On the cusp of the first match of Copa Tejas between El Paso Locomotive FC and Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, we wanted to hear from the supporters groups and obtain their perspectives. We reached out to the heads of some of the supporters groups and asked a few questions. Their answers are here.
8N: 8th Notch for El Paso Locomotive FC
ST: The Stampede for Rio Grande Valley FC Toros
CR: Crocketteers for San Antonio FC
Editor’s note: at deadline, the head of La Cinco 12 for Austin Bold FC was out of town.
- Who will win the first Copa Tejas?
- 8N: El Paso, of course! We never pick against our team!
- ST: RGV FC of course
- CR: SAFC
- Who is your team’s or your supporters group’s favorite rival to hate?
- 8N: As far as the Texas teams go, it has to be San Antonio. SAFC is an established club that has experienced success and is a club that we would like to see our club dethrone. However, each team shares commonalities that can make for intense rivalries – for example, Rio Grande Valley and El Paso are both on two different Texas borders
- ST: SAFC (the original Texas derby)
- CR: Diego Restrepo
- Who is your most respected player from an opposing team?
- 8N: There are plenty of consummate pros on the teams throughout Texas, but for me, Lance Laing is the name that is most respected. He’s played all over US Soccer and been nothing but a hard-working professional throughout his career, regardless of where he was.
- ST: Charlie Ward. He gave his all for the Toros, so we support him everywhere he goes–even when he was with SAFC.
- CR: Cyprian Hedrick
- Who is the player you hate to see your team play against? Which player will give your team the most trouble?
- 8N: Kléber seems like an absolute handful for Austin Bold and I’ll definitely hate to see our backline have to deal with a wily, veteran striker like him. Billy Forbes is getting international call-ups now and I think he’ll be a handful for the defense when we face SAFC. Definitely a dangerman!
- ST: That would probably be Billy Forbes. He is a great player who has always been hard to defend.
- CR: Tie between Diego Restrepo and Kris Tyrpak
- What do you envision in regards to awarding the cup at the end of the season? What will the presentation of the Cup look like?
- 8N: It would be great if the players raised up the cup together mid-field and celebrated with it. They could then bring it over to the supporters’ section to hand it over to them and everyone (both supporters and players) celebrate together.
- ST: I see a big celebration with orange and blue ribbons on the cup. The cup should be presented at the last home game of whichever team happens to win it and hopefully get shown by USL.
- CR: Mid field at Toyota Field in San Antonio. Full stadium. Fireworks and a ticker tape parade. That asking too much?
- What does the cup mean to you? Your supporters group? Your club?
- 8N: To be the best in Texas at the USL Championship level means everything to us! We Texans take pride in our state more than anyone. To have a chance at being the best in the state is a bragging right like no other! Any time there is a chance to play for a trophy it means so much more, especially to us as supporters – we want to chant louder, hit the drums harder, and do anything possible to help will our team to victory! Our club’s front office has really gotten behind Copa Tejas and were ecstatic when we announced it to them. They are really making an effort to help us promote it and make it the most coveted regional trophy in the USL Championship and beyond.
- ST: The Cup means a great deal to the Stampede, the Toros, and our community because it proves who the best team in Texas is. All the hard work that goes into a season from both the Club and it’s supporters would pay off at the end when we are hoisting the cup in the air!
- CR: Bragging rights for Texas. Still early but I think Texas pride.
- How has having your club impacted your community?
- 8N: In the short time that the club has been here, it has united soccer fans in the area. Whether its fans of clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool or fans of USA and Mexico, we have all come together to support our hometown club.
- ST: It has given our community a sense of pride knowing that we have a club representing us all over the nation. It showcases the great people that live in the Rio Grande Valley and our passion for futbol.
- CR: It is soccer local for us die hard soccer supporters.
- In the spirit of friendly rivalries: When opposing fans visit your tailgate, how will you show them your team’s pride?
- 8N: El Pasoans are very proud of our city and, despite being a new club, we take great pride in our team. For our first “tablegate” we had a full capacity bar with people chanting to drown out the music. Everyone, including the bar staff, was either wearing 8th Notch gear or Locomotive gear. The DJ pumped up the crowd for our march to stadium…the excitement in the air was palpable on matchday!
- ST: The latin beats will start going, the orange flags will start waving, the orange smoke will start filling the air and the Stampede will make sure they know what part of Texas they are in.
- CR: Flags, scarves, chants and hospitality.
- What kind of tailgate environment/food/game to win should opposing fans expect? Where is it located?
- 8N: Since the stadium that our club currently plays in is in downtown El Paso, there is no place to tailgate, so we “tablegate” at a bar. Our current pregame spot is Whiskey Blonde, which is on the corner of Anthony St. and San Antonio Ave. in downtown El Paso. Whiskey Blonde is within walking distance to the stadium, and opposing fans can expect a great matchday environment at a capacity-filled bar with fans chanting throughout the bar. Hot dogs and hamburgers are available for purchase as well; however, we are hoping to have food trucks for upcoming matches.
- ST: We set up several tents in the northeast corner of the parking lot. We try to make something different every tailgate from brisket, to tacos or just plain burgers and hotdogs. The environment at our tailgates are pretty relaxed with all fans welcomed to attend including fans from visiting teams. We have hosted people as far away as Germany. Of course the beer also flows freely at all of our tailgates.
- CR: Free food, beer and high fives. A little trash talk. Toyota field parking lot. Under the bridge.