‘Finally everything coming together’: Fans revel in San Antonio FC’s first USL Championship – San Antonio Report

When Vance Flores’ child began playing soccer at the Mays YMCA five years ago, he and his family met friends with whom they shared the love of soccer. 

The group occupied an entire row within a section at Toyota Field on Sunday night and cheered on San Antonio FC during what became its first USL Championship title win against Louisville City FC. 

San Antonio advanced to the Championship Final after a 2-0 victory Nov. 6 against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC before a sold-out crowd of 8,245 fans at Toyota Field. 

The cold weather didn’t stop Sunday’s crowd — also sold out — from cheering on the home team. 

Fans wore red and black San Antonio FC merch such as beanies, scarves and t-shirts. Excitement ran high as groups of family and friends jumped up and down as they swirled black T-shirts in the air and whistled and cheered. That same explosive energy carried on through the end of the game, as San Antonio FC became league champions for the first time in team history.

Young fans pose for a portrait revealing the letters of the San Antonio FC written on their bellies.
Young fans pose for a portrait revealing the acronym of the San Antonio FC written on their bellies. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

Flores, a recent fan and now a coach at the Y, sat rows behind the home goal at Sunday’s game with his three buddies, their partners and their eight children. The group has attended each San Antonio playoff game during the postseason — for the excitement and energy.

“This is our first year to come here [and] we actually bought season tickets [for] next year since we’re really involved with it,” Flores said. “We really enjoyed it.”

Flores joined several other San Antonio FC fans who said the best parts of attending the games were the fan camaraderie, the experience and to see great soccer. 

“Two goals in, we’re 69 minutes in, it can’t get better,” Flores said. “We’ve dominated for all 70 minutes up to this point. For them [the kids] to see the playoff atmosphere is great.”

Louisville City FC plays San Antonio FC during the first half of the USL Championship Playoffs Final soccer match on Sunday.
San Antonio FC forward Santiago Patiño goes for the ball against the Louisville City FC during the first half of the USL Championship Final soccer match on Sunday at Toyota Field. Patiño, who scored two of the team’s three goals Sunday, was awarded MVP. Credit: Darren Abate for the San Antonio Report

San Antonio FC playoff games have gotten “really big,” said Will Medrano-Gutshall, a season ticket holder for several years, referring to the number of fans the team has gained recently. 

“Especially this year,” said Medrano-Gutshall.

“If they get this championship,” he said before the game was over, “hopefully we’ll get even more season tickets next year and it’s just going to build soccer here.”

Medrano-Gutshall, who attended the season playoff game with his wife and her friends, described the best part of the game up to that point.

“The close interaction [goalkeeper Jordan Farr] had with [defender] Mitchell Taintor over there, where he came out and he got Taintor to pull off at the last second and he snatched the ball to get it out of position where Mitchell Taintor had the striker on his tail. They were able to communicate really quickly so Jordan could clear the ball,” Medrano-Gutshall said. 

“This is finally everything coming together,” Medrano-Gutshall said. “This is all they’re building for the last few years and all their hard work and getting all the pieces together.”

Dustin Mitchell and Aidan Luxford show their support for San Antonio FC goalie Jordan Farr while watching the San Antonio FC play against Louisville FC during the 2022 USL Championship final at Toyota Field Sunday.
Dustin Mitchell and Aidan Luxford show their support for San Antonio FC goalkeeper Jordan Farr while watching the San Antonio FC play against Louisville FC during Sunday’s 2022 USL Championship Final at Toyota Field. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

Jarrod Butcher, a Media Valley Soccer Club coach, said he enjoyed watching the team’s steady progress during the season. Along with other coaching friends, Butcher attended about five playoff games this season and has been a fan since he and his family moved to San Antonio six years ago. 

“Because I’m doing a lot more coaching and having my kids play, I’m interested in bringing them more frequently,” Butcher said. “We’ve talked a lot about defense and counterattack. And this team is solid on defense, and my son plays goalkeeper, so we’re big fans so far.”

During the 2022 season, San Antonio FC gained traction as it became the first team in the league to clinch a spot in the playoffs after losses by rival clubs in the Western Conference. 

“It definitely inspires them,” Butcher said about his children. He predicted San Antonio would take the championship trophy home with a 2-0 score, but the final score ended up 3-1. 

Original News Source Link