By Ryan Romano
Center Copy Editor
Around the world, soccer spectators are known to get loud and rowdy as they cheer on their team. But University of Maryland fans take things to the next level.
When adversaries take the field against the Terps men’s soccer team, they can expect to face uniquely crafted chants, taunts and jeers from the Maryland student section. The group of untamed fans known as “the Crew” occupies the bleachers behind the goals at Ludwig Field. For all 90 minutes of each home contest, they torment the opposing goalie and give the Terps an edge.
Witnessing the atmosphere that the Crew creates can be “surreal,” in the words of senior communications major Cody Cervenka. Cervenka attended his first game earlier this year, and like many other members of the Crew, he hasn’t looked back since.
“Watching the crowd go wild whenever they score, and going at the goalie… I just love it,” Cervenka said.
Junior mechanical engineering major Evan Feinberg is a veteran of the Crew, and claims to have missed only two games in his three years at this university. From the center of the stands, he frequently leads chants, which he believes are what drives the Crew’s sustained passion.
“A lot of the chants that we do, there’s very specific rules and there’s very specifics traditions with where they come from,” he said. “There’s something about having those traditions… you feel like you’re part of something bigger.”
Perhaps the proudest Crew tradition occurs on goal kicks. As the goalie approaches the ball, fans let out a crescendoing, “Oooooh” chant; when he makes contact, the fans scream, “You suck!” followed by the goalie’s name.
According to sophomore criminal justice major Jordan Weber, the Crew strikes a balance between passivity and cruelty, and he enjoys the environment the fandom creates at games.
“We keep it family friendly, but at the same time, we’re pretty mean to the opposing goalie, and I feel like that’s something that’s important,” he said.
The Crew dates back to 2003, when coach Sasho Cirovski pushed for the installation of stands behind each goal at Ludwig. Cervenka credits Cirovski for cultivating enthusiasm among the student fan base.
“[Cirovski] loves it,” Cervenka said. “He interacts with them all the time and thanks them every time for coming out.”
This university fosters the Crew’s presence as well. When the Terps went up against Georgetown on Sept. 2, the team dubbed it “Crew Appreciation Night,” giving out t-shirts to promote the fan section. And for hours prior to each match, the Crew hosts a university-sponsored tailgate in lot 1D. These get-togethers strengthen the Crew’s bonds, said Feinberg.
“If not for the tailgates, it would’ve just been a couple people,” Feinberg said. “We all get to know each other really well, and that’s where it really grew from.”
In the end, he Crew would be nothing without the students who compose it. In Weber’s view, the diversity of this university’s campus — and of its soccer fan base — has given the Crew its lasting energy.
“You get a lot of different personalities and a lot of different perspectives on life, and that all kind of comes into one arena,” Weber said. “All these different personalities combine and make something special.”