The Harrisburg City Islanders will have a new supporters group at FNB Field this season. This week, the Capital City Crew announced their presence on Twitter and intention to support soccer in central Pennsylvania.
The City Islanders have featured a few groups of supporters in their history, most notably the Sons of Susquehanna. After the move from Skyline Sports Complex in 2016, the supporter culture in Harrisburg was visibly lacking. Capital City founders Jonathan Baldari, Jamie Garman, and Timothy Ireland seized the opportunity to make a change.
“We started talking about forming this group with each other in January, so just about a month ago,” said Garman in an interview with Brotherly Game. “After seeing the SOS not have a presence following the team’s move to FNB last year, the void was even more noticeable than when they played at Skyline.”
The City Islanders averaged just over 1,500 fans per match last season, with little or no support from a dedicated group. The Capital City Crew are looking to fill that void in 2017. The group will have a dedicated supporters section behind the goal on the third-base line at FNB Field.
“We would like to help set the tone in the stadium and show to our friends and neighbors what kind of an experience supporting your team can be,” said Baldari.
“Tifo, drums, chants, marches are all guaranteed,” added Garman. “We are waiting for clarification on whether smoke is allowed in FNB or if we are going to have to limit that to the bridge and outside the gates.”
The Capital City Crew aims to make as big an impact outside of the stadium that they do inside. “I think we are assisting with really ingraining the club into the community,” said Baldari. “Just being present and involved, helping to bridge the gap between the club, its players, and the greater community through organizing events, away travel, and other outreach projects. That is how I feel we will make our ultimate impact.”
Capital City are working closely with members of the Sons of Susquehanna and the Harrisburg chapter of the American Outlaws to make the group’s vision a reality.
Baldari is a true soccer supporter visionary. “In my mind, being part of a supporters group is the act of elevating your community on a global stage,” he shared. “To me, one of the greatest things about this sport is the global nature of the game and how clubs come to represent certain communities and/or ideals.
“Supporting your club means more than simply being a fan. It means putting yourself out there, believing in something, and standing up for who you are and where you come from. And you get to do it while hanging out with people who are or become your best friends which ultimately makes it that much more fun and rewarding.”
The Capital City Crew will host their first event on Saturday March 4 at the Sturges Speakeasy in Harrisburg. You can follow their progress on Twitter: @CapCity717