LOS ANGELES – The Angel City Brigade pride themselves on serving as the beating heart of StubHub Center’s raucous crowds.
If you have any doubts about this, then one of the group’s most iconic songs should clear up any confusion.
“Blue, White and Gold.
The color that my blood shall always flow.
I sing for you, and only you.
Where ever I may be I sing for you.”
Founded in 2007 by six members hungry for a new type of supporters group, the ACB have grown their membership to more than a thousand die-hards who pack StubHub Center’s section 121 for each Galaxy home match. Their every action is designed to will the team and the crowd forward from their elaborate tifos and banners to the songs that pledge their undying loyalty to the club that they love.
“This means everything to us. Supporting my team is hard to explain in words because I have such an immense love for this team which represents this city,” said Angel City Brigade capo John Arias. “This is the city that I was born in, the city that I was raised in, and the city that I love. ACB is Los Angeles because we’re everywhere in Los Angeles.
“We’re not just the South Bay or the San Fernando Valley. We’re everywhere from all the way in the Inland Empire to Orange County. We are Southern California. We are LA. ACB is about bringing together a bunch of people from all corners into this stadium to support this team which represents our city.”
What differentiates ACB from their counterparts from other groups is their style of support that encourages members to stand and sing for 90 minutes. Employing Latin American flair reminiscent of Barras in Mexico, El Salvador and Argentina, the ACB also borrow elements from European supporters groups to create a style that is uniquely Los Angeles.
At the group’s core, the Latin influence is essential as they seek to identify with people from all walks of life in the City of Angels.
“From the beginning, the Galaxy have been embraced by Latinos. That’s representative in ACB because we have members who have been around since the team was founded,” said ACB member Roberto Mora. “The current makeup of ACB is a culmination of the last 20 or so years of soccer fans in Los Angeles.
“You have your fans in the suites rolling up in BMWs, but you also have the fans in General Admission who take the bus to games. The Galaxy fan fully embraces what Los Angeles is, and that is incredibly diverse.”
The life of a supporter can be a demanding one with members spending long hours crafting elaborate displays, scraping together money to pay for away trips or missing out on time with family so that they can watch their team take field no matter the locale.
“Everyone in ACB has their day job, everyone has their lives that they live, but at the end of the day, we come to the stadium and represent Los Angeles,” said Arias. “No matter where we’re from, we’re all Los Angeles.”
No player may be closer to the supporters group than fifth-year Galaxy midfielder Rafael Garcia.
Whether it’s saluting the group after a match, taking pictures with members or interacting on social media, Garcia’s respect for the organization has been obvious throughout his time with the club.
Garcia’s connection with the ACB runs deep because the Galaxy midfielder sees himself in the faces of every singing supporter.
“I draw myself toward them because it’s a local group that supports this team and they represent our community. They’ve done a fantastic job, and it’s an honor to play in front of a group like that who is devoted to our team,” Garcia said. “A 1000 percent, if I weren't playing, I’d be there with them. I grew up supporting the Galaxy since 1996 and the supporters groups weren’t as numerous as they are now. I’d say that I’d definitely be a supporter if I weren't playing, and why not be a member of ACB.”
At the end of the day, the way the Galaxy represent the city of Los Angeles is what’s important to Arias and the Angel City Brigade.
“The Galaxy have been here since 1996,” Arias said. “They represent what Los Angeles is, and that’s a huge metropolis of people that live from the Valley to the South Bay and everything in between and beyond. People can talk all they want, but the Galaxy represent all of Los Angeles. Just like the ACB, we represent Los Angeles. That’s why the Galaxy is the only Los Angeles club.”