Our boys on AC St. Louis have been through a rough patch so far. Four games played, four losses. They’ve shown the ability to play well, as the second half of the Carolina game, the first half of the Aztex game and the second half of the Vancouver game all show. They had several chances to score in the Portland game, but so far the team hasn’t been able to put a solid 90 minutes together and get a result.
“These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote patriot Thomas Paine more than 230 years ago. He was referring to the struggle of the American colonies to free themselves from British rule. The Continental Army shriveled as deprivation, defeat and hardship caused many to desert. Many others on our continent were indifferent, or in fact in favor of continuing under the British crown. Even George Washington and his staff, early in the war, toasted the King’s health after dinners. With time, and the determination of only a few thousand men and women, immigrants and blacks and Native Americans, what started as a protest against taxation without representation evolved into a full-blown quest for independence, and our country became the beacon of freedom for the world. A few thousand kept the flame of freedom burning until the majority realized that we could have freedom, and that it mattered.
I’m not trying to equate the seriousness of the birth of a nation with the support of a soccer team, but there are similarities. Fans are frustrated with a winless start to a season, and surely more than the fans, the players and coaches themselves, who’ve been working hard for success, must be feeling discouraged. These times have tried our souls. Do we shrink and shrivel away, or do we support our club? Now is the time to rally around our team, to support our boys who wear the AC crest. A few thousand made a difference more than 230 years ago….we can make the difference by standing up and being counted.
Yes, the team hasn’tt gotten a lot of media coverage. And we’re not in the MLS. So what. I wish the MLS success because its our nation’s premier league, but St. Louis’ relationship to MLS is like being back in high school, MLS being the glamour girl you keep asking out, she hems and haws but never goes out with you. Meanwhile, you overlook the girl right next to you who has heart and soul and LIKES you. That’s the NASL, without which we wouldn’t have a team to root for, and I support the NASL. And the media coverage will come when we continue to sell out games and keep making each match an EVENT.
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a packed house and a victory for AC St. Louis Saturday night. I may be wrong on one, or both counts, but again, so what. The idea is to believe. I believe in this team that fights for every ball, that hasn’t let up. I believe in the United Knights and the Eads Brigade and Day Pints and the other supporters groups that aren’t going to let up or let down. I believe in the atmosphere at AB Soccer Park and that our support helps the team on the field. I believe in our coach and our players. Stand firm, support the team, and be there Saturday night when AC St. Louis records its first win in team history. And I’ll leave you with one bit of great news…..according to an email I received a few hours ago from Tony Hubert, AC St. Louis’ Director of Communications, Steve Ralston is expected to play Saturday night.