In a Kansas City summer when it seems like the sun is literally scorching down on you, a little bit of sunshine is maybe not what you are looking for. However, when things seem bleak and there doesn’t seem to be any positivity to be found then a little bit of sunshine can be just the thing you need.
In a rollercoaster soccer season that has had really high highs and very low lows the feelings of fans have been up and down. Recently it seems that the Twittersphere is full of negativity. It seems that some fans have forgotten that the players are humans that happen to be good at kicking a ball. They will spout negative tweets to and about players as if there was no way the player would see it. Hateful, mean tweets.
One small group of Sporting Kansas City fans is trying to do what they can to change that. A group casually known as The Sunshine Squad has joined together to try to do something on a regular basis to help the team and the fans see things in a positive light.
The group began back in May when the team had been going through a really difficult run. The unofficial leader of the group, LeAnn, helped lead and put together a breakfast rally at Pinnacle Training Center. The group arrived with coffee, donuts and posters to let the players know that these fans had their back no matter how the results were going. LeAnn says that her “greatest desire was that our guys see that we don’t feel like they owe us winning seasons. We wanted them to feel more like all of us are in this together”.
As the weeks went on and the results and standings in the table continued to be in a rut the group began their next big mission. A hype video. A call was put out on Twitter and the group rallied again. They got a script together, got their piece to record, found a place (even on a cruise ship) and recorded a little snippet. Michelle, another member of the group, edited and spliced together the clips and sent it out into the world via Twitter. It got some likes and a few retweets and some feedback good and bad.
It’s gameday, @SportingKC - and we have something to say!— Michelle Sprenger (@SabresAndSoccer) July 6, 2019
(Thanks for the awesome script, @prairiegirl0028 and thanks to everyone who participated to make it work.) #ForGloryForCity #NoOtherClub pic.twitter.com/tYxxJhvtXn
The thing was that this group was forming relationships, bonding over their love of the team. Some of the group are long-time Kansas City people that have loved this team from the beginning.
Some, like Elizabeth Cribbs and her husband, had lived in Kansas City, moved away and then came back and visited from Chicago in 2014 to celebrate the life of a loved one that had passed. That match, sitting in the Cauldron changed her life. “It was so fun, so full of life...people yelled and cheered. Neither my husband nor I could believe how insane or how fun it was.” They later moved back to KC and are now season ticket members.
Another member of The Sunshine Squad, Alyssa Zimmerman who met her husband via Sporting Twitter, feels that the group is just a small microcosm of the Sporting fanbase as a whole. She says that some days are good and some are bad, “but at the end of it all, being a Sporting KC fan means we’re family”.
A family has squabbles sometimes, sometimes they disagree and point fingers and place blame on others. Sometimes everything is rosy and life seems perfect. This group of fans has come together to say that no matter what is happening with results, this “family” will rally and support the public face of the family….the team. LeAnn states the team really does feel like family. “As I’ve started to follow the team more closely, I have stopped seeing them as just soccer players and I watch them as people instead. I feel like a soccer mom going to my kids’ games some weeks.”
Eiyher, another squad member feels the family vibes of the team. “Kansas City is a special place to be a fan of local teams, however, I have to say that the makeup of the fanbase of Sporting is different. It is a group of fans where anyone can feel included.” Anyone can be a part of the family.
This group continues to promote positivity, each match day they have begun a Twitter thread. Some days it is about favorite players or favorite Sporting moments, another time it was to post a picture of yourself in SKC gear out and about the city before the evening match. If you see the thread make sure to join in. Post something positive. Rally behind the team. Be a part of the family. This group didn’t set out to change the world, but maybe just maybe, one positive tweet at a time, they can!