My attempt to blend in with the locals. Photo courtesy of Dan Mick
If you read my recent blog post about the Dark Clouds supporters group not taking themselves too seriously (what do you mean you didn’t read it!?!? — here’s the link) then The Citizens — the supporters group of Minneapolis City SC — take it to a whole ‘nother level.
Actually, it’s the club itself that falls into that category, too.
Between producing undefeated shirts after being disqualified from the U.S. Open Cup, the endless supply of grumpy cat memes, and celebratory tweets for having the worst logo of 2016, Mpls City is almost like one big inside joke.
I say that with a caveat because the fourth-division side is surprisingly more than just a meme factory (gasp!). Somewhere between the self-deprecating tweets and the identity crisis — I’m still not sure if they are the “Crows” or “Grumpy Cats” — Mpls City fills a hole in the Minnesota soccer scene that opened up when Minnesota United FC joined the ranks of Major League Soccer.
Mpls City offers soccer fans in the Twin Cities a return to the good ‘ol days of minor league soccer: a small, intimate setting; freedom to light smoke bombs; the ability for fans to sing, chant, and heckle as they please; cheap tickets; and unrivaled access to players and staff. Supporters can even buy memberships in the club.
And, get this, the fans don’t need to have banners pre-approved by MLS like at Minnesota United FC games!
It’s an atmosphere that isn’t scalable to the upper echelons of the game, but I’m glad exists at the lower levels.
Much like the Dark Clouds, The Citizens are hilarious. It starts before the game as the seemingly close-knit group of friends march from the bar to the stadium where such gems as “Oh I want to be in that murder, when the crows go flocking in…” are sung.
@mplscitysc And then the supporters start making “caw” noises like crows 😂
— The Soccer Tour (@TheSoccerTour) May 20, 2017
The chants all seem to involve cats or crows. Among my favorites:
“Here City, City, City”
“Let’s go Grumpy Cats” to the tune of Tom Jones’ What’s New Pussycat
“We are black, we are pink, we are smarter than you think! Go crows!”
And a soccer-themed rendition of the Meow Mix commercial
On the pitch, the quality of play wasn’t bad either. Sure, it’s not MLS, but the hard-contested match with Duluth FC featured more than its fair share of action and drama. The visitors capitalized on a man advantage to score a last-gasp equalizer in a 1-1 draw.
The roster features local players including Brian Kallman, a 10-year veteran of the Minnesota professional soccer scene, and Martin Browne, who was called up to the Liberia national team. A number of promising young players are also on the books as the club switched to the NPSL for the 2017 season.
Best & most unexpected msg ever to arrive at #MplsCity Intergalactic World Headquarters.
— Minneapolis City SC (@mplscitysc) March 13, 2017
After the match, players, supporters and staff all return to the bar for drinks and pizza. And, as was the case on Saturday night, a live death metal band.
So if you live in Minneapolis and long for a return to the days of a Thunder/Stars/United game at NSC Stadium, or, if you just hope to be part of an inside joke one day, look no further than Mpls City.
Not that Grumpy Cat will care.