Joe Curran is honored for his work in growing the sport in America

Joe Curran is a sports fan, one that absolutely loves the beautiful game. Whether it is cheering on his local NPSL side or rooting for the big boys at Liverpool, he is always there to share his passion for soccer. 

The 2010 World Cup was a turning point for him, one that turned him into a hardcore supporter. 

“I fell in love with everything about it,” Curran commented. It was just the beginning as he would go on to support Mass United, the New England Revolution, and Liverpool FC. A diverse group to say the least.

Getting behind a 4th Division American soccer club is not always the most popular choice, but it certainly can be the most rewarding. 

“We are on the ground floor of the grassroots movement,” Curran added. “I am doing everything I can to get people out to games.”
Support for Mass United may be small in numbers, but not in spirit thanks to the Tubthump Army. A supporters’ group of Curran’s creation, the Tubthump Army got its name from a popular 1990s song. They sing, the yell, they write songs on the fly. They aim to be as boisterous as possible. 

The group adds atmosphere to the stadium, showing their support for local players trying to make it to the next level. Club spirit and a sense of community are important facets of the group’s values. All of this organic support is fostered by an owner that is committed to fans, one that is always willing to listen to what supporters have to say.

“It’s nice to know that fans are appreciated,” Curran continued. That feeling isn’t always present with larger clubs in larger leagues. What you lose in the quality of play, you gain in a sense of belonging. 

Also a fan of MLS, Curran is there for his local 1st Division side as well. The story of Clint Dempsey still inspires him and all Revs fans and rightfully so.

It’s a great story. A kid from Texas works his way through the American college system, excels in MLS, and makes it to the game’s biggest stage in England. His name is scattered in the transfer rumors of the summer, among the Van Persies of the world, and he eventually lands with Tottenham. This move kept his EPL dream alive, moving from Fulham to an even bigger club was priceless. 

“It gives us hope and faith in American soccer,” Curran concluded. He hopes that soccer and MLS will propel into the popular sports realm alongside baseball, basketball, and American football. 

Curran is excited about the future of the sport, when “the soccer phenomenon becomes what we think it can become.” Changing demographics and a new generation of soccer players point to soccer’s ascent here in the States. Curran explains that the influx of youth soccer started with the great Pelé and another big burst of interest came after the 1994 World Cup. 

The current generation of youth players is the first generation where professional soccer is thriving. MLS is in its 17th season of existence and all signs point upward with 19 stable franchises and fan interest at an all-time high. Major League Soccer is not just a name anymore; it is a major league. 

This article was originally published on ISNSoccer.com as "The Pelé Sports Fan Ambassador Club – November 2012."