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AC St. Louis’ Home Opener: Dreams Do Come True

Jeff Cooper had a dream…a vision that included organizing the area’s youth soccer programs, building a professional woman’s team and bringing a men’s professional team to our region.  Jeff Cooper, a kid from Granite City who took a soccer scholarship to DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and from there went to St. Louis University Law School to become a man of prominence and wealth as the managing partner of the highly successful SimmonsCooper law firm, held on to his dream.  His constant efforts at securing an MLS franchise for the St. Louis area always fell just a bit short, as Seattle, Philadelphia, Portland and Vancouver were awarded expansion franchises by the league over St. Louis.  Many of us who love the sport and yearned for a team of our own to support followed his efforts, watching a man who just wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Last Saturday, Jeff Cooper’s dreams (and ours) came true.  Not in the way we all originally envisioned, but nonetheless, AC St. Louis took the field at AB Soccer Park for its first league home game.  Tremendous.  I truly couldn’t be happier.  I’m glad to have an NASL team playing at the Soccer Park.  And I imagine very few, if any, of the 5,695 in attendance left the game disappointed.  Surely, we all wanted a win and 3 points, but we have a competitive team and we already love our boys.  The wins will come. 

There were so many highlights.  Anthony O’ Garro’s scorching goal, and the joy he and his teammates displayed afterwards, was infectious.  The packed house was a delight to see.  The supporter’s groups built on their display at the AC St. Louis-Kansas City Wizards’ preseason game and were even louder and smokier.  Believe me, if you check BigSoccer.com and some of the comments we’re getting on the Fanatic, fans around the country took notice of our crowd and our enthusiasm, and the pageviews of the Fanatic have skyrocketed.  Thank you all.

Personally, the day was great from beginning to end.  I met with Dave, Nik, Steve and other ACSTL fans before the game at Growler’s Pub.  Dave, my daughter and I distributed rosters before the match and at halftime at a table provided by the team, and got fans signed up for our giveaways.  We met so many great people, including Jack Traynor and Ryan Moore’s parents, Brad Stisser’s mom and girlfriend, Chad Becker’s mom, relatives of Tim Velten, and I have to admit that Dave and I were quite gratified by the kind words they said about what we do at the Fanatic to support the team and their sons.  Wonderful people.  After the game, I talked to Jack Traynor a bit.  He was  down, feeling that the team could have scored 3 or 4 goals in the first half and that they deflated a bit after letting in the second goal.  I told him the wins will come.  Later, I met a fine group of young men from Kenya who are students at Harris-Stowe State University, and also love professional soccer.  The day ended with Dave getting interviews with Coach Claude Anelka and Steve Ralston.  Excitement and fun throughout the day.

So thank you, Jeff Cooper, for sharing your dream with the fans of St. Louis, southern Illinois and eastern Missouri.  We love this team and support our players to the max.  Let’s pick up some points this week on our Pacific Northwest trip in games with Portland (Thursday night) and Vancouver (Saturday night).  Let’s pack the house again May 1 for our next home game against Crystal Palace Baltimore.  GO AC !!!!!!

Sarah and Dad

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3 Responses

  1. another great writeup Gerry. What you write not only comes from your heart, but is shared by thousands of fans in and around St. Louis.

  2. Excellently put, I’m pretty sure everyone is indeed grateful for the actions of Jeff Cooper

  3. I forgot to mention meeting Luke Kreamalmeyer’s Mom at the game Saturday, too. She said Luke and Corrine’s new daughter is doing well. And Dave met Steve Ralston’s father. See what happens when you don’t take notes.

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