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Forever United: The Positive Impact of Supporters' Groups

It's time to look at the good things fans bring to the table.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Soccer is more than a game.

While that line may be a cliché, it is certainly the truth for the supporters’ groups who stand and sing in all kinds of weather to support their clubs. To these loyal fans, soccer is much more than a game.

Hooligans masquerading as supporters often make the headlines and have given some groups an undeserved reputation, but there are commendable deeds done by true fans. A recent example of this comes from just a few days ago. The three bombs that were detonated near the Borussia Dortmund team bus ahead of their UEFA Champions’ League match in Germany on Tuesday night (the bombing has been determined not to be an action of supporters) caused the match to be postponed until Wednesday. It was the visiting Monaco fans, not the Dortmund fans, who were most affected by the postponed match. Left without a place to stay for an extra night in Germany, they were faced with flying back to France without attending the game. In a gracious gesture, the BVB fans opened their homes to their visiting rivals. Fans of two clubs that would battle on the pitch a day later shared a living space for a night. Monaco fans in turn showed support for their opposition by chanting in support of Borussia Dortmund.

On the home front, the Dark Clouds set a gold standard for doing good deeds with their community outreach program known as the Dark Clouds Silver Lining. The group coordinates a charity card program that supports local charities, paints local fields for youth soccer games, regularly volunteers with Feed My Starving Children, and leads a service trip to Haiti.

The Dark Clouds aren’t the only supporters’ group in town that is positively impacting their community. The Citizens, who are fans of NPSL North team Minneapolis City SC, may be supporters of a minor league team, but they aim to serve at a major league level. Their outreach organization, known as Model Citizens, will be volunteering at Sheridan Story, a program to fight childhood hunger in Minnesota.

Each supporters’ group chooses their own philosophy. Some choose to express their fandom in lighthearted fun, while others prefer in-your-face intensity. Regardless of how they support their clubs, fans find ways to unite with their rivals when it counts and contribute hours of public service. These actions prove that soccer is so much more than a game—it is a global community.

If you'd like to volunteer with the Dark Clouds, their service opportunities can be found here or by following @DC_SilverLining. Model Citizens events are announced by the group's Twitter, @MPLScitizens. We also highly encourage anyone who is interested to reach out to The Dark Clouds or True North Elite on the many, many great things that they do for the area and the world.