Representatives from San Antonio FC’s supporters groups Crocketteers and 210 Alliance attended the Independent Supporters Council (ISC) Conference in Portland, Oregon, January 21-22, hosted by the Rose City Riveters. The ISC Conference was attended by more than 100 members of independent supporters from across the United States and Canada. San Antonio was represented by James Hope and Jenica Urrutia from the Crocketteers along with Stuart and Amanda from the 210 Alliance. The Crocketters also support women’s soccer team the San Antonio Athenians of the UWS.
The Independent Supporters Council (ISC) was formed in 2009, and its mission is to promote supporters’ culture and advocate fair treatment of of supporters both home and on the road. With over 100 supporter group members from US and Canada from MLS, NWSL, USL, NPSL and CPL; they serve as a resource for to share information about supporters’ issues.
Link to the ISC: https://www.officialisc.com/
Jenica Urrutia, Vice President of The Crocketteers shared her experience of attending the ISC Conference in Portland, Oregon. Jenica has been a member of the Crocketters since 2017 and been a season ticket member for San Antonio FC since their inaugural season. Prior to SAFC, Jenica was a fan of the San Antonio Scorpions and attended matches.
“I’d come to tailgates off and on before games and realized how much work goes into putting them together. A year’s membership costs less than a night out, so it seemed like a good value to join.” – Jenica Urrutia
What was the event you attended in Portland? How many were in your group from the Crocketteers?
James Hope and I represented the Crocketteers at the Independent Supporters Council (ISC) Conference in Portland, Oregon, January 21-22, hosted by the Rose City Riveters. Stuart and Amanda from 210 Alliance were also representing San Antonio soccer in Portland. The first day we had the option of breakout sessions led by other supporter groups. We also had a breakout session with the other USL supporter groups and Lizzie Seedhouse, USL Senior Vice President of Strategy and Engagement. The second day after the business meeting, we had speakers from FARE and the Western States Center and ended the conference with a live taping of the Burn It All Down Podcast.
What was the overall experience like at the conference?
The conference was energizing. For me, it was exciting to see so many female leaders representing their supporter groups. It was informative to see what other supporter groups are doing, both in USL Championship league and in other leagues. We got a lot of ideas of what we can begin doing or do better, but we were also able to share about our experiences and get affirmation of what we do well in San Antonio. We were able to spend time with members of The Curse from New Mexico and swap ideas. While we always want to beat their team on the pitch, supporting each other in growing soccer supporter culture benefits everyone. We invited the other Texas supporter groups who were there out for lunch the first day of the conference: 210 Alliance, Dallas Beer Guardians, and Austin Anthem—the last two wouldn’t have spoken together before, but by the last night of the conference, they ended up closing a karaoke joint together! Texas has something special going on with Copa Tejas, which is elevating Texas as a soccer state. We hope that representatives from other Texas supporter groups make it out next year!
What did you learn from other supporters groups?
We got a lot of practical feedback about doing large-scale, hung tifo. They cost quite a bit for less than a minute of shine time, but we also got some ideas for fundraising. We hope to do at least one this year. We attended some sessions on building relationships with the front office, away travel, and working with multiple supporters groups. We also learned that some supporter groups charge their members $10 or $20 a person—per tailgate! Crocketteers have been really fortunate to be able to host free tailgates since the beginning and plan to keep it that way.
How was the experience like visiting the warehouse where the tifos are created for the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns?
The night before the conference began, 107IST hosted a meet and greet at their warehouse, just a few minutes walk from Providence Park, where both Portland Thorns FC and Portland Timbers play. 107IST is an independent supporters trust, composed of members of Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters. The 107IST Warehouse is a testament to the amount of volunteer work that goes into a robust supporters group. They are lucky to have a huge space to create amazing tifo right next to Providence Park. We got there early enough to get pictures before the space filled up. It was exciting to see what can be accomplished when people are willing to pool together whatever resources they can—whether it’s time, funds, or expertise—into a project they love.
Were there some things you learned to enhance or improve the supporter group experience for SAFC fans.
There was a lot of focus on working among supporter groups because at the end of the day, we should all have the same goal—to promote our team and make an incredible experience for everyone who shows up. If that is your goal and the value that leads you, then everything else will follow.
How long have the Crocketteers been around, what do they do to support SAFC and for the fans.
The Crocketteers were officially founded March 6, 2009 by Michael Macias with the goal of supporting professional soccer in San Antonio, even though at the time we did not have a professional team. The Crocketteers support soccer by hosting tailgates and watch parties, traveling to matches, promoting games through our social media channels, and most importantly, attending matches and helping create that game day environment.
For those who are interested, how does someone become a member of the Crocketteers?
Anyone can join or renew today from home by going to crocketteers.com. Or, you can become a member of the Crocketteers by showing up to any tailgate or watch party and signing up on site.
Membership is only $25 a year—which is a great deal for 17 regular season home match tailgates, plus pre and post season, and watch parties. Our tailgates are always free and open to all San Antonio FC fans. We also support the San Antonio Athenians SC, and look forward to getting their schedule soon.
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