Introducing NYRB II’s First Supporters Group: The Rampage

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

New York Red Bull II will open the 2017 USL season with more than a new home in Montclair, N.J., but also its first official supporters group in The Rampage. Started by two of the most loyal NYRB II fans, Kevin Stoke and Robert Manella, The Rampage look to provide the reigning USL champions with the one thing they have lacked in their first two seasons, consistent support on par with their MLS parent team.

“Rob and I have been attending RB II matches basically since day one,” Stoke said. “We were thinking: We’re always here, granted there’s not many people here, but why don’t we start up a supporters group. The boys are doing magic on the field. We really liked watching them and so we came to a decision towards the end of the year we should do this. Who knows what’s going to come of this? Even if it’s just five people, the guys on the field deserve a group that will be there to support them.”

New York Red Bull II, like most MLS2 teams, has found support from the fan base a bit hard to come by. The r are complicated as the teams tend to not have a home field and the scheduling conflicts with MLS play. This team has found incredible success on the field that hasn’t translated to numbers in the stands. All of this despite fielding a team of mostly local players of high caliber.

“A lot of people think that, ‘Oh it’s just the USL,’ “Stoke said. “To a certain extent that’s true but I don’t think there was a bonding there for them. Hopefully that’ll start to increase more and more. I just don’t think a lot of people knew about it.

“We are doing this to have fun. Rob and I are very passionate about this team. Come out, come to the game, support the team. If we have enough people where we can have a section to do chants, great. Hopefully we can get everyone going. Have the kind of atmosphere that the first team does at RBA. It’s just a group of people that are just as passionate about soccer and the Red Bulls.”

That awareness is what The Rampage hopes to get out through their group. Currently they have a page on Facebook as well as a Twitter account to track team news. They will also be in force at NYRB II games to provide the kind of noise Red Bull players have been accustomed to over the past few years on the MLS level.

“It’s all about supporting the future of American soccer,” Manella said. “I want to see the academy players come in, do well and then if they play well go up to MLS. It’s good to see homegrown players start from the bottom and go all the way up. It’s why I’m actually in this. I want to see these players grow into MLS player and if not go into Europe, I’m all for it.”