The Mobile area's brand new soccer team is taking the field for the first time ever on Mother's Day. The game between AFC Mobile and Gulf Coast Texans isn't until 7PM, so you've got plenty of time to have a great Mother's Day brunch and make the most of your day. And then come out to Lipscomb Stadium for the match.
I run into people all the time who became soccer fans after years of ignoring the sport, or only watching it when their kids played. My wife Debby was in that group. She'd never been to see a match in person, but decided to humor me on one of our Seattle trips and agreed to go to a game. That's all it took. One game! and now a fan for life.
Soccer is the sport that's probably most like college football, because there's an energy in the stands that goes beyond your average sports experience. No, there's not a marching band (not usually), but supporters sing and chant and keep it fun. People wear scarves in any weather, and soccer scarves are a collectible thing. It's easy to get hooked.
So the #1 reason to go is that you just might love it!
Some other reasons:
- It's grassroots! AFC Mobile is being put together by soccer fans who simply wanted a local team to cheer for, and to support soccer in the community. They don't have a lot of money to spend, nor do they really expect to make any money -- at least not this year. But they've worked really hard to make this a reality over the last couple of years. It really is a labor of love.
- It's the start of a new tradition. I spoke to a couple of players the other day and told them to remember the moment. Saying it may not mean much to them now, but in 50 years, they'd be the guys who started something very cool for our city. They were there from the beginning, and you should be too.
- We have no idea what to expect! Will we have 200 fans show up, or 2000? This alone should make it interesting, and wouldn't it be cool to be part of a surprisingly big crowd?
- Your kids love soccer. This is the sport that kids and millennials are embracing in a big way. They've played it, and they watch it. They'll love it.
- Matches are relatively short. I love football and baseball, but they both run a bit long. In soccer, there's 90 minutes of play (with usually just a few minutes of added time), but no clock stoppages except at halftime. The whole experience takes less than two hours, which is perfect for short attention spans or for when you have to be at work the next day.
- It's a rivalry, or as they like to say in soccer circles, a derby. AFC Mobile is playing the Pensacola team for its opening match. They're called the Gulf Coast Texans, which makes a bit more sense if you know the story of the team, but it doesn't matter. Great rivalries have to start somewhere, and this one starts Sunday!
- This is how we grow the game. I would strongly encourage any soccer fan to not miss this game, or others. The more support, the better it gets. Mobile has every opportunity to play soccer at a much higher level, but it will happen only when we support what we already have.