The closest I’ve ever come to soccer was when I was living in Florida. My then-roommate, Glen, has deep Jamaican roots and played on various city leagues around Orlando, his hometown.
Even that little taste was enough to show me how massive love for the game is worldwide. And when you account for Memphis’ growing population of immigrants, it should really come as no surprise that when Memphis 901 FC took the field at Autozone Park for their first game, that the setting was electric.
It’s not a stretch to say that the park was buzzing with the energy of a Grizzlies-Clippers playoff game from the Core Four era. Memphis 901 FC gave up an early goal and never recovered, losing to the Tampa Bay Rowdies 0-1. But judging from the crowd response, the club may leapfrog the Memphis Express and maybe even the Redbirds in the Bluff City sports pecking order.
I’m working on a story with reporter Shambreon Richardson about fan reaction to the game. But here are a few photos of the game and the scene at Autozone Park Saturday night: