Each Tuesday Nasl.com we will be doing a feature on supporters groups.
Today we feature are Flight 19 and the Miami Ultras, the supporters groups of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Founded in 2008, the Miami Ultras claim to be South Florida’s Premiere Supporters Club. Their mission, according to President Ed Serrano, is to “support all soccer in South Florida, including the Fort Lauderdale Strikers while at the same time working towards bringing [Major League Soccer] back to our area.”
Serrano, affectionately known as “Uncle Ed,” along with Ultras founder Pieter Brown, host Ultras Alive (every Monday at 9PM www.ultrasalive.com), the first live English speaking soccer Internet Radio Show in South Florida. The show is recognized nationally and has had such guests as Strikers’ legend Ray Hudson, MLS Vice President Dan Courtemanche, and NASL Commissioners David Downs and Bill Peterson.
“We'll take any person who loves soccer as long as they are tolerant and open minded,” says Uncle Ed. “We try to bring them all together and convert them. We want the best soccer in the world right here in South Florida and we want that to be the Strikers.”
“We don't want second best and we'll continue to push that,” continues Ed, whose group had 103 paid members in 2012. “When people think of South Florida soccer they think of The Ultras.”
The Ultras can be found in full voice at each Fort Lauderdale Strikers home game.
For more information on the Ultras visit http://miamiultras.com/
Unlike the Ultras, Flight 19 supports the Fort Lauderdale Strikers exclusively. Their mission is to rally passionate support in the community for their beloved team.
“The biggest difference between the two groups in my opinion is Flight 19's 100% focus on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers,” said F19 President Zach Reese.“The Ultras remain a group devoted to supporting all soccer in the South Florida area.”
Founded in 2010 before the Strikers return in the 2011 NASL season, the group is named in honor of the flight of 5 TBM Avenger torpedo bombers that took off from Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale in December of 1945 and disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.
It is their devotion to the Strikers that is evident in their tifo displays. The group is known league-wide for their creative, large-scale, and often humorous banners. You can check them out here: http://www.flight-19.com/tifo/
“Our group stands apart from all others in the NASL through our unparalleled tifo displays and our unbelievable tailgate parties,” says Reese. “We set the bar high in that regard and we plan on keeping it there.”
It is those unbelievable tailgate parties that have spawned their own talk show. Like Ultras Alive, members of Flight 19 created The Tailgate Show (every Thursday at 7PM http://www.thetailgateshow.us), hosted by F19ers Chris Marazzo, Paul Mordente, and Justin Yarborough.
Like the Ultras, Flight 19 would enthusiastically welcome the return of MLS to South Florida, but only if that return is under the Fort Lauderdale Strikers banner. Flight 19 is fully committed to the Strikers, regardless of what level they play, and see that commitment and support as the path to one day seeing Fort Lauderdale return to North America's top flight.
“No matter what league they are in or who the players are, we'll stand behind them all the way,” says Reese. “We feel a team with as much history and tradition as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers deserves no less.”
For more information on Flight 19 visit http://www.flight-19.com/
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