The Las Vegas Mobsters, founded in 2013, are the only Premier Development League (PDL) soccer club in the state of Nevada. The club was formed in response to the valley’s strong demand for top-level soccer and a true game-day experience. The team has not had an ideal start to their 2015 campaign, but hope to turn things around when they host Fresno Fuego on Saturday, June 6. We were lucky enough to speak with Carson Merk, Director of Social Media for the Las Vegas Mobsters. Carson gave us an inside look into the Las Vegas Mobsters history, current season, their supporters culture and more!
Bryan Speaks: Can you give us a brief history of the Las Vegas Mobsters?
Carson Merk: Well Bryan, last year was the debut season for the Mobsters. After seeing the support that the newly formed American Outlaws chapter out here received, a decision was made to move forward and create a team of our own. It was a learning process in season #1. Last year, games were played at UNLV’s Soccer Field, but with our growing fan base, including supporters groups like the Mob Squad and the Atom City Army, a move to a high school stadium with more seats was the most practical. So, this year we will be playing most of our home games at Liberty High School. There’s an exciting feeling around the team this season!
Bryan Speaks: How important is the Copa Frontera for the Mobsters moving forward?
Carson Merk: All games are important to us, but games that mean a lot to our fans of course add some excitement. Personally, growing up in Northeast Ohio, Browns-Steelers just meant so much to the fans. Even during the down years for Cleveland, those games felt like they meant so much more than just a regular game! So, for our supporters groups, it’s a great thing, it’s a fun competition. For the team, it’s an important match against a solid opponent, whether that’s FC Tucson or Albuquerque Sol FC. Trophies, championship belts and cups just make everything more exciting, don’t they?
Carson Merk: It’s very important. It’s obviously a new thing, so that’s important to get the word out about it. Truthfully, social media in general is very important, by interacting with fans or answering questions, it is all about establishing a relationship, not just on a elite level, but on a personal level. The hashtag, #WeAreTheMob isn’t just a saying, it’s how we want people to feel. You are as much a part of this team as myself, or forward Carlos Lara or the guy helping to set up the goals pregame. We are all in this together, we are the Mob!
Bryan Speaks: What is the normal game day experience at a Mobsters game?
Carson Merk: It’s fun, it’s family friendly, it’s elite level sports in Las Vegas! This year we will be utilizing different food trucks, craft beers and all kinds of exciting things on game day. The Mob Squad and Atom City Army will of course be providing a humorous and boisterous soundtrack of chants and cheers throughout the game. We have a great staff here top to bottom that is 100% committed to fan experience, and not just at a delegation level, but personally doing things to ensure a great time for everyone involved.
Bryan Speaks: Is their open communication between the team and the Mob Squad?
Carson Merk: Absolutely! Our administrative staff, including myself, our GM and President, is in constant contact with the great guys over there at the Mob Squad. I’ve personally asked on multiple occasions, if there is anything I can do to help them with anything, all they have to do is ask. It’s a great back and forth relationship between the Mob Squad and the club with nothing but mutual respect.
Bryan Speaks: Why do you think the Mountain Division has such a strong supporter group presence? Throughout the PDL there is not much in terms of supporters, your division seems to be the exception.
Carson Merk: I can’t speak for the other teams of course, but here in Las Vegas, there are not a lot of sports teams that we can call our own. So, being able to say, that’s our hometown team is huge for our fans. As far as the division, I think the fans of the Mountain Division teams are great! They are hungry for great soccer and the PDL’s Mountain Division is a great way to provide that. It’s shaping up to be a very competitive division as well, which of course compels people to come check out some games!
Bryan Speaks: What are some of your long term goals with the Mobsters?
Carson Merk: I think our long-term goal here is to make Vegas a soccer destination. Whether that’s with another league placing a team here, or hosting some high quality friendlies, anything to help complete our mission, which is to show the soccer world that Las Vegas has some die-hard support!
Bryan Speaks: How does the team look in comparison to last season?
Carson Merk: I can only speak on what I’ve heard from the people that were here last year, and from what I’ve gathered, this is a much improved team. We added English Premier League player-coach veteran Paul Barron to coach the team, we’ve added some exciting new players and just another year under everyone’s belt is huge.
Non League America wishes the Las Vegas Mobsters the best of luck in the remainder of their season, and a very big thank you to Carson Merk for this exclusive interview.