Who: Supporters’ Shield Foundation / Independent Supporters Council-
What: Creation of new Supporters Shield and Foundation
Contact: Sean Dane: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: (816) 510-3812
The Supporters’ Shield Foundation, in partnership with the Independent Supporters Council (ISC), is proud to announce the creation of a new Supporters’ Shield trophy and the formation of the Supporters’ Shield Foundation. This new Supporters’ Shield replaces the previous trophy at the start of the 2013 MLS season. Supporter groups across Major League Soccer via the ISC have worked together to fund, design, and deliver this stunning new shield. The new shield is built on the passions of today’s MLS supporters and encapsulates the history and work of the early MLS supporters. The Supporters’ Shield represents the growth and accomplishments of all MLS supporters since the award’s introduction in 1999.
Starting in San Jose, the new Supporters’ Shield will make the journey with supporters this entire year and will travel to visit all 19 MLS teams and their supporters. The ISC has organized the journey of the Supporters’ Shield so each supporter group that helped fund it can see what their work has accomplished. The Shield will start with the winners of the 2012 Supporters’ Shield and will be handed from supporter group to supporter group with the next landmark stop at the MLS All Star Game in Kansas City on July 31, 2013. It will end its journey with the winner of the 2013 Supporters’ Shield. Every supporter who lifted it during the year will be hoping to see it again come November. The 2013 winner will be engraved on the new Supporters’ Shield next to the previous seventeen winners’ names that are also engraved on the new trophy.
The new Supporters’ Shield is made of sterling silver and stainless steel, weighing in at just over thirty-five pounds. When the Supporters’ Shield was revealed to the ISC organizers in Kansas City, Fran Harrington, President of the Midnight Riders, declared, “It’s gorgeous. The new shield is definitely something that properly reflects the growth and maturity of the league and its supporters!” The new Supporters’ Shield will provide 25 years of future winners with the option to add another ring for future winners beyond that. The new Supporters’ Shield was designed by Kyle Stewart and made in Toronto by Award Co.
The Supporters’ Shield is given to represent the team who has the most points at the end of the season. Brett Bird, Vice President of the Vancouver Southsiders, stated, “The Supporters’ Shield takes a greater commitment to high level play to earn, and represents the best team over 34 games. Too many times an MLS Cup winner plays well for 2 weeks and takes home a trophy.” This grand trophy recognizes the accomplishments of the winning team with that grand accomplishment. Greg Mockos, co-president of the Emerald City Supporters states, “The Supporters’ Shield is important as it crowns the champion over the course of the regular season. It represents the efforts of the team through a very long and arduous season on a path that is traveled in unison with the supporters – every match day, home and away. To win the Supporters’ Shield the team and supporters all need to have the same, unwavering commitment to the club and its crest.”
Our original trophy was founded in 1999 and heavily supported by a Kansas City Wizards supporter named Sam Pierron. This was a big step for supporters in MLS at the time, as no trophy existed to represent the winner of the table at the end of the year. The trophy was funded through the efforts of leaders in the supporter community. A sculpture student at the University of Kansas then produced the chevron-shaped trophy we know today. The original Supporters’ Shield will be on display in the Members Club at Sporting Park until there is a National Soccer Hall of Fame to curate the trophy.
A major impetus in getting the new Supporters’ Shield produced was Sean Dane, President of the Supporters’ Shield Foundation and a leader in the Kansas City Cauldron. He urged that the Supporters’ Shield is “an award created by the fans to recognize the single table winner. It is unique in the landscape of American sports. I think it highlights what makes the supporters culture in the league great. It also highlights the ability of Major League Soccer to work in partnership with its supporters in a way unseen in other sports. The efforts of the ISC and its members is commendable and it helps to further the growth of supporters culture in the country. That’s a win for all involved and I am proud to be associated with all of them.” To add to this, Section 8 Chicago’s representative to the ISC, Dan Martin says “It’s definitely special when fans of the sport can come together in a collaborative sense to express our shared passion for the game. Whenever people put aside fundamental differences to contribute to the greater good, you know the result is meaningful and worthy of note.”
The story of the original Supporters’ Shield, its original creation story, and how the new Supporters’ Shield was funded by the supporter groups of today is a monumental reality in the world of sports. The supporters carried the torch to honor the best MLS team each year with their own funds and will carry on that story for many years to come. The reality that so many supporter groups worked together to create this trophy isn’t found in many places within the world of our sport. “The collaboration on the new Supporters’ Shield shows how far the supporters culture has grown and matured through the years. How so many supporters groups from around the league came together to create a new trophy that will exist for years to come! This trophy is one of the most unique trophies handed out in all of American sports since it’s delivered by the Supporters to the winning team!” exclaimed Donald Rickard, President of the San Jose Casbah.
To support the Shield, the ISC has created a great way to reimburse the groups that funded the creation of the new trophy. ISC member supporter groups will have limited edition, “I Support the Shield” scarves that they will be selling to fans of their teams. This is a way for all for the supporters and fans to participate and show their pride in the Supporters’ Shield, as well as express the hope that their team hoists it at the end of the year.
The Supporters’ Shield Foundation is tasked with raising awareness of the Shield’s history, protecting the commercialization of the shield, and ensuring its movement from team to team each season. Its officers are elected annually by the ISC.