NYCFC’s ‘Third Rail’ Already Thriving

New York City FC’s only officially-recognized supporter’s club has already shown impressive leadership and growth in early NYCFC supporter culture
by Nick Chavez   |   Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Blue City – column on New York City FC (NYCFC) & the NYC area soccer scene.

The Third Rail has come a very long way from its humble beginnings in its first meeting back in February, gathering in the Football Factory, the basement of Legends Sports Bar of midtown Manhattan. Back then, the founding fathers of what is now New York City Football Club's only officially-recognized supporter's club didn't even have a name yet and only had a few dozen people in attendance 

Two months later, the group that would make up the Third Rail had its first ever pub crawl to unite early NYCFC fans and try to decide on a home pub to watch away matches together. This gathering had a lot of new faces, this time numbering about 50 people, and was a great success in building comradery amongst New York City-area soccer fans, many of whom were strangers to each other, united by the vision of what their local Major League Soccer club can become.

It also highlighted the vast array of football allegiances and cultural backgrounds that have been united under the NYCFC vision, one that very accurately mirrors the classic "melting pot" identity of the very city the club will represent.  

All of this excitement and activity, it should be noted, happened before New York City FC had even signed a single player. Since these formative meetings of the soon-to-be Third Rail, business has truly begun to pick up.  

The Third Rail's membership has since skyrocketed to over 550 dues-paid members (and increasing every day) as a result of efforts of the TR Board of Directors as well as in conjunction with public events organized by New York City FC.  The signings of David Villa and Frank Lampard obviously didn’t hurt either.

One of the major draws to becoming a paid Third Rail member is the exclusive access to high-profile NYCFC events. These have included TR members being able to attend NYCFC's official badge-unveiling gala event, where members were able to meet former US World Cup Captain Claudio Reyna and NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis. Founding members were also invited to attend the press event at Yankee Stadium unveiling Yankee Stadium as the future (temporary) home of New York City FC, an event that had in attendance Yankee legend Mariano Rivera, and the President of the New York Yankees, Randy Levine.

Third Rail members had exclusive access to Frank Lampard's press conference in Brooklyn, and were even allowed to ask questions during the press conference, later being able to spend time and take pictures with the Chelsea FC and England legend following the presser.  

Some dues-paying TR members were invited by NYCFC in July to the EA Sports FIFA Fans First Event where they got to meet NYCFC's first ever player, the World Cup, Euro Cup and Champion’s League winning David “El Guaje” Villa. They were also able to get some new NYCFC gear signed by Spain's all-time leading scorer. At the same event, these lucky TR members got to meet some of the players from English Premier League Champions Manchester City and play the new FIFA '15 video game with them.

Blue City – column on New York City FC (NYCFC) & the NYC area soccer scene.

Most recently, several Third Rail members were invited to help with on-field preparations for the Manchester City v. Liverpool match at Yankee Stadium, having the best seats in the house watching the Premier League giants clash for free from the pitch itself (As seen below):

Blue City – column on New York City FC (NYCFC) & the NYC area soccer scene.

The Third Rail has been throwing its own events within the last couple months, which include public membership drives and social meet-ups, such as another pub crawl through the Bronx, in the neighborhood of Yankee Stadium.

The Third Rail was also very active in many of NYCFC's celebrated World Cup viewing parties throughout the 5 boroughs, where the TR set up tables as a place to sign up new members and try to recruit New York City soccer fans to the cause of NYCFC and the Third Rail while NYC soccer fans took in World Cup matches in local bars.  

Another strong recruitment tool has been Third Rail FC, the supporter club’s official soccer team made up of Third Rail members, which compete in local cup competitions. These competitions are often organized in part to help with charitable causes, such as the South Bronx Charity Cup that TRFC competed in this past July. The team will also be representing the Third Rail and NYCFC in the Downtown United Supporter’s Cup this month.

Indeed, Third Rail FC has quickly engendered the comradery amongst many TR members playing and practicing together naturally creates, uniting local soccer players and fans from all over New York City under one cause, while sharing their collective enthusiasm for NYCFC and their love for the game in general. TR Director of Membership Samuel Youn reported that at least 50 new TR members have joined through Third Rail FC.
 

The Third Rail’s next meeting will be at 2pm on Saturday, August 9th at celebrated soccer pub Nevada Smiths (3rd Ave, between 12th and 13th Street, Manhattan) where members and non-members alike will meet one another, learn more about the TR mission, the benefits of becoming a member, and share ideas for the future direction of the supporter’s club. People will also have the opportunity to sign up for membership at this meeting, in person.

It was always going to be crucial for a passionate and proactive supporter’s group to begin the process of introducing American-styled soccer supporter’s culture to the people of New York City, many of whom have differing views of what that might entail based on the football cultures they may have been accustomed to from various parts of the globe, or from following there foreign teams from here in the States. The Third Rail has assumed the mantle of leadership, boldly answering this call, and the fruits of their labor are already self-evident.

They have shown New York City that the passion and participation that they see and admire for their beloved clubs on television, or in the stadium when they take in live football on foreign soil, can be enjoyed and developed authentically here in the world’s greatest city, supporting the club of their home, amongst fellow New Yorkers of various origins and cultures.

The Third Rail have established a fraternity of soccer lovers to come together, bonding over the sport they are passionate about regardless of the member’s gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, residence or any other cultural considerations. Indeed, the TR already has members not only from the City, but greater New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. They also already have paid members living in various locations of the US and several foreign countries.

Without a doubt, the Third Rail is yet another in a long-line of quintessential New York success stories. And to think this whole movement just started 5 months ago, and NYCFC has only signed 5 players yet and doesn’t begin playing till March of 2015. Indeed, the future certainly seems bright for New York City FC’s most dedicated and passionate supporters, especially when the team finally makes its long-awaited debut.  And when that day arrives, at least then you’ll know a little something about the guys and gals making all of that noise in the supporter’s section of Yankee Stadium.

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To learn more about or join The Third Rail, visit http://www.thirdrailnyc.com/, follow @ThirdRailSC and @NYisBlue on Twitter, or interact with fellow supporters on Facebook at New York City FC Supporters

Nick CHAVEZ

Nationality:
USA
College:
SCSU
Club Domestic:
NYCFC
Club Foreign:
Real Madrid CF
This is the longest-running column focused on the only team representing the 5 Boroughs in world football: New York City FC. Long may its supporters continue to make history.
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