Monday, June 27, 2011

Better Know A Supporters Group - Black Army 1850

We're back!

We continue our comprehensive coverage of American soccer culture with our series "Better Know a Supporters Group," just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.

When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.

Today we feature our first supporters group from Los Angeles' Chivas USA, Black Army 1850. BA 1850 is relatively new to the supporters section at the Home Depot Center, founded in 2010, but their focus and beliefs about supporters and their role in American soccer is a mature as much longer-standing supporters in MLS.

As told to the Free Beer Movement by Josef Zacher, one of the founders of Black Army 1850.

The Basics

SG Name: Black Army 1850

MLS Club: CD Chivas USA

Stadium: Home Depot Center (Carson, CA)

Year SG Founded: 2010

Section Name (if other than SG name): 138

Any other SGs apart of your section? None

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): South East Corner, Section 138

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name? Why the Black Army?

We see ourselves right now as a group that is focused on creating an army of die-hards that exclusively supports Chivas USA. While are numbers are not massive, we realize the potential of becoming the size of an army as Chivas USA establishes its own unique history and identity in Los Angeles. As our name indicates, we do not wear the traditional Chivas USA colors of red, white, and blue. We have chosen to follow a protocol that many European Ultras established long before us, by wearing black rather than the traditional team colors. For us, the black symbolically represents our intention to go against the grain of conformity in the Chivas family. We are not here to bask in the glory of a club that is in a different league and a different country. Like our club, we cherish the thought of being the "black sheep (in this case goat)" of the "sacred flock". Our colors also provide an excellent back drop for our tifo displays on game day. Even though we do not wear the colors of Chivas USA on game day, we bleed the Chivas USA colors every day.

Significance of 1850?

We identify with 1850 because that is the year California and Los Angeles became officially part of the United States. Our group strives to establish Chivas USA a local team by identifying with Los Angeles and Southern California.

"Solamente Chivas USA"

We chose our motto "Solamente Chivas USA" because we wanted to make a clear separation between C.D. Guadalajara and Chivas USA. We understand that Chivas USA was created by the owners of C.D. Guadalajara, however we pride ourselves in making the distinction that Chivas USA plays in the United States and Major League Soccer (MLS). We are here to support an American team.

Favorite chants/songs?

Our group prefers an “authentic” ultra-style that is more chant and chorus based. Our drummer, John Sandate, created a great drum and chant chorus based on “Bro Hymn” by Pennywise. A crowd favorite is a Black Army version of the “tequila” song. Currently, we are working on “Chivas Blood, L.A. Heart” a chant that was inspired by a Morrissey song.

Why is being in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

Nothing can compare to the passion and loyalty from the terraces. They truly love their club and will show it for 90 minutes. These are the folks that truly represent what this game is all about.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

Our support for Chivas USA is pure and cannot be questioned. We pride ourselves on being independent and free of outside interference. There is no one that can buy our voices or opinions. If there is something that isn’t kosher at Chivas USA, we will call them out. One of our goals in the Black Army is to provide support for our club even beyond the stands. Our members are very active in community service and outreach projects. We work side by side with Chivas USA on projects such as Heal the Bay Beach Clean-ups and Blood Drives. Our supporters group also takes on an active role in promoting equality and acceptance for fans of the beautiful game. We are currently promoting the first-ever Equality Night at an upcoming Chivas USA match.

In terms of game day bragging, you can count on the Black Army to give everything it has for over 90 minutes, every game. If our club falls behind, we will only get louder. Win, lose or draw our Goats can count on our full support. Our loyalty is without question or condition.

Greatest game(s) in team history?

Surely, these will happen when we leave the HDC.

Predictions for this season?

With Robin Fraser at the helm, we know that there is massive potential for improvement and long term success. We have all witnessed his contributions at RSL and can see that he has what it takes to turn things around at Chivas USA. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this club climb back into the playoffs in 2011.

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

We love our country and our league! The vast majority of our members are also in the American Outlaws. In terms of MLS, we realize that this is the best league in the country at this time and the best opportunity for the American player to develop into professionals. The success of MLS is a key component to the overall success of the game in the United States. There is no doubting that the league has serious limitations, but we get the idea of supporting the domestic game. Only an idiot would expect MLS to be on par with leagues and clubs that have a 100 year head-start. We are going to truly enjoy growing with the MLS.

For more information and/or to join Black Army 1850 check out their website.

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