Loyalty Lives On
Louie’s Loyals bring student support to soccer
With a home game against Ashland University on Friday, you might expect the No. 3 Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team to be cheered on by loyal family members and friends. However, if you look closely at the stands you will see an entire section of loyal fans devoted to supporting the team.
Louie’s Loyals are a group of students trying to jumpstart the cheering at the soccer games – an attempt at an official student section. Founded by freshman graphic design major Zak Freeland, the club aims to give the women’s team some added enthusiasm during home games. “We want the girls to know that what they are doing is important and that we fully support their efforts as student-athletes,” Freeland said.
The idea blossomed from the Detroit SD, a local non-professional soccer club in Detroit. The small team brings in huge crowds of raucous fans who cheer emphatically constantly during the games.
“I really wanted to bring this to Grand Valley because we just really are lacking the support that the team deserves,” Freeland said.
Fellow Loyal Charlie Creech said that it really helps pump up the team when there are people who are actually cheering for them. “I’ve played soccer my whole life,” Creech said. “It’s really awful when no one is there cheering for you.”
Creech, a freshman history major, said she expects about 20 people for the game this week. “We have a lot of likes on Facebook and our Twitter feed is picking up, too,” she said. Chelsea Parise, this week’s GLIAC Athlete of the Week, said that she noticed the presence of the Loyal’s at the opening game against Armstrong Atlantic. “We have more home games this week and are thankful for the support that the group is showing the team,” Parise said.
Parise became the school’s all-time leader in shutouts over the weekend and looks to add to her total in order to help the team win. “The individual accolades aren’t what we’re shooting for,” Parise said. “What we really want is to be a team and the reason I was able to get the shutouts was because of my team.”
Overall Parise has been happy with her team’s play so far this season. She said that tying at the University of Minnesota Mankato was disappointing though there were some positive signs during the game. “I was happy with the defensive chemistry,” she said. “We just couldn’t put together or create a dynamic scoring chance.”
Louie’s Loyals will help get inside the head of their opponents, maybe giving the Lakers the mental edge that can be the difference in college sports. “I’m not really sure what to expect from the Loyal’s,” Parise said. “But I definitely think that it can give our team maybe a mental edge over the other team.”
Look for the Loyals as they support the soccer team at 7 p.m. Friday night against Ashland.