Most expansion teams struggle to find their identity in their inaugural season, but Reno 1868 FC is thriving in their first season on the pitch. There have been multiple factors to their success in 2017, and much of it begins with the supporters group known as the Battle Born Brigade.
This group pounds their drums, cheers and chants the home team to victory on almost every match day. And they are like most supporter’s groups with their banter and bravado. But mostly, they are a soccer family that is happy to have a team to call their own.
But beyond the goal line that encompasses the front of Section 102 is a team that has brought soccer to the Greater Reno-Sparks area. And it has provided Reno the opportunity to cheer on a United Soccer League (USL) team that many thought would never succeed in the Truckee Meadows.
Another area of success for the club is their affiliation with the San Jose Earthquakes. While they aren’t considered a “II” club like LA Galaxy (Los Dos), Portland, Colorado or Seattle, their affiliation has helped guide a successful program in Reno.
Dane Kelly, the USL’s all-time leading goal scorer, is a superstar that jumped to Reno from the Charleston Battery. And his success and leadership have helped guide Reno to fourth place in the Western Conference standings. Reno also holds the second-best goal differential in the USL.
The only drawback to Reno’s season is that it plays in a baseball stadium, but if they continue to draw fans like they have thus far, a new stadium will be a reality in a few years. Last Friday night, they hosted the largest crowd in team history (7,100) and this Saturday they host Liga MX quarterfinalist, Atlas.
A major milestone was accomplished on Monday, July 3, as well. Reno 1868 FC won by a margin of 9-0 over LA Galaxy II, a USL-record largest margin of victory. Also, Reno has not lost a home match since March 25, which was their first game this season.
At the rate the club is going, many more summer nights will be filled with loud, raucous crowds cheering their landmark chant “Vamos Azules” into the orange and red Nevada sky.