They’re at every D.C. United home game and even away games cheering on the Black-and-Red. Supporter Groups are a huge factor in creating an electric and intimidating atmosphere at RFK stadium. The District Ultras, La Norte and Club Echa Panza are regular attendees of D.C. United Academy home matches. They come out to these games with banners, flags, drums and an upbeat attitude to cheer on the Academy teams.
“I’ve always thought it was important to support the team from the top to the bottom,” said D.C. United Supporter Dennis Ridgway. “Supporting United doesn’t just stop at the first team. If they pull on the United jersey, they have our full support.”
The D.C. United Academy is full of talented young players that are proud to wear the D.C. United badge while they play the game they love. Hearing the iconic D.C. United cheers as they play home games not only makes for an exciting experience, it gives them a taste of what’s to come. Several first team players such as Bill Hamid, Jalen Robinson, Michael Seaton, Collin Martin and Conor Shanosky are all products of the D.C. United Academy program. The Academy gives players the opportunity to someday play for the first team, but it also gives fans a chance see the future of the D.C. United program.
“It’s really special to our groups to see players like Collin [Martin], Michael [Seaton] and Conor [Shanosky] make it to the first team after watching them make their way through the Academy,” said Ridgway. “Even if a person isn’t a member of a Supporter Group and just a fan of soccer, they should come out to these Academy games. The level of play is amazing. If anyone saw the goal that Christophe Koffi scored at the U-16's game against Match Fit, they would completely agree.”
Every MLS team has an Academy Program. However, not every Academy program can boast that their first team Supporter Groups come out to their games. A regular 11 a.m. league game at Spingarn High School turns into something more when you hear “D.C. United” being chanted in the stands and see the Black-and-Red flags being waved in the air. To have the support from these groups gives the players a little extra push to show their talent and love for the D.C. United badge.
The District Ultras, La Norte and Club Echa Panza use Facebook to organize groups to attend Academy games. Everyone is invited to join and attend these free games that showcase D.C. United Academy players competing at the highest level of youth soccer in the country. The D.C. United Academy schedule can be found ONLINE.