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The 12th Man

As AC St. Louis approach their home opener on Saturday, one can only be excited about the support that will   follow them into Soccer Park as they take on the Austin Aztex. There are various reasons that the so called “home field advantage” exists.  While some factors can indeed be attributed to conditions such as travel or altitude, the most important advantage lies with the 12th man; the thousands of fans who come out to support their club in good times or bad.

Take for instance the example of the CONCACAF region. While not the most successful region historically on the world stage, an argument could be made for it having some of the most passionate supporters on the globe. These fans sing, yell, and wave their national flags in undying support for their country’s national team.  El Tri, as the Mexican national squad is known colloquially, averaged nearly 92,000 throughout their road to South Africa 2010 while keeping a perfect record at home.

But they are not alone in their home form.  In total in the hexagonal round, the visiting side only managed a win 17% of the time. Even the eventual winners of the region, the United States, were humbled 3-1 before a raucous crowd of 19,200 in the Costa Rican capital, San Jose, at Estadio Saprissa. The red, white, and blue walked into the stadium facing a team to which they were superior but had the support of thousand in attendance. While some will contest that the artificial pitch did indeed play a role in the embarrassing defeat, something must be said for the loyal Costa Rican masses and the environment that they created as they disrupted communication amongst the Americans and managed to even the playing field. But even mightier sides have fallen in these away conditions, and Diego Maradona, former superstar and current head coach of the Argentine internationals, can tell you about it. His squad was thoroughly defeated 6-1 in front of over 30,000 in La Paz, Bolivia.

These examples should inspire us to support AC St. Louis even louder. From what was seen against the Kansas City Wizards, St. Louis already seems to have the building blocks in place for a very successful fan base. To many of the players in the USSF Division 2 Pro League, this type of fan support is almost unheard of.  The smoke bombs and the chants will be a great way to show support and give our boys the motivation needed to overcome Austin. Since St. Louis has the most dedicated soccer fan base in the nation, how about we show them at Soccer Park on Saturday?


2 Responses

  1. Good article, Dylan. The 12th man is gonna ROAR Saturday night.

  2. I hope so, yell twice as loud since i wont be able to make. lol

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