There is a significance behind when, where and why you picked up your scarf. To each person, the story is different.
Minnesota United season ticket holder Eric Ziegler’s story began with a contest to find the Forever United scarves which popped up all over the Twin Cities area in anticipation of the 2017 Inaugural Season. Ziegler had to have one.
“I was up early on Sunday and saw that the kit and scarves were at Mears Park in St. Paul, so I jumped in my car, and with my heart pounding, I hoped I would get there in time for a scarf and maybe even the new kit,” reminisced Ziegler. “I was not there in time for the kit, but I did get a scarf. Since that time, I have worn that scarf on my adventures around the country. I have worn it to Seattle, Lake Huron, the Big House at the University of Michigan, and the Fargo Moorhead area. This spring, my wife Julie and I are going to follow the team to Charleston for the Loons’ game against the Columbus Crew. I plan to wear it on that adventure as well.”
Scarves forge attachment to moments in that way, but also through the significance of the design on the weave. Last year there was the Minnesota United Pride scarf, showing the team’s support for the LGBTQ community at the Pride Match against Orlando City.
Prior to the 2017 season, analyst Grant Wahl had a dim view of the Loons’ prospects, writing for Sports Illustrated that the team’s over/under for the season was five. When MNUFC defeated D.C. United 4-0 for the team’s sixth win of the season, the Dark Clouds were ready with a special commemorative scarf that read, “You Know Nothing Grant Wahl.”
Mike DeLong of the Dark Clouds has experienced the electricity in the stadium both from inside the Supporters Section and in the front row at the opposite end of the pitch.
“I love the scarves. It’s hard to pick a favorite one. Sitting in my section, 151, means I am looking directly across at the Supporters Section. As a Dark Cloud, I love holding my scarf up, and spinning it around on corners to get that side of the stadium jacked up,” DeLong said, painting the picture. “My goal is to bring some Dark Cloud vibes to the other side of the field.”
Not every story about a scarf from a Minnesota United fan is even about MNUFC. For Minnesota United season ticket holder Blake Rondeau, his “In Rafa We Trust” Newcastle scarf, which was given to him by a friend, holds a message that sticks with him.
“It has a big picture of Rafa Benitez’s face on it,” said Rondeau. “I got to wear it there when I travelled back, so it has gone back and forth across the ocean a couple of times. What stands out for me is that this scarf was made by those faithful to their manager, and wanted to show him that he was loved and people wanted him to stay. They made these scarves, and everyone held them up, along with banners, pleaded with Rafa to stay, and he did.”
The traditions that people latch on to when it comes to their team accrue weight over time, whether it’s wearing their favorite scarf or just sticking by a club or even a sport when no one else seemed to care. When the Loons announced they would be joining MLS, it was one of the best moments of season ticket holder Kevin Hill’s life.
“Growing up, my brother and I were always teased because we liked soccer,” said Hill. “It’s been 33 years of loving something that ‘didn’t matter.’ That MLS announcement was like childhood fantasies coming true. It gave me goosebumps and tears, and still does. Soccer is here. It is now. And it is relevant. My children will grow up listening to, watching and singing for a soccer team in their home town, in their own stadium, on a global stage. That is huge.”
While a scarf signifies something meaningful to each individual, together, it signifies the team. It’s the inclusion of everyone, wrapped in their scarves, rooting for the squad on the pitch, in one stadium. It’s the constant energy in the stands, with everyone stomping and singing with their scarves up.