At “The Banc,” as it’s often called, much of that atmosphere starts with the “3252,” the union of independent groups of supporters that occupy the stadium’s northern end. For 90 minutes, the fans stand, cheer, sing, wave flags and, at certain moments, set off smoke displays. It’s a touch of Europe in America, with hardcore supporters giving their all to back the players. (The players always return the gesture at the end of the game, walking to the north end and applauding the fans.)
The 3252 is comprised of groups from all over the southland: There’s the Lucky Boys, a group made up of patrons of the same bar in Pasadena. There’s the Cuervos, based out of the San Fernando Valley. The Armada represents the South Bay and the area around Los Angeles International Airport. There are groups from Koreatown and the Inland Empire, as well.
That connection to the community means a great deal to LAFC forward Adrien Perez. The Ontario, California native has, throughout his playing career, suited up for Los Angeles-area teams: He played college soccer at Loyola Marymount University, then joined the lower-division Ontario Fury. Now, he’s playing for the current best team in MLS.
“It means everything to me,” he says. “Coming from the area, this is where you want to be. For anyone who has a dream of playing soccer in LA, you’d want to play for Los Angeles Football Club since they’ve been a team here. Everyone’s fallen in love with LAFC, how they incorporate everyone, try to get everyone involved — street by street, block by block.”