Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why I Cheer for Chivas USA

So when I tell people that I am a Chivas USA fan most of the time I get a weird look from them and normally their response is why?  I would guess they respond that way because I am a white guy with no ties to the Mexican team.  And to be fair to them I am not the typical Chivas USA fan.  And if you listen to our owner I am not their target demographic either but I love this team and organization and I will tell you why.

The journey to me becoming a goats supporter began in 2000 when I came out to California from Nebraska for my high school graduation present from my parents.  At that point I had never been to a MLS game and honestly I don't think I even knew what it was.  I was visiting my Uncle Joe, Aunt Gail, and my cousins Joey and Mari (the Zachers) and they said they were going to take me to a soccer game.  Sounded like fun because I had played soccer as a kid and liked the sport.  At that time they were season ticket holders and supports of the LA Galaxy.  So yes, my first experience with MLS was a Galaxy game at the Rose Bowl.  I became a fan of the Galaxy that day.  I returned to Nebraska and didn't really follow the team much.  I would cheer for the team if they were on TV but didn't really keep up with them.  I do remember sitting in my living room a couple of years later with my aunt and uncle cheering for the Galaxy as they won the MLS Cup. 

In 2003 I moved to Las Vegas with my family and once again found myself visiting the Zachers in LA.  And once again going to a Galaxy game this time at their new home, the Home Depot Center.  I even stood in the stands with one of their supporters groups in the same section that I now stand in cheering for Chivas USA.  I went back to Vegas and I still liked the Galaxy but did not consider myself a supporter just a casual fan who watched the team if I happened to catch a game.

A couple of years went past without really caring or watching MLS.  In that time the Zacher family had fallen out of love with the Galaxy organization and began cheering for the new team in LA, Chivas USA.  My cousin Joey and my Uncle Joe even help start the first supporters group for the team that would eventually end up being a group that still cheers for the team, the Union Ultras.  They tried and tried to get me to come out to games and cheer for the team but I just thought it was a Mexican team and wondered why were they cheering for them. 

Then in Novemeber 2008 everything changed. My uncle got sick and ended up in the hospital.  He was there until he passed away on February 15, 2009.  During his time in the hospital he was visited by members of the Chivas USA front office, Chivas USA players, and members of the Union Ultras.  They didn't have to do that. They cared about him because he was such a good man with a huge personality that everyone loved him and was hoping he would get better.  At his funeral the team sent flowers and members of the Union Ultras came to support the family and show their love for him. 

After seeing how much the team, players, and supporters were there for my family when we needed them I vowed I would always be there for them.  I told my cousin that I would become a Chivas USA fan in memory of my Uncle Joe and do my best to fill his spot in the stands.  I became a member of the Union Ultras at the beginning of the next season.  I met so many good people with that group who are now some of my best friends in the world.  A lot of us broke away from the Ultras and started the Black Army 1850 a couple of years later and that is who I stand with now and give my all at every game I can make it to in memory of my Uncle Joe.  I think about him every game and wish I could have cheered for Chivas USA with him.  And his memory lives on in our group to this day.  Our group gives out an MVP award every year to the player we think deserves it the most and that award is called the Papa Joe Award. 

R.I.P Dr. Joseph G. Zacher