A little more than three years ago, in an an attempt to ramp up my growing passion for Liverpool FC, I sought out the Chicago branch of the Liverpool Supporters Club. At halftime of the Liverpool-Chelsea match, Fernando Torres' Anfield debut, I ran into a guy wandering through Fado with a pen and a legal pad, taking names and e-mail addresses. Little did I know what putting my name on that list would lead to three years later.
Two weeks ago I captained the Chicago LFC co-ed soccer squad to their first-ever championship: the Windy City Wanderers Summer League First Division. The man with the pen and the pad, Bryn Griffiths, passed the armband to me earlier this year. Since our first indoor team kicked off in November 2008, the Co-ed Reds have continued to improve and add new players. This summer season we started off with a forfeit when the majority of our squad stayed at a bar to watch extra time of the World Cup Final. (Can you blame us?) We never lost again.
In the Final we faced our arch rivals Bakgat 11, a team that we have played a number of close contests against in the past year. (And maybe Bryn and I hyped up the rivalry just a bit to get the team fired up for the Final.) Expecting another tight match, we blew them off the field, 5-0. You can read not one but two blog posts on the Final on the Chicago LFC blog: mine takes a John Facenda inspired tone, while the witty Kevin Achettu goes the comical route.
But the growth of our supporters club extends far beyond the rec league fields. If I told you we got Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher to wear one of our CLFC t-shirts, is that something you might be interested in? Thanks to the hard work of John Koutoupis, our group now has a formal relationship with Carragher's 23 Foundation, which we've designated our official charity. Last week John and several other Chicago Reds were at Anfield for Carra's testimonial match. Our fundraising efforts over the past year through t-shirt sales and raffles helped pay for the handsome looking van seen here. How cool is it to have our Chicago Supporters Club logo on the side?
In my role as PR/Social Media Director for CLFC, I'm hoping to grow awareness and membership in Chicago and beyond. As a group we'll spread the "You'll Never Walk Alone" culture throughout the Windy City. One of my goals is to get us to 500 Facebook fans by the end of 2010. (We're at 190 as I write this post.) From the days of me looking for a guy with a pad and a pen wandering through Fado, we've come a long way.