Poe’s Perspective: LAFC is the future of Los Angeles’ soccer scene

first_imgIn the months following Vela’s signing, the club’s emphasis on Latino fans became clear. The official supporters’ group crafted chants in Spanish as well as English, borrowing concepts from Liga MX and the Premier League alike. The team’s events took place at staple sites in downtown L.A., at Randy’s Donuts and Pink’s Hot Dogs and dollar stores alike. The club even released a jersey for Steven Beitashour scripted in Farsi, the Iranian defender’s first language. You can learn everything you need to know about the Los Angeles Football Club within  five minutes of stepping foot in its stadium. It’s only been a year, but LAFC has already earned the right to say that it is the soccer club of Los Angeles. Sure, this team is the new kid on the block, but the tired nobility in Carson has been losing steam for ages, and the glitter of imported European stars will only keep the blood pumping for so much longer. As the Major League Soccer season approaches this weekend, the two teams will start the second leg of their fight for Los Angeles, and LAFC is poised to take the city. The MLS tried to recapture Latino fans in Los Angeles in the past with Chivas USA, an off-shoot of a Liga MX club, but that venture fell through. This time, however, LAFC made certain these fans weren’t missed. The club’s first signing was Carlos Vela, a Mexican national team star fondly referred to as “Carlito” by many Mexican fans. His acquisition was an incredible tactical move — he led the team in goals and assists last year despite missing a month of the season for the World Cup — and he also helped solidify Mexican fan support for the club. That momentum comes from the club’s mentality off the field, built off the motto that it was founded on — street by street, block by block, one by one. The club centered itself in this ideal before construction on its stadium began and, in the process, conquered the most important battle in winning dominance in the city — capturing Latino fans. The club’s outreach programs truly worked street by street to create a network of fans in the heart of Los Angeles. LAFC recognized everything that the Galaxy did wrong — it didn’t plant itself in a suburb rather than in the city and didn’t appeal to a white “family friendly” ideal rather than to the Latino community that dominates local soccer fandom. In the past year, I’ve seen enough of this club to know that it has legs. Something is different with LAFC. Its stadium has the hum of a championship team, the buzz of a storied club. The power that it holds among its fans is already greater and deeper than that held by the Galaxy, and if the club keeps winning, that momentum will only build. Banc of California Stadium is gleaming, especially when its facade catches the glow of a Los Angeles sunset. Yet it’s the energy within the bowl of the stadium that truly defines this club. Specifically, the north end of the stadium is a sheer wall of standing-room-only pandemonium. By kick-off, this section is filled with 3,252 fans with painted faces and flags that won’t stop waving until long after the final whistle. To watch an LAFC game is to experience a cacophony of black and gold. I’ve covered LAFC since its stadium was just a skeleton, since its roster consisted of three players. I was drenched in beer in the supporters section when Laurent Ciman scored the first-ever goal on the team’s home turf. I’ve seen fans outlast an hours-long rain delay, roaring chants and beating drums even when the thunder drowned them out. Julia Poe is a senior writing about her personal connection to sports. Her column, “Poe’s Perspective,” runs weekly on Thursdays. It’s hard to say what will happen if LAFC doesn’t keep winning, but one thing is for sure — this team hasn’t been around for long, but it’s certainly here to stay. The result has been a beautiful fan experience completely molded by a fanbase as colorful and vibrantly unique as Los Angeles itself. Fans wave the Korean, Vietnamese, Uruguayan and Mexican flags alongside the LAFC flags in the stands during games, and chants are sung in a mix of Spanish and English, with other fans quickly picking up the new language. LAFC is a celebration of this city’s rich history, its overlapping cultures and a common thread that brings them together — the game of soccer.  In truth, LAFC and the L.A. Galaxy didn’t finish last season that far apart. The Galaxy ended the season just below the red line, missing the playoffs, but there were only three games of difference between the two teams. Yet week in and week out, it felt as if LAFC had much more to work with, mainly because the club’s fans were so desperately, unyieldingly loud in their support.last_img read more

HBLB gives £3.2m boost to UK racing

first_img HBLB ups prize money commitment by 50% July 31, 2020 HBLB anticipates 40% drop in Levy reserves August 5, 2020 Submit Related Articles StumbleUpon On-course bookmakers return to UK courses in two-week trial August 17, 2020 Share Share The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has offered a £3.2 million boost to UK racing in the form of immediate and short-term funding.The Board has agreed to fund £1.46m of one-off costs incurred by racecourses which will be used to ‘meet regulatory standards and guidance for hosting fixtures in the current environment’.This will be limited to £75,000 per course, meaning that 34 of the 40 racecourses with costs to date will be funded in full.Paul Darling, HBLB Chairman commented: “The Board has acted once again in an agile way to consider and agree new proposals from Racing and we are pleased to be able to offer another £3.2m of support, now, when it is needed.“We will consider further requests at our next formal Board meeting in September. As always, these will be judged against the context of HBLB reserves and cash flow and how we optimise our support for the sport and industry.”HBLB also pointed out that there was further potential for other remaining racecourses to incur similar costs in the near future. The Levy Board stated that it was ‘mindful of this in making overall provision for that possibility’.In addition, £1.5 million will be directed towards PPE and face coverings used on race days which was agreed alongside the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).Meanwhile, HBLB has provided £259,000 in additional funding for the month of September to cover potential divided races. Similar funding for races taking place from October to December is due to be considered at the Board’s next meeting in September.last_img read more