New York City Football Club are the newest team in Major League Soccer. By “new,” I mean that they were created completely from scratch in 2013 and weren’t “promoted” from a lower division like fellow 2015 expansion team Orlando City SC. This year, in just their second year of play, they’ve secured their first ever playoff appearance. In honor of that, I interviewed someone who knew very little about soccer before I took him to his first NYCFC game this year: our very own Jorfimus Prime.
typoattack: Before this year, how much did you know about soccer in general?
Jorfimus Prime: I knew that people ran around with a ball and tried to kick it into a net, and that one guy stood in front of the net and tried to keep them from kicking the ball in. I also knew that people outside of the US call it “football,” which has always made way more sense to me. I probably knew more about Quidditch than about soccer.
T: Did you know anything about NYCFC or Major League Soccer before you went to your first game?
J: Only what you’d told me, which was basically that there was a soccer team in New York and they played at Yankee Stadium. Sometimes you’d tell me things like how they were doing and I had no idea what they meant. I didn’t even know anything about the rest of the league.
T: Does anyone else in your family follow soccer/have a favorite soccer team?
J: They didn’t even know it existed here until I told them. My dad has always followed baseball in general and the Yankees in particular, but never cared about any other sport. My mom hasn’t ever cared about any sport. You can probably imagine from that how much they care or know about MLS.
T: What is it like becoming a fan of a new team (new as in recently founded, no history, etc.)?
J: It’s pretty awesome, actually. Aside from being exciting for me because I’m jumping in on the ground floor with no prior attachments to any players (as opposed to my history with the Yankees where I’ll forever be nostalgic for the 90’s teams), there’s also the excitement of being able to watch them and experience all of the “firsts.” First win against this team, first time in the playoffs, etc. It’s a really cool feeling to be able to watch history being made and have the knowledge that someday you’ll be able to look back and say “I remember when…”
T: What do you like about NYCFC?
J: I love the energy of the games, and the fans. I imagine it would difficult to see a game, even one that doesn’t go in our favor, and not have a great time. The fans are so passionate, and then there the supporters and the band to factor in as well. It’s almost like being at a concert in that way, with all of the people so excited to be there, and the die-hard fans knowing every word to every song.
T: You’re also a fan of the New York Yankees, with whom NYCFC share a stadium. How does an NYCFC game compare to a Yankees game?
J: Well for one there’s the energy I mentioned above. There’s also a smaller fanbase and the prices are noticeably lower for NYCFC tickets than for Yankees tickets. It’s easier to get a seat closer to the action, which makes you feel more a part of the game. I love going to Yankees games, but I always feel far from the action, like I’m just watching from a distance (and I mean further than just from nosebleed seats). It feels detached, in some ways. So it’s easier to get into a soccer game, since you’re right there. I’ve had better seats for the two NYCFC games I’ve been to than in any of the Yankees games I’ve been to in the past… five or six years now, I think?
T: Does the fact that the Yankees are 20% owners of NYCFC, which grants access to the YES Network and the Yankees’ influence in the city, among other things, make it easier to root of NYCFC and why?
J: Given that I don’t recall knowing this until right this minute, I’m going to have to say no. I can see why that would be beneficial, of course, but it doesn’t really matter to me or affect my opinion. If I didn’t like them, that wouldn’t do anything to improve or worsen that opinion, and it doesn’t do anything to change my opinion now. Ownership and finances and politics don’t bother me. That’s how things work, and I don’t care to be a part of that drama. I just want to see a good game.
T: Do you see NYCFC becoming as big a part of your fandom as the Yankees?
J: Definitely. At this point I’d probably say I’d look forward to NYCFC games more than Yankees games. Especially in recent years when the games became more about pitching and defense, to the point where it feels like nothing happens in the games. I remember years ago I would wake up to notes from my dad about what happening the games while I was asleep – which of my favorite players hit homers, who won, things like that. It was an exciting time for me. But now, I watch games and they just don’t feel as exciting. So I can absolutely see myself becoming a big NYCFC fan, because watching them brings back that wonder and excitement that I haven’t felt about a sport for quite a while now.
T: What are your hopes for a future NYCFC stadium?
J: While I love Yankee Stadium, and I enjoy watching NYCFC play there, I’d love to see them finally get their own space. The stadium is very specifically designed for baseball, and while I have nothing to compare it to, I imagine a soccer stadium would have a very different feeling as far as being a spectator. It’s definitely something I’m excited to experience someday, hopefully sooner rather than later.
T: Do you see yourself becoming more involved with soccer in the future as a fan?
J: I suppose that depends how you define “more involved.” I don’t see myself playing soccer myself; I’m far too uncoordinated and out of shape for that. But I definitely want to see more games, and if I can ever afford to I’d like to buy a jersey or two (we both know I love [Andrea] Pirlo). I’ve never been one for stats and things like that, but I’m definitely planning on following the team even if I don’t memorize all of the numbers for everything. It’s been a lot of fun so far, so I’m definitely interested in continuing on this path.
T: Playoff predictions?
J: I don’t think I have enough knowledge about MLS to make any predictions. My hope, of course, is that NYCFC goes all the way and wins the cup. As for how that will play out, I don’t know. But I’d like to think they have a solid chance, especially after seeing the game against Columbus Crew and Villa’s goal in the final seconds.
And there you have it. Thanks to Jorfimus Prime for answering my questions, especially seeing as being involved this early with a club is basically a once in a lifetime opportunity. Come on you boys in blue!
As always, all photos on this page are copyright of typoattack or Jorfimus Prime. Please do not use without permission.
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