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Indirect Kick: An open letter to the New England Revolution supporters

The New England Revolution lost in the MLS Cup in extra time last season 2-1. PHOTO COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

To the Midnight Riders, Rebellion and Revs Army,

My fellow Revs fans, let me just begin by saying that I am one of you. I attend almost every home game, sit in The Fort and cheer on my beloved New England Revolution, just like all of you.

When I was 16, after years of going to home games and seeing how awesome The Fort, our supporters’ section, is during games, I decided I wanted to join. So on May 11, 2013, after years of anticipation, I officially joined the Midnight Riders and sat in The Fort for the first time to see a 1-1 draw against the hated New York Red Bulls.

The whole night was special, despite the soggy conditions. From tailgating in the parking lot and meeting new people, some of whom I consider my best friends today, to learning all the chants and singing along with the fellow supporters — that is one night I will never forget. I’ve had some special times with my Revs family, and it has given me an extra appreciation for the sport of soccer.

There is just one small problem. There are three supporters groups, and while it’s good to have a larger audience, it raises a question with me: Why three?

I’ve heard all the stories of how the groups were formed and the intra-supporter rivalries and grievances, but I still just don’t get it.

I am a member of the Midnight Riders, but some of my best friends, both at games and in life, are in the Rebellion. I am also friendly with a few members of the Revs Army. So to have three groups just doesn’t make sense.

At tailgates, Midnight Riders claim one half of the supporters’ lot and the Rebellion claims the other. Yet there is no distinct border or dividing line; members of each group intermingle with each other. I even know people who are members of both groups.

The Revs Army is a different entity. Members join by invite only, and their tailgates are held at the Red Fox Motel just down the street from Gillette Stadium. One of my friends has been invited to join them, and is also a member of both the Rebellion and Midnight Riders.

At games, supporters are allotted sections 142 and 143 behind the goal. The bottom of 143 is for the Midnight Riders and the top is for the Revs Army. Meanwhile, the bottom of 142 is for the Rebellion and the top is for general admission ticket holders.

Now, I’ve heard of fan segregation in terms of opposing fans. In Europe, fans of the visiting club are told where to sit and sanctioned off from the rest of the grounds. While this supporter “segregation” is much less extreme, it still exists. And for what reason?

Look, I love the Revs and I wouldn’t love them any less if I was in a different supporters group. So why are we fighting and bickering and separating ourselves from other fans who love the Revs. I mean, we all love soccer and the Revs, so why can’t we just be one supporters group.

I shouldn’t be told, when I’m talking to my friend, “Oh you can’t stand at this table, this is for Army members only.” And believe it or not, that has actually happened to me before. How crazy is that?

It’s almost like little children on the playground in elementary school who say you can’t use this swing because you’re not a cool kid. It’s pointless and honestly ridiculous.

The point of a soccer supporters group is to be an all-inclusive club that supports the local team. We, as loyal Revs supporters, get together about 20 times a year to watch our beloved New England Revolution play. We all cheer the same cheers, sing the same songs, chant the same chants and support the same club.

The bottom line is we shouldn’t be arguing amongst ourselves. We all share the same devotion to our team, and watch with the same enthusiasm. So why is it that we separate ourselves from one another?

The Revs used to be known for having the best home-field advantage in Major League Soccer. And I still think we are one of the top contenders for that honor. But what has changed is in-fighting between fans, leading to a divide.

George Washington advised his countrymen not to be influenced by and separate into political parties, as it will just cause chaos. That, essentially, is what is happening with us. We shouldn’t separate into three supporters groups. We would be a stronger fan base as one united front.

Just like Americans, despite political affiliation, are still American, Revs supporters, despite whatever group they find themselves a part of, are still Revs supporters.

We must set aside our grievances and differences as Revs fans and unite to become one big, all-inclusive supporters group. Frankly, the current format is downright foolish. I love the Revs and I know all of you do too. So why are we wasting our time fighting with each other?

We must unite, in the good name of soccer, and forget our differences for the one thing we all have in common: being loyal Revolution fans.

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Daniel Shulman is a sophomore at Boston University majoring in Journalism through the College of Communication. A native of Stoughton, Dan is a sports fanatic who loves everything Boston sports related. He is currently a Sports Hawk at the Boston Globe in the High School sports department. He is also a statistician for both Men’s and Women’s Soccer and Men’s Ice Hockey. Aside from writing, Dan has an interest in music, movies and cooking.

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