Phoenix Rising’s first game of the season is right around the corner and it will be a day of new beginnings. It’s the first time the club takes the field in their new home and shows off their new badge and colors in front of their already adoring fanbase. And if that wasn’t enough, the club just announced in late January that MLS is a real possibility.
Morale is definitely high this year and it looks like the sky’s the limit. However, for the super fans of Rising FC, March 25th is the only thing that matters.
Who are these super fans? I met with Sub, a member of Los Bandidos, a small but mighty contingent of supporters who plan on being the voice of the club – the 12th man, as they say. Sub, along with other Bandidos members Rebel, Magdeezy, Alicia, and Mr. J, explained what their group is all about and what Phoenix can expect from them.
“[We will] be there for the team as much as possible,” Sub said. “Try to be there before, during, and after the ninety minutes in every way we can. Chanting, making noise. Putting the color out there. Making our presence known.”
Los Bandidos are the reinforcements. The ones you can count on to support the team through the highs and lows. To celebrate the goals and push the team when they need it most.
“Not just standing around and waiting for something to happen, not just waiting for inspiration but actually making it happen. To put pressure on the visiting team and let them know this is our home, our house.”
They have a short yet eventful history. Los Bandidos are a reincarnation of La Hermandad, a supporters group that materialized in 2016. They parted ways with Kyle Eng’s Arizona United when he openly supported Donald Trump.
“Last year we had another group called La Hermandad. We did that for about a year. Later on after the whole thing with Kyle where he posted his support for Trump, we protested. Basically we said if [Kyle’s] the owner, we’re not going to the games.”
But with every closed door, a new one opens, and Los Bandidos are ready to return.
“You know we had our disagreements with the last owner, but it is what it is. This time around [the new owners] seem to be a little more transparent. A lot more communicative with us. And that’s progress.”
Before our meeting ended there was one more thing I had to ask: Why “Bandidos”?
“We were looking for something local, Southwest style, more Arizona. We went back to the roots, the Wild West. We used to have the outlaws, outsiders, which were the Bandidos. So that’s how the name came in.”