Q: What do you mean by “Supporters”?

A: We, like many others, use the term “supporters” to refer to a certain kind of fan.  This fan does more than watch and enjoy the game; he or she actively participates in creating the game-day atmosphere by singing, chanting, and/or creating visual displays called “tifo.”  For example, the picture below shows a tifo created by Chicago Fire supporters and I.S.C. members Section 8 Chicago.

In the United States and Canada, supporters are usually part of an organized supporters’ group.  Some of these groups are small, just a small core of dedicated supporters of an amateur or college team.  Some have thousands of paid members and fill multiple sections of M.L.S. stadiums.  The I.S.C. represents them all.

Q: Why don’t I count as a “supporter?”  I support my team!

By calling ourselves “supporters,” we do not mean to imply that fans who aren’t part of a group don’t support their team or aren’t “real” fans.  Everyone who buys a ticket to, or watches a broadcast of, an American or Canadian soccer game is making a contribution to North American soccer, and we appreciate that.

The term “supporter” for a member of an organized supporters’ group is a convenient way of referring to a group of people with common goals and issues, and is not intended as an insult or a slight to any soccer fan.

Q: What does the I.S.C. stand for?

A: The I.S.C. Charter and Supporters’ Bill of Rights sets out our group’s core principles.  We are here to promote supporters’ culture and advocate for fair treatment of supporters, both at home and on the road.  We also serve as a resource for our members to share information about supporters’ issues.

Q: What is the ISC position on the use of smoke and flares at matches?

A: Properly used, smoke bombs and other pyrotechnics can safely contribute to the atmosphere of a soccer game.  Many of our members have worked with team management and local authorities to allow safe, legal smoke as part of their displays, and we support the use of any safe, legal pyrotechnics as part of our Charter.

Q: How do I join the ISC as an individual?

A: The ISC does not offer individual memberships; instead, our members are supporters’ groups from across the United States and Canada.  You can see a full list of our membership here.

Member groups may appoint up to two delegates, who are entitled to participate in private discussions and to vote on issues brought before the I.S.C. membership.

Q: What groups are eligible to join the ISC?

A: To join, you must be independent and run by supporters, rather than by a team’s front office.  You must support a team that plays its home games in the United States or Canada, or a team from another country that plays in a U.S. or Canadian league.

Beyond that, you must be supporters, using the definition above.  Because that can be hard to define, the final call on difficult cases will be made by the current membership.

Q: How can my group join the ISC?

A: To join the ISC, a supporters’ group must:

1. Ratify the ISC Charter and Supporters’ Bill of Rights through whatever internal processes you use to make decisions;

2. Appoint up to two delegates who will be entitled to vote on ISC matters; and

3. Fill out the application here.

Q: What does my group have to do as a member?  Are there dues?

A: The I.S.C. has no standing budget and acts entirely through its members.  There are no regular dues for I.S.C. membership.

The only payments you may be asked to provide by the I.S.C. are for expenses associated with meetings and other special events approved by a vote of the I.S.C. membership.  These expense assessments will be paid by the host or sponsoring supporters’ group, who may ask for reimbursements from some or all members if the other members approve this reimbursement in advance.  Members who refuse reimbursement will not be permitted to vote on I.S.C. business.

The only other requirement of I.S.C. members is that they abide by the I.S.C. Charter, which prohibits racism and bias in all forms.  The I.S.C. cannot force its members to act or control their behavior.  Our goal is to represent all teams and supporters.