What better way is there to prepare for next season than by reflecting on the previous ones?
What went well in 2012 (almost everything). What could use some improvement (not much). Let’s face it, the ECS has consistently had the best tifo in MLS since 2009. The question is why. Well, our superiority can be summed up in three words: structure, talent, and support.
The overall Tifo structure within the ECS has evolved over the last 4 seasons. In the old days, there were different individuals responsible for Tifo crews, FO communication, match day gear transportation and set up, and large scale choreo creation and deployment. There wasn’t even an official Tifo lead until the final choreo of that season.
In 2010, we got a little more organized. Tifo crews were still picked by way of conversations through threads on the boards. The Sweatshop was responsible for getting everything to and from RBP on match day (a responsibility carried over from the previous season). And the Tifo Director took over FO communication and large scale choreo creation and execution. This was a landmark season for our Tifo. This was the season we pioneered the techniques that we still use to this day. This was the season we truly set ourselves apart from the rest of MLS.
2011 was the season the rest of the world took notice. Because of that, credit must be given to our structure, our talent, and, most importantly, our support. This was the first time that we held a pre-season meeting to discuss match day set up crews and to bring in new crew members. Transportation and inventory responsibilities changed hands. And the Tifo Director took over managing tifo crews and maintained FO communication and choreo responsibilities. Our choreos took a monumental leap forward; not only in quantity but also in quality. Not only did we make almost as many choreos that season as we did in the two previous seasons combined, but the level of detail and execution we reached surpassed even our wildest dreams. Never would we have guessed that we would be deploying 26,000sqft choreos, a feat still unmatched by any supporters group to date. In a word, dominance.
At the very beginning of last season, the tifo leads knew that they had their work cut out for them. They knew that to be successful and to maintain the high levels of excellence to which the ECS has become accustomed that they must stay focused. They were going to have to push themselves and not simply rest on their laurels. We had another pre-season meeting to pick match day setup crews. We recruited multiple artists to add new flavor to our choreos. We developed new deployment techniques. The problem was that we had already set the bar so high with our Decades of Dominance, We Predict a Riot, and Open Cup choreos (just to name a few) from the previous season, surpassing 2011 would prove challenging.
How would we do this you ask? Again, talent and support. Thankfully, the ECS has an abundance of talented and supportive members. We just needed to identify them and utilize their strengths. You’d be amazed at how much help you can find when you ask for it. Sewing and drawing and painting, OH MY! Have you ever sewn together acres of fabric? We have. We put miles of thread through our poor sergers. We drew sharpies down to their roots. And countless (Literally. We didn’t count them.) gallons of paint were used to bring our beautiful choreos to life. These Herculean feats wouldn’t have been possible without the numerous man-hours selflessly volunteered by our membership. The most valuable resource that the ECS has at its disposal is our members. You can have all the structure and talent in the world, but unless you have the support to bring your visions to fruition, it won’t amount to anything.
That being said, we can always use more help. ANY current ECS member is welcome to help us make our large choreos. We typically work on weeknights late into the evening with the occasional Saturday/Sunday thrown in if needed. If you’ve ever wanted to get involved more with the ECS, then these Tifo parties are, by far, one of the best ways to do this. Artistic ability is not a prerequisite. All that is asked is a willingness to help and to learn. If you can put paint to fabric, then you’re already a pro. For more information, check out weareecs.com/tifo.
Bring on 2013!