We know that support for Orlando City is rampant in the City Beautiful, but what about further out? While I don't have the budget to travel the southeast to investigate the level of support everywhere, I can at least check out Florida's capital city, Tallahassee. I know from personal experience that there are plenty of purple-clad Lions fans here and more than a few magnets on cars. As it turns out, there is also a chapter of the Ruckus. I decided to check in with Eric Pounders of the Capital City Ruckus (CCR) to get his take on being an OCSC supporter in Tallahassee.
What is your take on the level of Orlando City support in Tallahassee?
"With Florida State University being up here in Tallahassee and as the capital of the state, we get a lot of people up here who are from Orlando and the greater Central Florida area that already have a great affinity for Orlando City and have a passion for the team. Also, with the excitement and fandom of USMNT, USWNT and just soccer in general, we are seeing support grow for OCSC as people are beginning to pay more attention to MLS and wanting to support their state's team."
How did the chapter get its start?
"We are a brand new chapter that started earlier this year in April. Matt Thompson is the one who reached out to the Ruckus about creating the local chapter here in Tallahassee after seeing the excitement over Orlando City and just soccer in general."
How many members do you have and what is the typical age range?
"Currently we have about 35 official members but looking to grow and expand as much as we can. We are a youthful group at the moment. The average member is around student/young professional age, so pretty much anywhere from 20 - 29."
What is a typical turnout for watch parties?
"Earlier in the season we would have anywhere from 10 - 15 people come out and watch the games in our Social Room. We are working on elevating the experience at Madison Social by recreating "Man The Wall" from OCSC home games with "Man The Bar" at Madison Social's back bar."
Do you have other types of events?
"We have not had any events other than watch parties yet, but with the season wrapping up this weekend we are planning some community events to get the CCR name out there. We are looking to host a slip and slide kickball tournament as well as support and volunteer with the local youth soccer leagues."
Do members ever organize travel to home or away games?
"Yes, we have had several members travel down to Orlando for home games and proudly wore their CCR shirts at the match."
What would you like others to know about the chapter?
"I think the biggest thing we want people to know is that we are here and want to grow this community of fans and supporters. We want to integrate ourselves into the larger Ruckus community and bring their passion and excitement up to Tallahassee."
How do you feel about this first season?
"Our first season is one to be proud of. We had some nice wins and made great strides to go into next season and be competitive. There were obviously some growing pains that any expansion team will encounter, but the team showed great promise and the amazing support from the community shows me that Orlando City will make waves in the seasons to come."
Are you excited to support the new Orlando City B (USL team) and the Orlando Pride (NWSL team)?
"We will 100% support these clubs. We were really excited to hear about the Alex Morgan trade and while some think the Pride may have given up too much, I really like what GM Paul McDonough has done with Orlando City and can see some similarities with what he is doing with the Pride as well. I also love the agreement OCB made with Eastern Florida State College to play their home games on their campus and help build the larger Orlando City brand across the state."
What does the chapter have planned going into next season?
"We really want to elevate the experience for the watch parties by really developing the Man The Bar concept. We want to bring the same passion and excitement from Orlando and bring it to Tallahassee. We are also looking to make the game experience interactive with a CCR game card that has different scenarios for game outcomes and if a certain number of those scenarios happen the CCR member gets something cool."
Anything else you’d like to share?
"We would like to extend an open invitation to any and all Ruckus members or OCSC fans up to Tallahassee. Nothing better than Saturdays in the fall when we can go from cheering on the FSU Seminoles to watching OCSC and have both teams bring home a 'W.'"
I'd like to thank Eric for taking the time to talk Orlando City and Capital City Ruckus with me. If you're in the Tallahassee area and would like to connect with the chapter you can visit the Capital City Ruckus Facebook page for more information. So, no matter where you are, Go Lions!