A few months back, while we very much knew hosting a friendly versus FC St. Pauli could happen, a friend of mine wondered online why the club was so popular in Buffalo after seeing a bunch of FCSP Buffalo supporters at Mes Que.

Following the announcement that the “Boys in Brown” will be coming to All-High Stadium on May 25, it occurred to us that others may be thinking that same thing about the German side, and we wanted to give fans a primer on the 108-year-old team from the St. Pauli quarter of Hamburg who plays its matches in the electric 55-year-old Millerntor Stadium, described by the Bundesliga as “a party with a pitch.”

Former FCSP player and current Fox Soccer commentator Ian Joy went as far as to call his club “one of the only clubs left in the professional game that allow their supporters to get so close to the players off the field.”

Here are some other things to know:

  • FC St. Pauli is sometimes referred to as a “Kult club” for the fierce and loyal following its earned in its century-plus of play. British author Nick Davidson writes in his club history book that “the Millerntor is also a place which welcomes with open arms fans seeking an alternative to the rabid commercialization of football elsewhere, encouraging them to stay for hours after the final whistle and immerse themselves in the vibrant fan culture.”
  • The club’s contracts for everyone from players to staff include a set of guiding principles which lay out FCSP’s place in the community, social responsibility, and an expectation of tolerance and respect of all people.
  • Even more so than its logo, FCSP may be better known for the Totenkopf logo, or the black-and-white skull-and-crossbones which appears on everything from shirts to flags to tattoos. FCSP’s supporters are so bonded with the symbol that the club actually purchased the image rights of the pirate flag.
  • FCSP supporters maintain a close relationship with clubs like Celtic FC, AEK Athens, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, and Rayo Vallecano. The club came to the United States in 2018 and defeated Detroit City FC and Portland Timbers 2 in summer friendlies.
  • Several of the club’s active players have starred for their national teams, including 24-year-old Norwegian midfielder Mats Møller Dæhli, Tunisian striker Sami Allagui, Poland’s Waldemar Sobota, Japan’s Ryo Miyaichi, and Greece’s Dimitris Diamantakos.

Its alumni list is very impressive as well and includes a quintet of capped USMNT players: Paul Caligiuri, Joe Gyau, Fafa Picault, Cory Gibbs, and Michael Mason.

Also amongst FCSP’s alumni ranks:

  1. Peru national team striker Carlos Zambrano
  2. Former German national teamer Gerald Asamoah
  3. Current Werder Bremen star Max Kruse
  4. Cardiff City winger Junior Hoilett
  5. Panama centurion Armando Cooper
  6. Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic

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