CHICAGO, IL (22 February, 2016) The Independent Supporters Council of North America converged on Chicago, Illinois for the annual Independent Supporters Conference. Leadership from virtually every supporters group in MLS and many from NASL and USL descended on Chicago with much to discuss. The conference has served supporters groups in the past as a way to transfer knowledge and network so that supporters groups in North America can grow and adjust to the ever changing landscape of supporting the burgeoning sport of soccer in a place where 25 years ago it was an afterthought.
The I.S.C. had much to discuss over the weekend. The I.S.C.’s major purpose is to promote supporters culture in North America and defend the rights of North American soccer supporters groups.
Highlights of the weekend include:
- The disturbing trend of many front offices demanding manifests of traveling supporters before being sold tickets to an away match seemingly forgetting the phrase, “innocent before proven guilty,” at their respective doorsteps.
- Heat protocols. Too often MLS has switched times of matches to fit the TV schedules and put supporters in withering heat that has caused medical issues for many supporters across North America.
- Leagues punishing entire supporters groups for the infractions of individuals.
- Tracking travel issues across leagues to determine clubs that have problems with security.
- Ongoing relationships with MLS, NASL and USL headquarters and how best to move forward.
As of 2015 the I.S.C. opted to elect officers. In 2016 this process was repeated. Jeremy Wright (Portland) was reelected as President, Fran Harrington (New England) reelected as Internal Communications Lead, Garrett Dittfurth reelected as External Communications Lead (Portland) and Levi Gibbon (Colorado) elected as Travel Lead.
In 2015 the I.S.C. also opted to issue their own internal awards.
Philanthropic Supporters Group of the Year: Triangle Soccer Supporters (Carolina) (Nominees: Crocketeers (San Antonio), Sons of Ben(Philidelphia), Gorilla FC (Seattle), Timbers Army (Portland).
Tifo of the year: C38 (Colorado) (Nominees: Everyone)
Front Office of the year: New York Red Bulls (Nominees: Everyone)
About: The Independent Supporters Council was founded in 2009 to advocate for the fair treatment of home and away supporters, promote supporters culture, and oppose both racism and bias inside stadiums in North America.