Welcome to America's Secret Gang

If baseball is America’s pastime, and American football is America’s game, then maybe soccer is America’s “secret gang", to borrow a phrase coined by KICKTV’s Ryan Bailey in Howler Magazine Issue 04.  

It was Super Bowl Sunday 2014 and I was at a party some friends were hosting.  Earlier in the day when I had gotten dressed, I briefly deliberated between a long-sleeved button up or a t-shirt.  I opted for the tee and grabbed my 1909 shirt, a minimalist homage to the tifo of Borussia Dortmund’s Yellow Wall by World Football Clothing. 

So there at the party, as the annual American footballing spectacular that is the Super Bowl kicked off, I grabbed a beer and started mingling with old friends.  A stranger approached me from across the room.  I had seen him once before, but didn’t know his name or his story. 

When began exchanging small talk.  A few exchanges into our conversation, he looked quizzically at my shirt.  Then he looked at me, and looked at my shirt again to make sure his eyes were seeing what he thought they were.  He asked me, “Do you know what that is?”  I said, “Yes, it’s a fan shirt of Dortmund’s Yellow Wall.”  Quite pleased, he replied, “That’s right!  Not many people around here would know that.” 

Then, to further prove his own fan credentials, he proceeded to lift his shirt sleeve to reveal a black and yellow tattoo of the BVB 09 crest.  Brilliant!  He was part of America’s secret gang of soccer fanatics, too.  We made an instant connection. 

My new friend explained to me how he was born in Berlin, Germany, and his family were season tickets holders of Borussia Dortmund.  Today he operates the only officially recognized Dortmund supporters club in our city.  Who knew?  And to think I would never have made this new connection had I not opted to wear a soccer t-shirt to, of all things, a celebration of American football. 

Welcome to the ever-growing secret gang of soccer fanatics in America!  Pull on the shirt and represent the beautiful game.  The secret is out.


If you have a 'secret gang' story, we would love to hear it in the comments below.

VIDEO: a time-lapse of the choreography of the Südtribüne.