The pub was loud Friday evening. Our post-game home of Mes Que had three different soccer games on big ol’ televisions, I had a nice Glenlivet single-malt soda pop and there were phrases tossed out in every direction:
“Tons of heart.”
Somewhere among that din, though, melody broke out. Members of FC Buffalo’s supporters squad, The Situation Room, began to belt out an ode to our boys in blue-and-gold. Owners perked up. Fans turned to face them. Players like Cory Cwiklinski and Matt Stedman couldn’t help but smile towards the fray.
We’re building something here.
Yes, our nine-man squad was riddled with red cards and dropped a 4-1 decision to our rivals on Friday. Yes, one of our carded players spent the evening in the hospital after being struck with a fist to the jaw. And yes, we inexplicably had three referees from Pennsylvania on the pitch at All-High, but that doesn’t matter. Kindly give us as many excuses as you’d like, but we didn’t deliver the win we all so badly wanted.
I defy you to tell me there isn’t already an FC Buffalo culture in town. We had 507 people at Friday’s match and most hung around, screaming and singing their guts out until the final whistle. We had a team of young girls from Lockport who wanted their photograph taken with our players, regardless of result. And we had nine guys who matched Erie strike for strike for more than a half-hour of “you have two more players out there than us.”
We are six guys running a minor-league soccer club and we don’t count a rich man among us. We have sponsors, supporters and players working their guts out to let the area know we have a club. And while we can’t lay claim to being the birthplace of a Tae-Bo inventor like Erie can, we know we’re moving quickly toward a club of championship material.
So, yes, we had to drag our eyes through tens of Tweets from Erie players after the game, but we can hack that. After all, when you’re celebrating goals scored 11 v 9 like you’ve won every World Cup ever, you’re clearly pretty desperate for compliments in your personal lives. When you’re giving the opposing crowd a standing ovation after a one-save performance, 9-on-11, you clearly have a number of issues to deal with on your own time.
But here’s what we know: our players worked their rear ends off in an easy quit spot and our fans have a chance to out-number Erie at their own pitch on Sunday.
We are building a soccer club.
We are building an identity.
We are building something indefatigable.
The ownership of FC Buffalo
P.S. If you think half the impetus for this piece was to keep the Admirals logo off our front feature box, you are 100 percent correct. #HateErie