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Saturday, October 24, 2020

If you build it, soccer fans will come

Bellingham is home to various athletic activities. And where there are athletes, there are fans. Behind each Bellingham Bells game or Blazers hockey game there is one enormous group of Bellingham fans.

The Bellingham United Football Club is prominent in the Bellingham sports community.

About two years ago, men’s soccer head coach Greg Brisbon approached BUFC fans because he admired their work at Bellingham United Football Club games, where some of Western’s players also perform, Corpus said.

Errien West, better known as “Hooligan Ron,” is a passionate supporter for community athletics, including a fan of BUFC. He was the point man in bringing some team spirit to Western soccer.

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“[Brisbon] asked if we could bring our little soccer flare on over to Western,” West said. He wanted to make the games at Robert S. Harrington Field a bit more fun and entertaining, West said.

West nominated junior Martin Corpus to be his head mega-fan on campus. He said he was interested in having a man on the ground — a student representative.

Having a student on campus to bring people together and have meetings to work on songs gives people a chance to get involved when they might not have known how to get involved otherwise, West said.

Corpus is ready to lead Viking soccer fans, as he has an impressive resume with soccer stand cheering — he’s been a big player with the Emerald City Supporters.

Emerald City Supporters are the independent super-fans for the Seattle Sounders, Corpus said.

“It’s such a unique part of sports culture,” Corpus said. “At the end of the day, whether win, lose or tie, you’ve got to stand by the team.”

Corpus knew some Bellingham folk that were already interested in the idea, he said.

The first night didn’t go as well as he had hoped, but he still was able to get people fired up for the March to the Match, Corpus said.

March to the Match — a tradition practiced by Emerald City Supporters — happens before the game, where fans meet to get excited for the game, followed by a fan parade to the field.

To see Western have the fan section he dreams of, Corpus wants to get people together to talk about what a fan section should look like and what everyone should be involved in.

“People need people like me and [Corpus] to start the fire, and we’re okay with that,” West said.

Corpus invited students to find him on Facebook or Instagram, or just say hi to him on campus or at a match. He is eager to have get people on board.

“If I could find somebody who is as into this as I am, I think that would be a really big asset to fixing all the issues I’m running with,” Corpus said.

West said he wants to see more people involved, even if it is just clapping.

“Just clap,” West said. “You don’t just buy a ticket to the game. You buy a ticket to be a part of something bigger than the game.”

Martin Corpus and Errien "Hooligan Ron" West, avid supporters of Western soccer, stand for a portrait on Robert S. Harrington Field. // Photo by Caleb Galbreath
Martin Corpus and Errien “Hooligan Ron” West, avid supporters of Western soccer, stand for a portrait on Robert S. Harrington Field. // Photo by Caleb Galbreath

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