The Soccer Desk

Loud and Proud: Following the USWNT

Leroux

Loud and proud. That is the best way to describe the group of around 70 US supporters that traveled to Toronto to support their country and team. Organized by the USWNT Supporters group, the Back 4 Patrioteers, the invasion of Toronto officially began on Saturday when the group had their first get together ahead of the highly anticipated match between the USWNT and the CanWNT.

On Saturday the supporters gathered at the Fox and Fiddle in downtown Toronto, ON to reminisce previous matches played by the USWNT, including the Olympic semi-final match against Canada from the 2012 Olympics. This was a chance for the supporters to come together and meet new people or even see some old friends. Whatever the case was, good times were to be had by all.

The day of the match, the Back 4 Pats made their pre-game base of operations Shoeless Joe’s, which was a 15 minute walk to BMO Field. The supporters met there for good food, great friends, and a little time to support the US Men as they took on Germany, before eventually heading off to BMO Field to cheer on the US Women.  The laughs flowed freely, and so did the camaraderie. As a group of Canadian fans joined on the other side of the bar, the banter was friendly and cheerful. There was no bad blood to be found with the Back 4 Pats.

3 Amigos

The three founders of the Back 4 Patrioteer (from left: Gabby Rosas, Dana Crane and Lisa Zinza) enjoying pre-game at Shoeless Joe’s before the match between the USWNT and the CanWNT at BMO Field

When it was time to leave and march to BMO with the American flags waving and chants of “When the Yanks go marching in” echoing around the streets of Toronto, US pride was in full view. As they walked the streets headed towards their final destination, the USWNT team bus passed by, and the cheering grew louder. The US knew that they would not be alone that day. It was a moment that wasn’t planned, but was surely welcome.

Inside of BMO field, the supporters took to the stands to prepare to cheer on the US Women. American flags waving, signs and banners being put on display for the entire field to see, that Back 4 Pats were there to show their pride. The Canadian fans around the 70+ supporters group were welcoming and very friendly; they understood what it means to support your country. As the players made their way to the field for pre-game warmups, the cheers grew louder and louder.

Even though the Back 4 Pats were out numbered by Canadian fans, that was not going to stop them from cheering and chanting for the US. When the skies over Toronto opened up for a brief rain shower, they stood in the rain as the teams continued to practice. The weather was not going to deter them from the stands. When the rain stopped, and the seats began to fill up again, the US supporters were still firmly entrenched in their seats. All that they were waiting for now was the first kick of the game.

The Back 4 Pats waiting for the start of the match at BMO Field

The Back 4 Pats waiting for the start of the match at BMO Field

When the match began, there was a nervous energy that overtook BMO field, as both groups of fans were waiting for the opening goal of the game. As the action intensified on the field, the chants from the supporters grew as well. Every time Canadian keeper Erin McLeod would touch the ball, the Back 4 Pats would begin counting; 1.2.3 and the fans around the group enjoyed it with a laugh, saying, “Your counting wrong. Count 1 Canadian, 2 Canadian,” A special moment came in the 20th minute that saw the Back 4 Pats break out into song with “Happy Birthday,” directed at US Forward Abby Wambach, who celebrated her birthday on Sunday.

With no score in the first 45 minutes of play, the supporters would have to wait a little longer for the real celebrations to begin. As the teams came out for the second half with the US now defending the goal the Back 4 Pats were behind, the chants of “Barnie, Barnie, Barnie” rang out. When US forward Alex Morgan broke the deadlock in the 70th minute, the US fans were the loudest, and the proudest.

Just three minutes later, Morgan would send the US supporters into another frenzy, when she beat McLeod for a second time, in the exact same spot, for the 2-0 lead. When US forward Sydney Leroux entered the game in the 74th minute, chants of “Whose House? Leroux’s House” rang out from the US contingent. A very special surprise was waiting for Leroux when she entered the match. The Back 4 Pats unveiled their montage to the forward that featured her well known “goal face” from the 2012 Olympics, on a field of red and white, her face replacing the maple leaf in the Canadian flag.

Loud and Proud

Waving the Stars and Stripes proudly.

There is no lack of support for Leroux amongst US fans, least of all the Back 4 Pats. When Leroux put the game away in the third minute of stoppage time, the cheers that rang out from the US supporters were unmistakable; “Leroux, Leroux, Leroux is on FIRE,” they sang. As Canadian hearts broke once more, the Back 4 Pats gave recognition to a Canadian side that played their hearts out, but were unable to find an answer. In a standing ovation to the CanWNT as they made the walk around the field,  respect was shown, and respect was received in return.

When the USWNT came to give their thanks to the fans that made the journey to watch them play, the cheers grew louder and louder. The Back 4 Pats traveled from far and wide, the East Coast and the West Coast, to support the team that they love. Everyone comes from a different walk of life, but one thing that everyone has in common is that they support the US Women where ever they may go.

If you want to know what it is like to be a supporter of the US Women’s National team, look no further than the Back 4 Patrioteer. They travel far and wide to watch the team and game that brings them together as a family. What started out as people coming together with common interests, has turned into a traveling family that is growing all the time. When the Women’s World Cup in 2015 rolls around, you will be sure to see the Back 4 Patrioteer there supporting the USWNT, loud and proud.