A guide to Forward Madison FC supporters’ groups

The ‘Flock End’ at Breese Stevens Field is full of birds of all feathers, and that’s exactly the point.
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Photos by Will Jenkins, Forward Madison FC

For the uninitiated, attending a professional soccer match for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Thankfully, a handful of passionate Forward Madison FC fans have set out to make gamedays at Breese Stevens Field more inclusive and less intimidating for everyone. All of FMFC’s supporters’ groups are free to join, and while the intention behind them is to make it easy for fans to find their tribe, anyone is welcome.

The Flock'we're Back': 1,500 Fans Fill Breese Stevens For Forward Madison Fc OpenerThe oldest and largest of Forward Madison’s supporters’ groups serves as a kind of umbrella for the team’s other, ancillary groups. According to President and Co-Founder Andrew Schmidt, that was by design. “When we started this we wanted to leave room for imprint-level, micro communities,” he says. Members of The Flock occupy the so-called “Flock End,” the stands behind the goal adjacent to North Brearly Street, where they chant, sing, create and display tifo (colorful, choreographed visual displays, usually in the form of a banner or flag) and cheer on their team through thick and thin. Visit the group’s website to join and learn more.

AccessiMingos


“To my knowledge, we are the first supporters’ group in North America started by people with disabilities for people with disabilities,” says AccessiMingos co-founder Brian Messman, who was inspired to start the group after seeing how English side Manchester United accommodated fans with disabilities. Messman and co-founders Tyler Engel and Bill Schultz, who all use wheelchairs, have since worked to make gameday at Breese Stevens a friendlier place for all fans, including working with the club on an accessible pathway to concessions and free admission to games for caregivers. They’ve also served as a model for other U.S.-based clubs looking to start their own groups for people with disabilities. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

La Barra 608

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La Barra 608 was founded by Latinos for Latinos, though, like all FMFC supporters’ groups, it is open to everyone. “We’re trying to be part of a big family,” says co-founder Omar Anguiano. On gamedays, La Barra members can often be found playing drums emblazoned with the group’s colorful logo and leading fans on the pregame march to Breese Stevens Field. (They also offer some of the coolest merch in The Flock web store.) Interested parties can email labarra608@gmail.com or visit them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Featherstone Flamingos

 

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This all-inclusive supporters’ group, which aims to celebrate and promote Black culture, has quickly gained a reputation for throwing some of the best events around. The group regularly hosts kickbacks around Madison and attends Black Restaurant Week together annually. They also sell covetable merch, such as the Juneteenth scarf they created in collaboration with Forward Madison earlier this year. (All proceeds go to YWCA Madison.) Those wanting to get involved can visit Featherstone Flamingos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or can reach out to co-founders Kyle Carr, Chris Fox and April Kigeya directly.

Mingos Ladies

 

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Mingo Ladies is focused on promoting female involvement in The Flock and in the Madison community. To that end, co-founders April Kigeya, Alexa Nichols and Elizabeth Riley make sure fans who identify as women are represented among the Flock End’s drummers and capos (section leaders who keep the crowd on its feet and lead cheers) on gamedays. (Kigeya is also a co-founder of Featherstone Flamingos and is Vice President of The Flock.) Even if you’re not a soccer fan, there are still ways to get involved: Mingo Ladies spearhead the Flock Food Project, which fights food insecurity through at-home and community gardening. Find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Jeff Oloizia is a Madison-based writer. Read Oloizia’s profile on Forward Madison FC Coach Carl Craig by clicking here.

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