The Red Aces are the loyal supporters of Lane United FC who currently play in USL PDL’s Northwest Division. Our own Bryan Speaks spoke with one of their founding members Bryson Womack to learn more about the Red Aces. The Red Aces are “deeply rooted” within their club and their community.
Bryan Speaks: How did the Red Aces form?
Bryson Womack: First and foremost, we had a local business man by name of Dave Galas who had a dream of bringing soccer to the Eugene area so he created Lane United Football Club. With that he opened up a charter membership basically. So, anyone who wanted to buy into the club would essentially have a stake in the club. All of that money from people buying into the club went into what is called the Lane United Supporters Trust. Then, that Supporters Trust was handed over to the Red Aces, as an independent supporter group. So, by creating our supporters group we actually had stake in the club itself. The club came in and Dave understood the importance of having a good solid supporters group, and he let us come in and be a part of it. So we actually get a say in a lot of the decisions the club makes. It’s a really good relationship between the front office and the supporters group here.
Bryan Speaks: Any specific reason for the name?
Bryson Womack: No, not really – although the name was voted on amongst our members. First and foremost, Lane United, are The Reds. The Red Aces for us was kind of simple.
Bryan Speaks: How many members do you have roughly?
Bryson Womack: Right now we have close to a couple hundred due paying members. We have close to 300 followers on twitter, over 300 in our Facebook group. Actually due paying members we’re a couple hundred strong. Going on season two now.
Bryan Speaks: What does a normal game day look like for you guys?
Bryson Womack: Depends on the day. Usually if it’s a nice day we got a crew, a game day crew. One of our guys helps out with the PA system. A couple guys will go out and hang banners. We’ll put out flags, get the drums all out. And get everything ready well before the match starts. During the game, we are actually serving the beer now and keeping 50 % of the take. And we have a couple people that volunteer and serve beer at the matches. We have a couple guys that do smoke, guys that do flares, drummers, and then of course everybody works together on chants and stuff like that.
Bryan Speaks: It sounds like you guys have a nice added element especially with the concessions, beer and overall involvement. That’s cool.
Bryson Womack: Ya. It’s kind of a nice little deal this year. Oakshire is a local brewery in town. It’s kind of nice that we are serving up a high end craft brew at the pitch, supporter’s group is serving it and we are getting a cut of it too.
Bryan Speaks: What does the support look like with the rest of the division?
Bryson Womack: Ya know it’s funny we just played Kitsap and they had a handful of people come down. Which was cool. Obviously, Bratic up in Vancouver he’s got a solid crew up there. Other than that we see a couple of people here and there but we’re definitely not seeing big displays. We’re not really seeing anything in the Northwest division that is on the level of what we are doing. As far as full scale tifos, full smoke, full flare, scarf, and membership drives, and all that kind of stuff…
Bryan Speaks: That seems to be pretty consistent throughout the PDL. There seems to be a handful of good supporters. I think of the Menance (Red Army), and the Southwest with the FC Tuscon (Cactus Pricks), Albuquerque Sol (Sandianistas), and Las Vegas Mobsters (Mob Squad). Why do you think it is that PDL can’t make that connection with a supporter base?
Bryson Womack: Thats a great question and I have no idea why they cant connect! Its so grass roots. There’s just something about footy in general. And then when it’s a grassroots team you know the fact that these players are so approachable. These clubs are literally played on the field that we all played co-ed rec games on. It’s all supported by local businesses and local funds. I think it’s just a huge attraction. These aren’t huge multimillion dollar businesses by any means, so just the average blue collar worker can be connected to the team and live to the support and ultimately have one hell of a good time come match day.
Bryan Speaks: Do you guys have any rivalries within your division?
Bryson Womack: Kitsap is quickly becoming one because they are kind of the king. You know we love to keep it within the Cascadia region. So, anytime Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver comes around those games will get pretty chippy. We have a great ‘friendly’ rivalry with the Vancouver Victory (EPLWA). Our good friend Matt who is in the Vanguard put one his prosthetic legs on the line last year as a supporter’s trophy. Whichever team wins, that crew gets to keep and party with the ‘3rd Leg’ until the next match, at which time it’s back on the line again. Needless to say, the Red Aces have drank way more beer from that thing than the Vanguard!
Bryan Speaks: I know you guys haven’t gotten the best start. What are some of the key things the team can do to continue to turn the season around?
Bryson Womack: You know it’s weird. Last year we had a great start to the season. Unfortunately we lost a couple tough ones. I know Coach Galas has made a lot of changes to the lineup…. At this point it’s just a matter of getting the chemistry together. We got a lot of new players. A few of them in particular are from Spain. So just basically their style of play is way more technical versus here on the West coast where it’s more of a physical style of play. So, just getting those guys acclimated, and getting the team chemistry together will make a world of difference. These guys have shined, they are a super good squad. I think we just all need to get on the same page… and those wins and those goals are going to come.
Bryan Speaks: What is a supporter to you?
Bryson Womack: A supporter to me is… Being a supporter for LUFC means unconditional love… I feel like there is a deep love for all things involved with my club, and that I would do anything in my power to help it be successful! This feeling isn’t just for the players during a match, but for the coaches, the front office, and all of our sponsors week in and week out. I would honestly say it’s the same type of love a parent has. No matter the outcome of a match, I am always so proud of anyone wearing that kit! The crew of supporters we have up here all has that same unconditional love, and you see that not only on match day, but also after the lights goes off. But I will say, at the end of the day where the true love comes in is for our players. Watching these guys play the beautiful game and work their asses off for a win is what it’s all about, and our love and respect for them is the reason we show up and go fucking mental.
Non League America wishes Lane United and the Red Aces best of luck in the rest of their campaign.