Written by Robert Kerr, Staff Writer
There’s a famous saying: “Football without supporters is nothing.” As a supporter-owned club, Oakland County FC believes in that mantra more than anyone. Fans and supporters are the bedrock of any team – the big reason why the club opened up the Supporters’ Trust to begin with. The support OCFC has received during the first half of the 2018 has been remarkable. The team has seen attendances of more than 500 come out to Clawson Stadium and have a goal of breaking the club record of 707 attendees this Friday, June 29. As the club attempts to break that attendance record, I’ve spoken with a few fans to see what has them filing into the stadium.
If you make your way to an Oakland County FC game, you may meet the Mena family: Javier, Gretchen, and their three children have been big fans of the Purple and White since the club’s genesis. Back then, Oakland County Football Club had a different name, and played in a different location, but the Mena family has followed the team through each step of the club’s journey.
“We heard about OCFC, for the first time, from Kevin Gill – at that time part of the roster of OCFC. We decided to go check out the next home match at Stoney Creek High School. We enjoyed the family atmosphere, the excellent soccer, and the fact that the kids could go talk to, and get autographs from, the players at the end of match. The players were all friendly and engaging with the fans, which made it that much more exciting. Additionally, OCFC offered a clinic for young players and our son, who was then a seven-year-old, attended the clinic. That’s when we realized what a truly great group of young men the OCFC players were. From then on we decided to follow the team.”
When asked about what the most enjoyable parts of joining the OCFC Supporters’ Trust had been, they said,
“Sweet scarves and cool Trust Member cards [for a start]. Getting to meet the other fans and becoming a soccer family with them! Learning more about where owners Ben, Theo, and Nick want to take OCFC in the coming years, and hearing their passion and strategy for growing the club [has been good]. Also, we own a football club. How cool is that?!”
Oakland County FC’s move to Clawson has aided in the creation of local community around the club. Supporters’ Trust members Jason and Brett, who have been spotted at every club event in 2018, are in fact new to the team. The pair of friends from Royal Oak share a common sentiment about the first half of the 2018 season,
“We used to go down to the games in Detroit, but being able to stay in our area, and enjoy soccer locally, has been really great” the pair said while socializing at OCFC’s recent away game.
Rooting for a team in your own neighborhood is a strong draw, and seems to be a growing opinion. Oakland County FC’s move to the ‘Little City With a Big Heart’ has thus far been mutually beneficial. The team’s new home has brought our friends and neighbors out, and has made them fans. One such neighbor is the Zielinski family. Brandi, mother of three, says,
“I heard about the team last year, when they played in Royal Oak, but now I love having OCFC in the neighborhood! The thought of walking down to watch a soccer game in our neighborhood, in a family friendly environment, is wonderful. My kids ask when the next home game is, love meeting the players after the game, and of course the face painting is a bonus!”
Some of our favorite shots from this past weekend. View full gallery: https://t.co/ilCfglpPum.
— Oakland County FC (@OaklandCountyFC) June 5, 2018
Mary Sheridan, another Clawson neighbor, who has come out to two games thus far is considering joining the OCFC Supporters’ Trust next year.
“I heard about the team through community boards, the newspaper, and on Facebook. I love being able to walk to the games. To have a team like this in the neighborhood is so great. I don’t have to worry about parking, it is also fun to support the ‘home team’. The game day entertainment is great, I think it’s pretty cool that in addition to the game, we have the bounce house and face painter for kids, the giveaways, and the concession stand. Overall I think it’s a really good value for your $8-$10 ticket!”
The heart of the club beats with the very supporters and fans that embrace them. We realize this and are doing our part in being that ‘team for the people’. With continuous years of support and growth, it’s only a matter of time before we become a household name throughout the United States. – Nick Morana, Co-Owner