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

O’Riordan signs for Sydney Swans

first_imgThe Templemore man was a regular on the Tipperary senior football team and he captained the Tipp Under 21 footballers to this years Munster football title before his move down under.Former Kerry footballer Tadhg Kennelly is the AFL’s international talent coordinator and organised the presence of the JK Brackens man at the AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne.Colin will return to Tipperary on Monday but will be signed to the Sydney Swans for two years.last_img

Hot dog-eating champion Joey Chestnut now holds the Big Mac world record

first_imgThree burgers from the end, Chestnut says that his throat is suffering while his stomach and tastebuds are fine. But even though he’s struggling, he makes it to the finish: 32 Big Macs in 38 minutes, 15 seconds. To celebrate, he lets out a huge belch.At the end of the video, the champ invites his fans to send him ideas for new food challenges.”Anything fun and something not too easy,” he says. “I like pushing myself. I like eating. I like going into a food coma afterwards.” On Thursday, Chestnut set his sights on a new challenge: breaking the Big Mac eating world record.The record was 30, so Chestnut ordered 32 Big Macs from an Indianapolis-area McDonald’s using UberEats. On McDonald’s own app, the order is limited to just 15 burgers, probably because one sandwich comes in at 540 calories. Chestnut noted in the video that the burgers totaled 15.36 pounds of food, 18,016 calories and $127.38 — plus tip.”I’m excited,” Chestnut says in the video. “This is like a dream of mine since I was a kid.”In the 13-minute video, Chestnut begins dripping with “meat sweats” after 5 1/2 minutes, on burger No. 7, but according to Chestnut, that’s pretty normal.He’s only on burger No. 11 after 10 minutes, the duration of most eating contests. His sweating has gotten worse, and by the 25th minute he admits that he’s running out of steam after 24 burgers.Chestnut, however, says his love of the burgers makes it easier to eat a lot of them in this type of setting. He’s amazed the Big Mac still tastes good even over halfway through the challenge.”It’s so much easier to eat food that you’re familiar with and that your body already knows,” he says. “Over decades I’ve eaten hundreds of Big Macs and I have an amazing tolerance for Big Macs.”Chestnut gives commentary throughout the video, including about how Big Macs remind him of his grandfather.”They would sell two Big Macs for $4, and me and my grandpa would get four of them. I’d end up eating three,” he says.As the video winds down, Chestnut compares it to the last couple miles of a marathon.”I’ve never run a marathon, probably never will,” he jokes. “But it must be nice knowing that you’re closing in on that goal, and right now I’m closing in on my goal of the 32 Big Macs.”Chestnut also talks about his routine, saying that the specific way he eats the burgers and stacks their boxes helps him focus and push himself. When hot dog king Joey Chestnut has a cheat day, he goes all out.The 36-year-old is the 12-time winner of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, held every Fourth of July on Coney Island. Last year he ate 71 hot dogs in 10 minutes — which is still three hot dogs short of his all-time record from 2018, when he ate 74.last_img read more