If you know anything about me…you’ll know that I am a HUGE soccer fan.
While I never played soccer myself, my love of the game goes back to 1994, when my parents took my sister, brother and I to a World Cup Match at Giant’s Stadium. I was hooked ever since then.
Four years ago…Louisville, Kentucky got a USL soccer team, and my roomie, my friend Patrick, and I went in for season tickets…and we splurged. Midfield.
Patrick moved away, and our friend Natalie took over his tickets. And for the past four years…we have been dedicated to our Boys in Purple!
Around this time last year…Louisville City FC…our USL soccer team…won the USL Championship Cup. It was years in the making, as we had made it to the USL Eastern Conference Finals the previous 2 years and to FINALLY get the win and put them into the Championship…was a thrill.
We took our friends Melissa and Paul. And…with 90 minutes gone, Cameron Lancaster buried one in the net, keeping us from extra time, and…dreaded penalty kicks. We won.
This year, our beloved team had it’s share of ups and downs. For one thing, we lost our coaching staff about halfway through the season. We had three players step up to be player coaches until the positions could be filled. We had a bunch of injuries. And on a small roster, that has an impact. We had to get used to a new coach and his way of playing. We lost games we should have won. We won games we expected to lose. The team knew what it needed to do to get back to the playoffs again, and they did it without egos. And that, is one of the many reasons I love this team.
Last weekend, while I was in Indianapolis preparing to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon…Louisville City beat the New York Red Bulls II and became the Eastern Conference Champions…for the second year in a row. On to the finals. The Western Conference Champions this year…Phoenix Rising. Headed by none other than Didier Drogba! HOLY CRAP.
BUT…our usual battleground, Slugger Field, has an event happening the day ESPN chose for the match. So…the game had to be moved…to a smaller venue. Tickets sold out in 20 minutes. Thankfully, as a season ticket holder, I was able to snag two tickets ahead of general sale.
They added temporary bleachers to the stadium for this match to allow for a bigger turnout. But it was SOLD OUT and the seats were packed. Despite the cold night.
I arrived, ready to see our team take on Phoenix Rising…and Drogba himself.
It was an honor to be able to watch him play.
The entire match was intense. I normally take videos on my phone, but not last night. I didn’t touch my phone. And that’s not just because I was wearing two pairs of gloves on my hands, two pairs of socks on my feet, and four layers on my upper body. No joke. I was NOT going to freeze out there. The first half came to an end…with no goals scored.
But then…at about the 62nd minute…
Luke Spencer scores an incredible goal putting us ahead. Now…we just had to hang onto it.
The stadium was pure electricity. Lots of stomping, cheering, clapping, screaming, it was magical. And stressful. Because every time Drogba was given the ball (it seems Phoenix’s entire game plan was…get the ball to Drogba), and he took a shot, I think we all collectively held our breaths.
Yellow cards were issued. Substitutions were made. Stoppage time was played. And the final whistle blew.
And Louisville City FC made HISTORY last night by being the first USL team to win back-to-back championships.
Damn…that was fun. It also meant that my roomie and I stayed to watch the award ceremony, waited to see if the players made the rounds…and then called it a night. We walked back to the car, just buzzing with sheer adrenaline from the win. It was amazing. God, I love this team. Proud to be a founding member.
It was a late night (which included a Burger King drive-thru stop for my roomie as she was STARVING)…but we got home and I went into my room and called it a night. I had a spin class to get to the following morning. I was glad I went, but damn, it was very hard to get myself out of bed when my alarm went off this morning.
Any of my local peeps attend Louisville City FC matches? Are you season ticket holders? For those of you who don’t live in or near Louisville, what sports are you into? Did you play that sport as a kid? What teams do you support? I want to know!!
For now…just riding the celebration wave into the weekend.
Much love for another fantastic season, Louisville City FC!