Energy FC Fan Reactions

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Ariel Rogers
Erica Hostetter
Phil Robins
OKC head coach RB Bruce
Seth Barton
Yadira Sanders

Energy FC Fan Reactions

By Tim Farley

Three consecutive sellout crowds at OKC Energy FC games is a good indication local soccer fans are enjoying the first-year team, which is part of the United Soccer League Pro division.

Mid-America University soccer player Seth Barton and girlfriend Ariel Rogers were at their first game May 17 when the Energy lost to third-place Richmond, 4-1.

“We wanted to check the team out and see the atmosphere,” said Barton, who is a junior outside midfielder at Mid-America. “It’s a big deal. It’s going big time in Oklahoma City. It’s a must to come back.”

Rogers, meanwhile, said she likes the environment at Pribil Stadium, which also is the football and soccer field for Bishop McGuinness High School. Energy FC will play at the legendary Taft Stadium next season.

“It’s very nice here,” Rogers said. “I like the stadium and the field is beautiful. You also see all of these people walking around in green Energy t-shirts. It’s fun.”

Yadira Sanders was with her husband and children when she stopped to talk to ionOK. Sanders said she was at the May 17 game to support Energy backup goalkeeper Ray Clark, a Norman native, and one of two Oklahomans on the team.

“This team is really good for the city. Win or lose, we’re still going to come,” she said.

That’s a good attitude since Energy FC’s record dropped to 2-6 that night. The team won two of its first three games, but then lost five in a row.

Erica Hostetter, a college player at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, was with her mother at their first Energy FC game.

“It’s pretty cool and I can learn from the pros,” she said, with a smile. “Plus, it’ll bring money into the local economy.”

Season-ticket holder Phil Robins, a former U.S. Marine once stationed in Spain, became a soccer fan when he was overseas and saw the likes of European great Johan Cruyff play with the Barcelona team in the 1970s.

“Actually, I was a kid from Oklahoma who played baseball and football. Then, I saw the game played in all its beauty by guys like Cruyff. It’s not that brand of soccer here, but I’ll support it because ultimately I want to see the MLS (Major League Soccer) come here,” he said.

While he’s supportive of Energy FC, Robins said the team isn’t playing with the skill and determination needed to win.

“They’ve got heart and they’re playing hard,” he said. “They will lose pure soccer fans unless they bring in one really great player. But I’m an Oklahoma City boy so I’m sticking with them.”

Energy FC head coach Jimmy Nielsen and his team have to be thankful fans are still attending games despite losing three straight homes matches.

After the May 17 loss, Nielsen praised the Oklahoma City fans for sticking with the team during the losing streak.
“It’s killing me inside we can’t reward our fans for their tremendous support,” he said.

RB Bruce, a soccer fan for life, attended the first three home games as a way to help Energy FC gain a “foothold” in the community.

“The team resembles Oklahoma City. They might not be perfect but they won’t quit trying. They fight for 90 minutes. Plus, the bagpipes aren’t bad, either,” he said, with a smile.

After three home games, Energy FC had drawn 12,006 fans. Capacity of the newly renovated Pribil Stadium is 3,741.

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