The countdown for some started before last season ended. For others, it began after MLS Cup, the day of the SuperDraft, or when the schedule was announced.
We're now less than four weeks away from the opening match at FC Dallas on March 2. And, we're even closer to the 2013 home opener against Philadelphia on March 9.
When did you start looking forward to the 2013 season?
Get excited. It's coming up.
It might not be quite fair to appoint 2012 as the "Year of the Soccer Bar" in Denver, but it's definitely a year in which these establishments have stood out. And now there's word of another bar about to open.
In the downtown Denver area, soccer fans have been regulars at The British Bulldog, The Three Lions, and the Celtic Tavern, and other locations like Fado or GB's have also welcomed fans of the beautiful game.
The latest soccer bar, The Armoury (Arsenal fans will like the background of the name), is shooting to open in the ballpark neightborhood on New Years Eve at 2048 Larimer Street. There's also already talk that they, too, hope to one day bus fans to Rapids games at Dick's Sporting Goods Park as the other pubs did this past year.
The last time Rapids supporters groups Pid Army and Class VI interacted with the traveling supporters of the Portland Timbers - the Timbers Army - in Colorado, each were celebrating a 'first.'
It happened prior to the opening game of the 2011 season, when the Rapids fans were about to watch the MLS Cup winning side for the first time since the final, and the Timbers fans were about to watch their team make their MLS debut.
Now in their second season, we're not expecting the 500 or so Timbers fans that traveled last year, but the fans that are coming to Colorado will once again be hosted by the Pid Army and Class VI fans.
"As we had such a great time with them here and in Portland last year," said Pid Army chief Dave Cleland, "we will continue to prove that rival fans can get along great before and after the game but still be passionate about their respective teams inside the stadium."
The supporters of both teams will gather at the Celtic Tavern in downtown Denver Saturday and then take separate buses to Dick's Sporting Goods Park for the Rapids vs Timbers game (7 pm MT). The buses are expected to leave the bar at 4:30 pm, arriving at the stadium with plenty of time to tailgate.
Class VI and the Pid Army inform us that they will also be having their 3rd Annual Homebrew competition, cleverly called Pitch to Pint, during this tailgate. Fans of age will have a chance to sample Colorado-brewed beers and vote for a winner. All fans are welcome to join the 'No Fan Alone' tailgate, though $5 donations are happily appreciated to help pay for costs.
About 20-30 minutes after the game, the busses will return to the Celtic, where it's likely the festivities will continue. Often times, the Rapids Man of the Match also makes an appearance at this post-game party (as do some staff and other players).
Like soccer fans around the world, our offices have been buzzing in the mornings with the sounds of the EURO 2012 Championship on various TVs. Friday afternoon, shortly after England defeated Sweden 3-2, there was another round of excitement in the air when we learned that the Colorado Rapids were represented at that match.
Emily Kilcoyne, our Manager of Group Sales, received the photo above from Rapids season ticket holder Haim Lensky. From left to right: Mike, Vicky, and Haim hold up the Rapids' MLS Champion flag at Olympic Stadium in Kyiv (Ukraine), with the Sweden-England scarf above.
"It's been a great experience," Haim wrote via email. "We met people from all over Europe and we have loved being at every game screaming and cheering for the teams."
Haim is from Russia and won the ticket lottery last year to attend the tournament. The family is of course supporting Russia, but also England, Spain, and Ukraine. And if you're ready to be jealous, read on...
So far, they've attended the England-France (T 1-1), Netherlands-Germany (GER 2-1), and today's England-Sweden matches.
"The games have been crazy and the fans have definitely been dedicated to their respective teams" he wrote.
The Lensky's will also be attending: Sweden-France, and the Quarterfinal matches in Donetsk and Kiev, the Semifinal in Kiev, and the 2012 Final in Donetsk.
"We are definitely having fun," he concludes.
Glad to hear, and thanks for bringing a little bit of Colorado and the Rapids with you!
Tommy Newbold, 23, is a primary school teacher that lives in Kenilworth, a small town just outside of Coventry, which is north of London. Given his location, he is a Coventry City fan.
But Tom is also a Colorado Rapids fan and uses the twitter handle @MLS_Rapids_UK to communicated and interact with fellow burgundy-loving fans.
An active twitter user, on Tuesday Tom tweeted that his brother, a Chelsea season ticket holders, had gotten two tickets to the 2nd leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal between Chelsea and Barcelona. They flew to Spain in the morning and were at the Nou Camp to watch Chelsea eliminate the powerful Spanish side 3-2 on aggregate and advance to the Champions League final.
And, amidst the home Barcelona fans and traveling Chelsea supporters, Tom brought out the Colorado Rapids burgundy jersey!
— Colorado Rapids UK (@MLS_Rapids_UK) April 24, 2012
Tom has written a couple of articles on the Rapids for an MLS fan site across the pond called http://ukmajorleaguesoccer.com/.
Last month, he gave ColoradoRapidsFan.com a little more insight on how he became a Rapids fan, and the lengths he goes through to stay up on the team while in England. Give Tom a follow on twitter, and CLICK HERE FOR HIS STORY, IN HIS WORDS:
The Class VI supporters group has been hosting an online podcast for the past four years called, " Six Questions with Class VI." In the first installment of 2012, Craig de Aragon talks to defender Drew Moor about the first game, new teammates, and new season. Give yourself about 17-18 minutes to hear Drew talk to Craig by CLICKING HERE.
The Rapids Firstkick on Saturday, March 10 was a day to celebrate for many reasons, but for a pair of supporters, opening day will be one to remember for a lifetime. At about the 40th minute, Bulldog Supporters Group member Matt Walshe, 32, asked his girlfriend Stephanie Prochaska, 26 and also a BSG member, to marry him - in the middle of the Suporters Terrace bleachers. And what better way to propose then in true supporter fashion....
Matt had asked BSG merchandising and Tifo manager Matt Baumgartner to hold up a sign from the 'capo' podium that read “Stephanie Prochaska, will you marry that guy?” Baumgartner also had a cartoon hand pointing to Walshe, who knelt on one knee and presented Stephanie with the ring. After she agreed, Baumgartner switched the sign to one that said “She said yes!” - which set off chants among the BSG that included, “He went to Jared!” (even though he didn’t).
Walshe and Prochaska have been attending Rapids matches since 2010 when they had season tickets for the Championship season. Walshe chose the home opener Rapids match as the right time to pop the question, knowing how much his now fiancée loves soccer and the Rapids.
“She’s a big soccer fan," Walshe said told ColoradoRapids.com. "It was the home opener and we won, so it worked!”
One of the common conversations heard among the players after Friday's game was about seeing the Rapids colors in the stands at Aloha Stadium. It was a welcome surprise to the players, especially since these are preseason games being played so far away from Colorado.
We knew that Kosuke, Pablo, and Kohei had friends and family in the stands, and we also heard fans calling out players names from the stands both before and after the game. Unfortunately we didn't get to find out who these fans were.
But we did get to talk to eight Rapids season ticket holders that are here for the games. The photo above shows Brandi and Bruce Mahaffey, Pamela Houpts, and Art, Ana, and Joddy Shipley, who ended up moving over and sitting right behind the team bench.
I also met third-year season ticket Stephanie Adams, who timed her busines trip just right to catch Friday's game before flying back to Colorado that evening. And some of you may have followed the tweets from Richard Bamber, a member of the Bulldog Supporters Group that flew out and posted photos and videos on the Bulldogs twitter account (@BulldogSG).
Finally, we met this group (below) of fans from Hawaii that have taken the Colorado Rapids as their team, mostly because of their interaction via twitter with Drew Moor and Eddie Ababio. They brought signs for both players and got to meet them in person. They then helped keep fans in Colorado updated on the game by tweeting their thoughts from inside the stadium. On Friday they stopped by at the hotel and met and got autographs from a bunch of the players.
And finally, we also want to thank and recognize the fans that stayed up late throughout the country late Thursday / early Friday following our tweets.
It took a little while, but the 2011 year-end award winners finally received their trophies last night.
Wells Thompson - Humanitarian of the Year, Drew Moor - Defender of the Year, and Jeff Larentowicz - Golden Boot winner and Most Valuable Player, were given their awards at the Rookie Season Ticket Holder Orientation on Wednesday evening in the press level of Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The players then stuck around for an informal forum, displaying a more personal (and funny) side than fans may know from seeing them on the field.
Wells talked about getting married in the offseason, saying how his friend bluntly told him he couldn't believe he found a women that said yes...Jeff said he was ok with Kosuke wanting to be a Ginger Ninja, 'now there can be two of us.' And Drew showed the large gathering of fans why he's the Ironman by standing up from behind to let them see his 165-pound small frame, and also by flexing.
The players then also talked briefly about their seasons and their successes. Wells may have taken the spotlight, however, by telling a story of his rookie year, when some senior players put Icy Hot in his underwear and tshirts, and his reaction when he put them both on. But that wasn't it, he also told the fans about the chickens and ducks he raises, including one that looks like the Aflac duck.
The players enjoyed the night, and we hope all the first and second-year season tickets did also. We look forward to seeing everyone at the games all year!