Welcome to the Sporting Kansas City Supporter Spotlight on SportingKC.com. As the opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park approaches, we want to highlight the stories of the fans that will make the stadium atmosphere at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park the best in MLS. In our first edition, we spoke to Ron Bishop, a season ticket member since the 2009 season.
Thanks so much for joining us, Ron. If you could, give us a little background about yourself: Where are you from, and who you usually make it to games with?
Ron Bishop: I grew up here in Kansas City and normally I go out to games with my son, JJ, who's just turned 11 and sometimes my wife, which is why we have three season tickets, so all three of us can go at the same time.
And looking back through the last couple of seasons, what do you remember from your first match ever?
RB: It was about two years ago, we were out there with JJ's soccer team at the time and we were behind the goalkeeper nearest to the Cauldron and it was just really exciting to watch. We'd gone to other sports but it was great because there was just no downtime in soccer. I'd played soccer in my early teenage years but I didnt remember it being so fun and at the time, I'd never been to a professional match before.
Take us through the process of you coming to matches once in a while as a casual fan, to now being a full season ticket member?
RB: After we went that first time, we haven't missed a game since. We went to the Superliga game against Santos Laguna and it was just incredible! The stands were full, people were going nuts, all sorts of different cultures there. We went to the LA Galaxy game after that and we just found that the whole process of having to find tickets was such a pain so we just thought "Let's get season tickets." We found we enjoyed it best right down next to the field. My son's 11, so we had to make sure he didnt have to look over anyone to watch the game. I don't really think there's a bad place to watch soccer from, though. It's really just a matter of "What do you want to see?" and going from there. Being down close is the most exciting for us, though.
Greatest memory you can think of since you've been attending matches? Could be a win, a great goal, really anything...
RB: There's two that stick out. One was Claudio Lopez's goal from midfield against LA. It felt like after he kicked it, it was in the air forever, and then once you realized it was going in, it was absolutely nuts. And then there was the one last September, Josh Wolff's header against Houston. I was there with my wife and you could tell they were coming back. Once they started scoring it was like, "They're gonna do this." I think there were like six minutes of added time and they needed every second but once they scored that winner, it was incredible.
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LIVESTRONG Sporting Park opening on June 9th, have you had a chance to take a look inside yet?
RB: We missed one of the walkthroughs last fall, but we are definitely always up to date with the webcam and the pictures on Facebook.
Where are you going to be sitting at the new stadium? Why there?
RB: From what I've seen out there, I don't think there's going to be a bad seat. But we like to be down close, we like to see and hear the action and feel like we're into it. That's where you'll find us. Second row I think, off of midfield.
What are your plans for June 9th?
RB: Oh, we're definitely going to be there. We'll probably just try and enjoy whatever's out there at the time. Whatever events are going on, we'll be taking full advantage. Definitely before the game, how long before, I don't know.
Got a favorite player?
RB: Actually, I do. I like Birahim Diop because I just think his is a fantastic story. It's easy to root for the superstar player. I like to see guys that know their role and give everything to help the team. JJ, he likes Kei Kamara, pretty easy one.
What's important to you as a supporter?
RB: Nothin' beats winning, man! Just the accessibility of everything, it's very easy to go to a game. It really seems like you can go out there and enjoy a game without a big, long wait. I know the game is going to be two hours and I get to be outside, which is also important, always good to be outside.
What would you say Sporting Kansas City means to you as a supporter?
RB: It's really just what I like about soccer. You look at the team, and you look at who goes to watch the team, and everyone's from all over the world. You meet so many different cultures. When I play pickup soccer out at the parks in my neighborhood, I see guys from all different backgrounds but I know that we're all going to go see Sporting KC. We all have tickets, we're all looking forward to it. It's just incredible what you find you have in common with people from different backgrounds, it's just not something you see with other sports around here. It's that whole international aspect of it, even though it's our domestic league, the players are from everywhere and I just think that's incredible.