Wes Burdine: Red Loons started as something of a lark. In 2012 or so, I was inspired by supporters of teams like FC St Pauli and Beşiktaş. I was also coming off of being really involved with trying to lobby politicians and community members to care about the potential demise of professional soccer in Minnesota. In those days there was the Dark Clouds and that’s it. I imagined the Red Loons as a sort of Marxist faction that could marshal all that energy for creating political good in the community.
But really, a Dark Cloud named Ben Pfutzenreuter came up with a killer logo and we made t-shirts. For years, it was just a t-shirt and an idea or I guess mantra that sports, like everything else, are political and we should use soccer to create inclusive spaces (the official motto is “Soccer.Beer. Labor”). And we can use some of the pent-up energy used to yell at grown men and raise money for refugees and others.
WB: The idea of Red Loons came before the name, but after the 2012 season, I knew that the team was planning a rebrand that would likely involve the Loon identity. We pre-empted it by forming the Red Loons officially so that we would look like geniuses, which we obviously are.
WB: I have no idea, honestly. The Red Loons is still more of an idea than anything. We now are actually a group of people with membership, but lots of Red Loons still have never met. The Marxist part of it is loose. Most people in the group don’t call themselves Marxist but have deeply held progressive beliefs.
Really, I’d describe Red Loons as this: people who hold the idea that soccer can be used to uplift our community. We raise money for refugees, immigrants, and labor rights groups because they are part of the soccer community and soccer is part of our community.
WB: We’re way too disorganized to arrange our own parties, so we go to the Dark Clouds’ watch parties or we just sit on our couches, you know, whatever.
WB: See the previous answer. Someday we’ll get more organized, but for now, we don’t have a central supporters group plan. Unless someone wants to join and start organizing that. Seriously, you should do that.
WB: People can purchase official memberships from the Dark Clouds store. That comes with an exclusive scarf. And some of that money goes to our favorite charitable causes.
But really, if you want to be a Red Loon, you’re a Red Loon. We’ll send you a copy of the Communist Manifesto or something if that will make you feel more like a member.
Special thanks to Wes Burdine for answering the questionnaire. You can follow Red Loons on Twitter @RedLoons.
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