Click picture for large version
Click picture for large version
The 2005 Southern Derby
By Kurt Braunsroth "the drummer"
The charter of the Southern Derby states the competition was started, "to foster and develop fan support of A-League soccer, thru the establishment of an inter-league tournament that is recognized by the A-League and the fans as a competition as serious as the League's playoffs".
To achieve these lofty goals, fans would have to make a long-term commitment to a competition that has no sponsor. Pride and a simple, sincere love of the game would have to be the life-blood of the Southern Derby. From what I've seen these past six years, the fans of USL soccer have demonstrated these qualities in abundance.
In 2000 the Derby Cup was organized on the www.usldiscussions.com message boards and purchased from contributions of fans of Charleston, Atlanta, and Raleigh. The first winners, the Raleigh Capitol Express, folded later that year. I don't know the exact circumstances, but some anonymous person was selfless enough to bring the Derby Cup to Atlanta so it could be passed on.
In 2001 I had the duty of sending the Derby Cup to Charlotte. It was a tough week. The Silverbacks were not returning telephone calls because the team was trapped at an airport in another state in the wake of September 11th. My son was keeping my wife and I awake all night, every night, and we were almost broke. I don't remember how I came up with the time, energy, and money to get the Cup shipped to Charlotte. I also can't remember the unselfish person with the Silverbacks who helped out, but we all owe them gratitude.
In 2002 fine people in Charlotte anonymously gave their time and money to have the Derby Cup shipped back to Atlanta.
In 2003 I had to hand the Derby Cup to the fans of the Charleston Battery after they won the Southern Derby in Atlanta. In 2004 Charleston returned the favor. If you think giving up the Cup is easy, you have never felt pride in your life.
So there it is: the Southern Derby Cup has passed hands six times. In each and every case, fans, many who have met only on soccer message boards, have selflessly and anonymously supported the Derby with their time, talent, and money. The Derby has survived one team folding, another dropping down to the USL Second Division, and September 11th.
And in 2005 we do it again. Regardless of the outcome, I take great pride in being a part of the Southern Derby. When you see the Cup, whether in person or on television, remember the sacrifices made by many other fans who also love the game. Keep it up fans, the Southern Derby is on its way to becoming a sports classic.
==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====
The Southern Derby
by James Gregory
Tonight marks the first Southern Derby match of 2005. What is the Southern Derby, you say? Think of the Hatfield/McCoy feud, think of Clemson/Carolina, think of rivalries.
The Southern Derby was founded in 2000 when fans of the Charleston Battery, Atlanta Silverbacks and Raleigh Express were trading taunts on the fan forums at www.usldiscussions.com. An idea was hatched that the 3 teams should play each other in a series of matches and the resulting winner be awarded a cup. It would "generate interest in soccer and the league in these communities." The idea took root and quickly grew. Within a week or so the groundwork was essentially laid and the details agreed to. The Southern Derby baby was born. Through the years, Raleigh left the league and was replace by Charlotte. They eventually dropped to a lower league leaving Atlanta and Charleston to battle it out for the cup.
Chris Goos, midfielder for the Battery who joined the club in 2003, was asked if he had heard about the Southern Derby. "Oh yes, I've heard about the Derby, it's for the respect of the south, you know, the best team in the south. Just like derbies over in England, it's for the respect of the city. Your fans talk to their fans; you see each other a lot, it's very important to win it. It's basically for the pride of the south." [The complete Chris Goos interview is below this article.]
The goal of the Southern Derby is to stimulate rivalries that will generate interest in each club and provide a little extra motivation near the end of the season, even if the club is out of the running for the playoffs. "Rivalries are very important", says Chris. "That's how the passion for the sport grows, it just adds excitement to the game. More people come out to watch and more people are interested".
It's a simple competition; after all, a little southern Hatfield/McCoy feud really doesn't require many rules. The matches are designated from the existing league schedule, so, no extra travel or planning is required by the clubs. The teams play each other twice; once home and once away, the last 2 scheduled meetings in the regular season. The league's regular scoring system is also used; 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw. The last Southern Derby match will be played in Atlanta on Friday, August 12. The Regiment is tentatively arranging to have a bus available for fans who want to travel to the game.
The Battery has only won the Southern Derby once, in 2003, Chris' rookie year. What was it like winning the Cup that year? "It was great. It's good to win it for yourself but it's really important for the fans. It helps everything if you can win the derbies."
==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====
Interview with Chris Goos
May 19, 2005
The first leg of the 2005 Southern Derby is Saturday, May 28 in Charleston, SC. I sat down with midfielder Chris Goos to talk about the Southern Derby. The following is a transcript of that conversation. - Jim Gregory
Q: Chris, you've been with the Charleston Battery for 2 years now, what have you heard about the Southern Derby?
CG: Oh yes, I've heard about the Derby, it's for the respect of the south, you know, the best team in the south. Just like derbies over in England, it's for the respect of the city. Your fans talk to their fans; you see each other a lot, it's very important to win it. It's basically for the pride of the south.
Q: Is Atlanta is good choice as a rival for the Southern Derby?
CG: They're a great rival. They've had a good squad this year and last year so the competition is definitely there……they're close to us. The only other teams would be Virginia Beach or Richmond. So, for the Southern Derby, I think Atlanta is the best choice.
Q: Your first year with the Battery in 2003 was the only year we've won the cup. What was that like?
CG: It was great. I mean, it's great to win it for yourself but, it's really important for the fans. They're the ones that support you, they're the ones that have to hang out with the other team's fans. So, by winning the Southern Derby, when Atlanta comes here and brings their fans, they don't have as much shtick to throw at our fans, our fans can actually stand up.
Q: Are rivalries important to the game in this country?
CG: I think you start to get to know the other team when you play them over and over again, especially like Atlanta, we play them 3 or 4 times. Yes, there's definitely a rivalry there. Teams like Atlanta, Rochester, teams you play a lot, you know well. A little animosity starts between the teams, you definitely feel that and you pick up your game, up to a certain point. So, you definitely feel the rivalry.
Q: Do the Southern Derby matches generate any extra motivation for the players?
CG: It sure does. It's brought up that this is a Southern Derby match and we want to win this for the fans.
Q: How important is it, particularly here in the US, for fans to become involved in rivalries and fan based competitions?
CG: I think it's very, very important. Because that's how the passion for the sport grows, it just adds excitement to the game, it adds more emphasis on certain games. More people come out to watch, more people are interested. It just adds more excitement to the whole league. Compared to England, it's not as much yet. Over in Europe, in England, they have 2 teams in the same city. So it's even more important there because ˝ the city goes for one team and ˝ the city goes for the other one. You run into people all the time so it's very important over there but it's also important here. We'll play them 4 or 5 times a season so our fans are over there, their fans come here, it helps everything if you can win the derbies.
Q: One final question, do you have any spicy quote, parting shot or a gauntlet you want to throw down to the Atlanta fans?
CG: *laughs* ……..I really can't think of anything, I'm sure you can throw in something.
Q: OK, how about I come up with something and attribute it to you?
CG: OK, but I don't want to get too much shtick in the locker room……
Q: That's good Chris, I thank you for your time. Good luck next weekend against Atlanta.