What can we take away from the mass expansion going on in the States?
Andrew Schmidt is the president of The Flock, Forward Madison’s enthusiastic, community-focused main supporter group which Konner and Kyle are also a big part of.
As the three describe, the incredible fan organisation has worked to forge relationships with community businesses – at which fans will receive discounts – whilst also fundraising for charities and organising volunteer efforts.
Andrew said: “Organising events and fundraisers for causes important to our city just shows that the goal here is so much more than football."
"[We] plan to have every single pre-match event work to benefit local charities. Being able to get the word out and do our part to help these charities will be just about the biggest thing we can do as a group to leave a lasting impression beyond supporting the club every matchday”
Beyond this, Andrew explained how the establishment of the city’s first-ever professional soccer team has proven an incredible unifying force within the community.
“I think FMFC is in a great position to bring everyone in our mess of a soccer community together. As a small-ish city in the Midwest, soccer is not the biggest sport here, not even close," Andrew said.
"Yet it’s hard to go too far when you’re downtown in the summer without seeing somebody’s European team getting repped. All these soccer people, though, never had a place to get together – it was always a distant game."
For Konner especially, the opportunity to start new traditions and build the cultural foundations for a long-lasting heritage is a special kind of privilege which he’s particularly looking forward to, and this is the point at which the two leagues don’t seem so far apart.
Supporters who are getting behind Western United are about to have all the same opportunity as Forward Madison fans. They’ve heard the new name, they’re seeing leaked crests, they’ve got the announcements of kit releases and player signings to look forward to.
We gave @TheAthleticSCCR an exclusive sneak peak at our away goalkeeper jersey! 📸 What do you think?— Forward Madison FC (@ForwardMSNFC) March 8, 2019
Ready to see the full home and away jerseys? Join us at Breese Stevens Field tomorrow at 1 p.m. for the #FullMingo unveil! https://t.co/3DL5jvx6Ru
Fans of the A-League’s newest club now have another opportunity on the horizon; they get to contribute towards making the club into whatever they want it to be and to create a culture that they can identify with.
For Forward Madison and The Flock, the club’s incredible character and unity are pretty well summed up by Andrew:
“After all, if we and the players can’t have fun watching and playing a game, what are we doing this for?”