Welcome to the second piece in a new feature on the Free Beer Movement site to expand our coverage of American soccer culture. It's called "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 Major League Soccer 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 it's the Cauldron, supporters of an inaugural member of MLS, Sporting KC (formerly Kansas City Wizards). Check out their campaign to bring the Gold Cup to KC. Epic!
As told to the Free Beer Movement by KC "hype man" Sean Dane.
MLS Club: Sporting Kansas City
Stadium: Sporting Park (no sponsor announced)
Year SG Founded: 1996
Section Name (if other than SG name): The Cauldron aka Members Stand aka The Blue Hell
Any other SGs apart of your section?
Hillcrest Syndicate, La Barra KC, Southern Voodoo, King City Yardbirds, K.C. Futbol Misfits
Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction):
East End Line, South Sideline, and through the Cauldron Emeritus, branching out into other sections (Section 128, just above the sideline Cauldron section)
The Meaty Questions
What are the origins of your groups’ name?
The section now known as The Cauldron got its start as a group called The Mystics. The Cauldron name came about when group leadership and the club itself wanted to expand the club, and elected to give the section a name, with individual groups inside.
Hillcrest Syndicate - Taken from Hillcrest Road, the street on which our prior stadium location would have had its address. A reminder that you never know what the future will hold.
La Barra KC - The name is pretty straightforward. So are the guys that make it up. You think you got love for the game? If you can keep up with these guys, you might be right.
Southern Voodoo - Based out of southern Missouri, the name came naturally. They drive for hours to come to every game. Yes they’re that hardcore.
King City Yardbirds - They just like “King City” for “KC”, but “Yardbirds” is triple-headed. The founders of the group are all into music, and “Yardbird” was the nickname of KC jazz legend Charlie Parker, as well as the name of the legendary and influential British group of the 60s. “Yardbird” is defined as “a soldier assigned to a menial task or restricted to a limited area as a disciplinary measure,” which they feel sums up their role in KC fandom perfectly.
K.C. Futbol Misfits - Taken from the iconic punk band, their name describes its members nicely. This raucous group likes to have a good time & has been known to push the envelope. Energetic, vocal & a never say die attitude is what they are all about.
We brought "Wings of a Sparrow" to these shores. True story, it’s one of our ‘96ers fault.
"Wiz on the Fire". Yeah it’s simple, but sums us up pretty damn well.
Why is sitting in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?
First, if the setup for the Cauldron was described as beer, we’d be a 55% ABR encased in fur. In order to get to your “seats”, supporters in the Cauldron will enter through their own 8,000 square foot pub, with German-inspired beer hall tables. This will be Mecca for soccer fans throughout the Midwest - if soccer is on, it will be shown there. Pre- and post-game will be live every week. The Members Stand occupies the ever-familiar goal line, but will also wrap around the sideline all the way to what would be the 30 yard line or so on a NFL field, down front. A fully enclosed 4-stand park, the roof extends onto the pitch, and seats come all the way to field level. Basically if you have soccer stadium wet dreams, this is your place. Hotels, restaurants, bars, and shopping are next door.
Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?
It’s only a hard question because I imagine you have a space limit. We have perfected the melting pot or cauldron if you will. Other teams might claim this but we live it. English speakers and Spanish speakers are united on the capo stand together. Per capita, we bring it as hard or harder for 90 minutes than any group in the league. Drums, flags, smoke, banners, the rest. The AOKC beer pong team is one of the best in the nation. One club, united in blue.
When Lamar Hunt was looking to build the “New Arrowhead”, he realized he couldn't ask for funding for 2 stadiums at once and put the team up for sale. The Wizards were facing relocation - fans from the Cauldron helped start a foundation that would lobby support and help in the search for investors. Thankfully, a brave group of Kansas Citians saw that what we had built here was special, and could be so much more. Now supported by our local ownership group, Sporting Club, and approaching 9,000 total season ticket holders already for 2011, our future has never been brighter. Kansas City is one of the fastest up-and-coming markets in MLS.
The Cauldron also has deep ties with the first American Outlaws chapter, founded in Kansas City, and @aokcdoesnotstop’s love and support for the national team is some of the best in the country. For example - this and this.
If anyone in the USSF reads this, please bring our team home to the Heart of America this summer for the Gold Cup. It’s gonna be a show.
Greatest game(s) in team history?
Most outsiders would assume the MLS Cup 2000 final, but anyone who was there at the time would agree that it was the Western Conference Final in 2000. Igor Simuntenkov scores in golden goal extra time to bring Kansas City the Lamar Hunt Open Cup trophy in 2004, as we take down Chicago 1-0.
In CONCACAF, we beat Santos Laguna in the quarters of 2002 (first and only MLS club at this time to win a home-away series with a Mexican side), and should’ve beaten Saprissa in 2005 (the year they won the competition). If we used away goals like most other home-and-home competitions, we would’ve won.
Herculez Gomez puts the Wizards into the playoffs in stoppage time. One of the most dramatic regular season games in MLS history
Another regular season classic in 1996 that was considered one of the 10 greatest games of MLS in 2005 by Frank Dell’Apa - 6-4 Preki, Mo, Digital and crew over, well, the Crew.
Beating Manchester United with 10 men in front of a Cauldron that numbered in the thousands would be on most team’s list, but not ours. It’s a friendly - just another day at the office.
Predictions for this season?
We are going to be super good and stuff - bright young talent, savvy veterans. Yeah there’s a 8-11 game roadtrip to start the season, and Gold Cup callups, but this is our year. Call your bookie and put your house on it.
Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?
Because we live here? This is our home and this is our club. Not much further explication required.
|World Cup Viewing Party (June 2010)|
For more information and/or to join "The Cauldron".
Photo Credits: Thad Bell @ BackPost.Net
Support the Movement. Get the Free Beer Movement T-Shirt. Only from Objectivo.com