years on March 2015 and I did not miss a single game that season. Despite being at the bottom of the table I was always excited to attend their games.

I started bringing my camera with me and captured fans supporting the team and enjoying the atmosphere. Those images introduced me to several great people in the Chicago Fire community. Now I can’t wait to share my thoughts on this upcoming season with you via MLSFemale.

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @DanielaCalvo__

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

A Timeline of My Life with the LA Galaxy

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @AdorableEars

July 4, 2005. My first MLS game. I attend a friend’s family tradition: Independence Day at The Home Depot Center, home of the Los Angeles Galaxy. The energy of the fans could be felt to my bones and I was turned on to a sport that would become a way of life.

From then on, I go to several Galaxy games per year but haven’t been able to commit to being a season ticket holder yet. But, if I wanted to see the LA Galaxy play against a good team–and quite the rivalry, my only experience with that were The Dodgers versus the San Francisco Giants in baseball–I go to see them play the Seattle Sounders.

I go to every playoff game and I was there at the stadium when the LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup in 2011, 2012, and 2014!

I’ll never forget the feeling of anticipation and exhilaration as you watch your team fight for the ball and win.  Only soccer can give you this kind of experience.  On November 20,  2011, it was a rainy day, rare in LA, but it was pouring, which was even more incredible. We were soaked from head to toe and sloshing in the stands.

It was a chilly 53 degrees Fahrenheit, which is cold by LA standards. LA fans are notorious for leaving early. Not that day. We stayed and watched the LA Galaxy defeat the Houston Dynamo for their third MLS Cup. Everyone was united in elation.

September 10, 2017. I’ve got a soft spot for the Sounders and a crush on Jordan Morris. So, I visit a dear friend who moved to Seattle the year before. I take her to her first MLS game and the Sounders’ opponent was, of course, the LA Galaxy.

Well, on October 15th, I supported the Galaxy despite their being in last place. I still took student friends to the Galaxy game and even converted them to MLS. My students are foreigners, one a hardcore AC Milan fan all his life and he donned an LA Galaxy jersey. My Peruvian roommate admits to how awesome it was to be at StubHub Center and surprised at how close they allow you to the players; things I take for granted here in my resident city.

LA is proving to be expensive and a whole world awaits, so I’m looking to move in 2019, but wherever I go this is my home! As the official Galaxy reporter for MLSFemale, I look forward to sharing my love for the beautiful game and this team with you during the upcoming 2018 season.

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @AdorableEars

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Sports Are My Life

Locria Nyla - Philadelphia Union/mlsfemale
Philadelphia Union Key Contributor

By Locria Nyla Fox // @LocriaOnSports

Hello everyone!

I’m Locria, the new Philadelphia Union Key Contributor. I’m really bad at intros, so I’m going to keep this short…I’m a 21 year old trans woman.

Growing up in Northeast Pennsylvania, the only MLS soccer within two hours was a New York team (the MetroStars/later Red Bulls). As someone whose first sports love was the Boston Red Sox, rooting for a New York team was a big no-no, so as a soccer fan I mostly stayed away until the World Cup.

The Union came in 2010, but during most of my adolescence I didn’t really care for soccer. At the time I was all about the NHL, and with that came the sports elitism that is particularly associated with hockey fans. That kinda wore off over time, and by the time the 2014 Olympics rolled around I really didn’t care for the NHL (though I do remain a hockey fan, just mostly sticking to college, international, and women’s hockey).

That falling-out coincided with the start of the 2014 MLS season. Knowing that I wanted to get into the sport ahead of that year’s World Cup, I started watching some Premier League, but it was really MLS that got me all the way into the door. Even though my first full-watch of a Union game saw them bottle it at the death in Portland (little did I know that that was a sign of things to come), I’ve become a fan of the team and the sport long-term.

Outside of the Union (and USL affiliate Bethlehem) in the sport, I also support Southampton, Schalke, Chicago Red Stars, and various clubs whose left-wing politics I associate with, such as Livorno and Celtic. And it goes without saying that I also support my college’s teams (Go Catamounts!).

Outside of soccer, I’m the assistant sports editor for the Vermont Cynic, the student newspaper at my university. I blog about my university’s sports teams and also write about women’s hockey at The Ice Garden with a focus on my school, as well as, the Russian national team and domestic league.

What I’m saying is, sports are basically my life.

Featured image courtesy: @PhilaUnion

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @LocriaOnSports

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

 

It All Started With A Shirt

Kristen - LA Galaxy
LA Galaxy Key Contributor

By Kristen Kincaid @KristenKincaid

As my family and I were exiting the Stub Hub Center after witnessing an underwhelming performance by the LA Galaxy on Sunday, we paused to let a group of Seattle Sounders fans pass and one couple caught my eye – ironically, it  wasn’t the man with dyed green hair adorned head to toe in his fan gear, it was his wife in the simple t-shirt bearing the phrase “I married into this”.

I chuckled to myself and reflected upon my own journey into soccer fandom.

I am a So Cal gal who has recently been converted to a soccer fan after “tolerating” my husband’s love of soccer for years (his words not mineJ). My journey into fandom began with a trip to watch the USA women’s national team on their journey to eventually winning the World Cup in 2015 (#shebelieves).  I had never experienced a live sporting event that had the atmosphere and energy that radiated from the Stub Hub that day  – I was hooked!

I have been a baseball fan since the Eric Karros (swoon) and Mike Piazza (double swoon) days with the LA Dodgers in the late ’80s and then found a love of Steeler Nation while in high school.  I grew up in the Redlands, CA area and our hometown hero Landon Donovan led me to follow and become a fan of LA Galaxy.  This journey into soccer fandom is new to me and I hope to offer a unique perspective not only as a female fan, but a new fan.   

Many thanks everyone for reading and especially to MLSFemale.com for this amazing opportunity to be a Key Contributor for LA Galaxy and to share my journey with you all!

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @KristenKincaid

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017

Father Knows Best

Sylvana - NY Red Bulls
Official New York Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim @WhiteZinWench

When I was a kid, my dad put me in rec soccer. It was something to do, and didn’t take a lot of effort. I was cool with it. When I was old enough to play on a travel team, it went without saying that I would join, becoming part of the first all-girl travel team the club had seen. I played until I was in 6th grade. And frankly, I kinda stunk at it. I had decent pace, I understood the game. My coach loved how far and accurately I could throw in the ball.

But I didn’t have the passion. That, and puberty hit me quite hard (chest traps are no fun when your sports bra can’t handle its contents). And it was the early 90s—there was no way a girl could make a living playing soccer. I went on to be moderately successful in music and studied things that I thought would bring me more job security.

Then, when my kids were old enough, I put them in soccer. It seemed the natural thing to do. In 2014, my two oldest sons were selected to be on-field escorts at a New York Red Bulls game. They looked so cute, in little replica uniforms, holding hands with members of Chivas USA. It was cold, it was rainy, it was windy. I don’t remember the score (I think it was a tie), but I was HOOKED. The arena, the competition, the familiarity: it all made sense.

Suddenly soccer was everywhere. That summer we all watched the World Cup on TV, the English Premier League and MLS were increasingly easier to find, followed by the Champions League and Bundesliga. The next year, I was watching daily Periscope broadcasts by former USMNT defender and Fox Soccer analyst Alexi Lalas, who was covering the Women’s World Cup in Canada. I’d ask him questions… and he would answer them! I’d make snarky comments… and he would laugh!

Then I started looking up other soccer broadcasting personalities. Twitter made them approachable, which gave me a chance to learn (or, perhaps more accurately, remember what I already knew) about the Beautiful Game. I found podcasts, and websites, and other fans who shared their excitement. My cousin got a job with NBC Sports and most of her work involves English Premier League: I think I’m more excited about her job than she is some days. I met front office types and sports writers. And I found what I should have known all along: there just might be a way to make a living with soccer. Young me was very short-sighted.

When the Copa America Centenario was announced, I realized this was my chance to thank my dad for introducing me to soccer, a game he had played against seminarians at his Catholic School in his native Ecuador. Two tickets, Ecuador vs Haiti, at MetLife Stadium. Lower mezzanine, front row, behind the goal. His first live professional soccer game in an arena.

If you have a good relationship with your parents (and I recognize not everyone does), you want to do what will make them proud, regardless of how old you get. For me, this is it.

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Mercy - Philadelphia
Official Philadelphia Union Reporter

By Mercy Payba @mercpay

It was a sunny day in August when I went to my first Philadelphia Union game. I was completely new to MLS, and the only things I knew about the match and the team were:

  1. The precursor team of Philadelphia Union was Bethlehem Steel F.C. from the 1900s (the Union had a third kit in 2013 with homage to the team and has now gone on to sponsor a new reincarnation of BSteel in the USL)
  2. That same Bethlehem Steel team had won the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup five times in their day and Philadelphia was gearing up to get their first title, having come close in 2014 as well. This would be their year to add a little more history to the area.

The friend who had invited me out to the game was a bit of a history buff and I was always enthusiastic about soccer wherever it was found so we met in the middle with football facts. I adjusted my expectations accordingly because, well, Philly teams have great fanbases but not-so-great records when it comes to winning.

Our group had seats right in front of the midfield, and we were surrounded by seasoned followers and a few season ticket holders of the boys in blue. We were in good company is what I mean to say, but I was taken by the stadium itself. There is something special about the people that wait, that watch as the teams warm up. They are a banked fire ready to come alive at the sound of the whistle starting the match. This is no different around the world whether it is a rec league or in Camp Nou.

I fell in love with the Union, not when Sebastien Le Toux netted the winner in the second half of the semifinal, not when the funny little DOOP tune played over the speakers or the crowd erupted into cheers and swept us up in the feeling, but in that quiet moment before the game even started. There is a lot I could say about Talen Energy (or as I knew it PPL Park.) It is a smaller venue, and the home crowd has some colorful and self-deprecating chants. You get a lungful of the riverfront mixed in with the general city air that stays in your sensory bank and possibly your throat after a visit. The skyline painted in orange and violet as the sun sets, is the most beautiful sight next to blue smoke rising from the River End signifying a goal for the Union.

I found myself in that strange little waterfront stadium, amongst the blue and gold that fateful August day. When I try to put into words how I became a fan of this team, the Dennis Bergkamp quote comes to mind:

“When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.”

As for the more mundane things, I’m a Jersey transplant living in Pennsylvania, went to school near Pittsburgh and came back home to the east end of the state. I watch the Bundesliga religiously and strive to infect all of my friends with the football bug when the World Cup comes around.

I grew up watching my father and brother play the beautiful game. Coming from a Peruvian family, one of the best soccer moments in recent history for me was the third place finish for Peru in Copa America Centenario last year. Philadelphia Union is the only blue team in my red, red heart.

I am a member of the Bayern Red Ladies, an all-women fanclub for Bayern Munich, and am always looking for more people to talk to about my teams in English or Spanish.

Featured image courtesy: Jeff Zelevansky

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @mercpay

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017

A Greeting to All

Matt LiVolsi - SC
Special Contributor

By Matt LiVolsi @MJLiVolsi

Hello ladies and gentlemen, my name is Matthew LiVolsi and I am the newest Special Contributor here on MLSFemale.com. It is an honor to be amongst those who not only love the sport of soccer, but also appreciate America’s top rendition of the sport.

I am a Jersey boy that has followed soccer for nearly 7 years now, starting with the World Cup in 2010 and all the pomp and circumstance around that tournament (thank you based Landon). Since then I have fallen in love with the beautiful game here in my home state and have followed the New York Red Bulls since the beginning of the Thierry Henry years. Along with RBNY, I’ve been a fan of Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga for 4 years and of course have followed both the men’s and women’s national teams religiously.

I look to bring a unique and descriptive view on certain topics as they pertain to MLS and the American game as a whole. I will also be throwing in some coverage for the U.S. Open Cup as it unfolds. You can follow me on twitter @MJLiVolsi, if you wish to do so and be entertained by my mindless rambles on whatever irks me soccer-wise.

Thank you for reading and I hope you continue to do so.

P.S. I also speak French so…parle moi, mon Montréalaise.

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017