NASHVILLE – Stephen doesn’t often watch what's happening on the pitch at Nashville SC home matches.
He’s right by the pitch in front of the action, but for the vast majority of each match, he’s not looking at the pitch.
Stephen is standing on his seat at the front of the supporters section facing the throngs of diehard supporters. He leads all the chants and songs you hear ring through First Tennessee Park each night. In a unique way, he gets to watch each match through the emotions and reactions of all the loyal supporters in front of him.
“It’s actually kind of funny just because people tell me ‘how do you not get to watch the game?’” Stephen said. “I actually feel like I do get to watch the game from the people’s reactions and how they are. You can tell when something’s about to happen and you can tell when a goal has been scored for sure. Watching people’s faces just get bright, watching the songs just get maybe a little bit louder when something awesome is about to happen. I probably watch about five minutes of each game because normally I’m chanting and doing other things and trying to get the crowd going, but when that crowd gets going, you definitely know something’s about to happen.”
While he is the vice president of one of Nashville SC’s supporters groups, The Roadies, his role on matchdays extends far beyond just his group. He helps lead the chants on the march into the stadium and starts each chant during the match. When you hear a call-and-response chant start at First Tennessee Park, it’s Stephen’s booming voice that you hear ringing out through the crowd.
And he doesn’t even need a megaphone for everyone to hear him.
“It just feels like home being on the top there leading everybody,” Stephen said. “It’s like seeing your family react to some bit of good news or something like that. It’s the most amazing feeling to feel the passion of people around you as you’re doing something like singing a song, rooting for your team.”
Stephen was quickly on board for season tickets to Nashville SC’s inaugural season in MLS, and he was particularly excited about his position at the front of the supporters section that will allow him to watch the match on Nissan Stadium’s jumbotron behind the section.
With even more fans ready to come on board for the first MLS season, and a growing supporters section ready to make noise for the Boys in Gold, Stephen is prepared to take his voice to a wider base of fans. No matter how big the supporters section gets, Stephen will cherish what Nashville SC means to him and to everyone clapping and singing in front of him.
“You look at the crowd of people and you realize that it’s more than just a game, it’s more than just a sport,” Stephen said. “It’s a family, it’s a community, it’s a lifestyle. You realize it up there every single minute leading chants. I love it, it’s fun, and I hope everybody enjoys it as well.”
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