Fan Reaction: Pride, City, Club

Soccer has become huge in the United States. Groups in Mobile gather to watch US Men’s and Women’s National Team games as well as the English Premier League, the top Mexican division, America’s Major League Soccer, and many more leagues from around the world. However, nothing can compare to supporting a team that represents you, your culture, and your city. Nothing is better than pride, city, club.

In this Fan Reaction, supporter Sam Zanaty explains how his passion for soccer and his love of Mobile were able to mesh together and explode into something truly special.

We made ourselves known with the “M-O-B” chant

When I reflect back on growing up in Mobile, I fondly remember attending Mobile Bay Bears and Mystics games. If I had played my cards just right, I’d be fortunate enough to get Dippin’ Dots ice cream! And like most youngsters, I’d hope for a chance of catching a foul ball or getting a post-game autograph from one of the players. These are my memories of sporting events in Mobile.

Today, I’m 25 years old, my passion for sports can best be described as a love for the game of soccer. You’ll most definitely find me rooting for the men’s and woman’s US National Teams (but let’s not discuss the men’s team right now) and my favorite teams from Europe. COYS!

Still, there is something very special about supporting your hometown. I remember distinctly my excitement to find out that the city of Mobile would have a soccer team. I was relaxing one weekend checking out posts on Facebook when I saw one regarding AFC Mobile. My first swag purchase was a scarf, and later would follow with both a home and away jersey. That’s right… I do get a bit passionate about soccer teams. After a couple hats and another scarf, I felt like my swag collection was ready to represent AFC Mobile. Some would say I purchased too many things (You’re welcome AFC Mobile financial group).

The first home game I was able to attend was against Biloxi City FC (now Port City FC). Little did I, or anyone else in attendance, know that the game would be a roller coaster ride full of unexpected turns. Numerous goals, a scary injury and more red cards issued in a single team that I’ve ever witnessed in person. Unfortunately, we lost. However, I instantly bonded with the other fans in attendance, rooting our team on to represent our city.

Another fond memory I had of last season was attending the game where we broke 1,000 fans in attendance! Fans made up of young families, and a few hooligans, all wanting to support AFC Mobile. Being a part of the Causeway Rebellion and providing the boys a supportive atmosphere at home (and away) was an absolute blast! We made ourselves known with the “M-O-B” chant. If you are unfamiliar with it, google the Icelandic national team chant. Just imagine if we, Mobilians, can get 2,000 people to perform this at a game.

During the last home game, as I was leaving the Lip, I overheard a little girl speaking to her father and she asked “Are we coming back again next weekend?” The dad was unsure of the schedule so I had to be the barer of bad news that tonight was the last home game until next season. She was bummed of course, but then filled with excitement for the next season.

Me too young lady!

The future of the beautiful game of soccer is bright with our youth, and if we can continue to support this great game and our hometown team, who knows the level of success AFC Mobile can reach. I encourage all who are reading, to attend a game this upcoming 2018 season. You will not be disappointed and who knows, you too might unleash your love of the game.

For the love of the beautiful game.

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