We are the Collective. We are Charlotte.
(Photo: Kevin Ketchie)
by Jay Landskroener
Around this time of year ten years ago, I found a group of friends that, like me, were passionate about soccer. Then, we were excited about the United States Men's National Team and the lead up to the 2010 World Cup. Before I met these folks, I thought that I was one of only a few soccer fans in this country.
I knew other fans existed, I had just never been around a large group of them in a social setting.
But these people were just like me. They were passionate, they wanted to sing songs and celebrate madly after every goal. They knew all the tactics, all the players, and all the intricacies of tactical systems. We would meet up at Hooligans and talk ad nauseam about the events of the day, week, or season.
Ten years ago, we dreamed of the day that MLS would come to Charlotte. During the course of those ten years, I personally have lived in three different cities. I've been to numerous games in various stadiums. I've sat with multiple supporters' groups, sang their songs, cheered and jeered alike. In 2014, we started a supporters' group in Charlotte for our USL team, hoping that Jack's Militia would lead the way to the biggest stage of American soccer. We waited, expectantly, for our chance to showcase this city in the international soccer-loving spotlight.
And now, for the first time ever, Charlotte will be represented in the first tier of American soccer - MLS. This team will be our city’s third major sports team. Our passionate fans can now support our city on the world's stage. Mint City Collective is here.
Ten years is a long time for any of us to live with a dream, to have a wish. But to have it all come to fruition Tuesday was incredible. December 17th was an extremely happy day for the city of Charlotte and passionate soccer fans, like us, living here.
We, you, the Collective have worked hard. But it was seeing all of us together, fans of the game from different pockets of our city all gathered as one, that made everything we now have so exciting. You are lifting this team up to extreme heights already.
But we can’t do this alone, and there are 14 long months ahead. The community needs our support, and we need theirs. The team is counting on us to support all that they do. Best of all: You don’t have to sit quietly waiting for other fans to appear. We are here. We are the Mint City Collective. We will passionately and loyally support our team. We will passionately and loyally support Charlotte. We are Charlotte.
It is now, finally, officially #TimeToStrike.