Welcome to American Tifo*, a weekly newsletter written for and about North American soccer supporters.
American Tifo will capture the excitement, challenges, achievements and obstacles of supporter culture in North America. Through longform features, profiles and interviews it will explore overarching trends, individual supporter groups, city connections, community work, and more. But above all, it will tell meaningful, compelling, cool stories.
I was first introduced to the world of supporter culture as a producer with COPA90. It only took a few trips around the U.S. and Canada, a few marches, tifo painting sessions and smoke bombs, to become utterly taken with this world. From the communal love that stretches past the touchlines into people’s everyday lives, to the addictive energy that comes from singing, jumping and drumming until you’re hoarse and exhausted, I was hooked.
I would go on to cover supporter stories in Germany, Norway and England, which only deepened my love for the whole culture, and convinced me that it’s growth and evolution in the United States was an exciting prospect.
During our shoots with supporters, I was constantly floored by the generosity we encountered. People whom my crew and I had just met days earlier gave us their time, fed us, let us ride their busses, shove cameras in their faces at the most sacred parts of their nights, told their enforcers not to destroy our cameras, let us cut the lines, and gave us the best seats in the house. They gave us a peek into their lives, and a piece of their heart, asking for nothing in return, except that we tell their story right, a duty we didn’t take lightly.
It’s that passion and kindness that makes me want to take up the same task here, amplifying the stories of the people and movements that are growing our game, especially now, when genuine connection is more elusive than ever.
I know there are many different types of Supporter Groups, supporters and opinions on what support should mean. I know this can cause tension among groups at different, and sometimes at the same clubs. That’s cool. That’s part of it. But my plan is to avoid the politics and grudges among factions, and instead tell the truest, most authentic stories that I can.
Like a new SG, I’m still learning as I go, figuring out what this is and can be. But, I can promise that no matter what it is, on a weekly basis, it will have heart, it will be about things that are bigger than us as individuals, and it will hopefully be informative and entertaining.
I won't be able to capture the insanity and energy of a march, the chaos of the stands, the beauty of raw, sore throats and lost voices, or the magic of sudsy beer that gets heaved into the sky, but I'll try to help fill the void just a little bit.
If this sounds like something you’re into, subscribe! Share it with the rest of your SG, with anyone else who might be interested.
Think of it as a tiny smoke bomb clouding up your inbox every week.
*Before we go any further. (I KNOW the name American Tifo makes it seem like I’m overlooking the True North, but that’s not the case! I plan to include MANY Canadian stories throughout our coverage! Don’t be mad at me, Canada!)