In Wisconsin, the word "goal" invokes images of a small net on a big sheet of ice. But in Madison's multinational melting pot, a loyal group of fans are introducing the Badger faithful to the Arsenal. As branch manager Andrew Schmidt says:
"We're a fun, laid back group who really get behind the team, so leave your drama or overly-negative attitudes at home. If you're in or around Madison - even just visiting - we'd love to see you at the pub. And you've got no excuse now that you know where we'll be!"
Group Name: Madison Arsenal Supporters
Location: Madison, WI
Year established: 2012
Number of active members: "Most matches, 5-10. Big matches, anywhere from 20-40 depending on who we're playing. The last NLD we had almost 40, whereas there were about 20 at the most recent ManU fixture. That number will grow a bit once we move downtown."
Where we watch matches: The Coopers Tavern - 20 W. Mifflin St, Madison WI 53703. (608) 256-1600
"We're constantly working to make the match day viewing experience better, and the Madison supporters get a discount on match days at our home pub. The food is great and the pints are cold. It’s a perfect excuse to get out of bed on frigid, snowy Wisconsin winter mornings to make the trek downtown to a warm pub to watch the boys."
The group's beginnings: "We founded the "official" group at the start of the 2012 - 2013, although a fair amount have been watching together for four or five years. Most of our group work for a locally-based software company who recruits from all over the world. So we're a fairly diverse group."
Arsenal in Wisconsin: "Arsenal have a fairly large following in Milwaukee. As the other major metropolitan city in Wisconsin, the Madison supporters are trying to make people more aware of our presence. We know the university has a fair amount of international as well as stateside students who are into soccer, and if they come out to watch the Arsenal play they'll be hooked. "
Memorable moments: "Obviously the back-to-back 5-2 North London Derby wins were amazing to see, as well as Thierry's return to score the winner against Leeds.
"As far as special events, we're starting to work on a plan to visit the Emirates as a group. It'll be a "pilgrimage to the holy land" of sorts for many of us who have never been to a match. We'd also love to work out some trips to visit other supporters' groups for matches. This past March, our group participated in St Baldrick's Day and were able to raise almost $5000 for children's cancer research in roughly two weeks' time."9 May 2013