Each year the first City match I attend tends to build on all the emotions of the previous years. I’m thankful the long offseason is over and I’ll be back in the stands, singing and cheering again. I’m grateful that the club is still here, as we’ve seen other NPSL clubs fold and new ones spring up. I’m happy I get to share the new season with the friends who are still with me from that first game in 2012 when we didn’t know any better and wore US Soccer gear.
I woke up early today and walked my dog in the bleak predawn rain thinking today would be another freezing, miserably cold preseason affair. I remembered a particularly cold game in Berkley where I loaned my socks to my wife (whose feet were freezing). Today, I laid out a rouge City sweatshirt and jacket and went back to bed. Waking up to the brilliant blue sky felt like a preseason miracle and I headed north in shorts.
Braddock Field stands at Saginaw Valley has to be one of the smallest I’ve visited while supporting City, and I climbed to the closest back row I’ve probably ever stood in. To my left stood a man with a DCFC Brighton flag and to my right were some kids in rouge pants soaking up the atmosphere. A woman with a cane Tetrised just as hard as anyone next to me. We got splashed by the water in Mama Cass’s scarf, which we were glad to learn wasn’t sweat. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say I’m happy to be back in the stands.
The play on the field quickly reminded me why I love roving across the state for Le Rouge. The passion from Captain David Edwardson was quickly evident as both teams got into a typically chippy NPSL-style match. Our outrage was calmed by Jeff Adkins’ penalty and another Tommy Catalano goal helped soothe the sting of the Cardinals’ penalty kick. The team played passionately for a preseason match, with hard tackles on defense and strong runs on offense. To their credit, the Cardinals made some good runs and gave our defense a good test. If City keeps up the form they showed today, I am certain we’re all in for another entertaining season!