The History of The Borough Boys
By Nick Laveglia (Borough Boys President) and Leo Glickman (Borough Boys Government Liaison)
Though they hadn’t met until October, the Borough Boys movement was started on June 17, 2007, when the first serious potential investor group publicly announced an interest in establishing a New York City MLS franchise. It was on that day that the process of finding one another began.
After a short time of discussion and logistics on soccer-oriented message boards, a group of fans decided they wanted to see if they could create a grassroots movement to help bring the beautifulgame to the city. The first order of business as a group was to give ourselves a name. We solicited ideas for names, with the only rules that it be reflective of soccer traditions and New York City. We held a vote for the best name, and on November 17th, 2007 the “Borough Boys” were born.
Then on a cold Saturday afternoon, a substantial group gathered in a pub off Queens Boulevard to discuss professional soccer in New York City. We met, all of us from very different backgrounds and walks of life brought together by our passion for soccer and commitment to the City we love. In other words, it was a typical soccer story, a typical New York story.
We started by spreading the word. We went to our favorite soccer bars and soccer fields, spoke to people, had them sign a petition and almost everyone agreed “why isn’t there pro soccer in New York City?” Soccer, singularly among American sports, is a grassroots sport. We knew we had to build a local constituency around the idea of soccer in NYC.
But we also knew we had to create a buzz in the media, and get all the stakeholders together to talk soccer. Nothing is more deadly in a big project than inertia. So the Borough Boys started by putting together potential investors and government officials. We started in early 2008 by meeting with the top economic development brass at City Hall. We gave them demographics and all kinds of data showing why soccer would be a big success in our City. We talked possible sites for a stadium, and in the end, we were thanked for putting soccer back on the City’s agenda.
As the Borough Boys continued their efforts, lightning struck! Following up on a rumor that the Cosmos were purchased by Paul Kemsley, we wrote an open letter, imploring the Cosmos to bring MLS to NYC. The Cosmos let us in, and we pledged our support. We salute the Cosmos team for always, ALWAYS, respecting the Borough Boys – the fans really – and understanding what the fan base means to a soccer team.
All along, we continued to grow, starting a web site, blog and building our mailing list so that we reached multiple hundreds of soccer fans directly with our newsletter and working on media efforts to reach the many thousands of core soccer fans in the metropolitan area.
As our goal of an MLS team coming to New York seems more and more likely, the Borough Boys are working to create a real soccer culture around the team. Yes, we cannot wait to stand and sing when the team runs out on the pitch for the first time. But for the Borough Boys, it’s always been about so much more than that. We foresee a game day experience second to none not just in theU.S., but the world, where a real soccer community near the stadium is constantly engaged. And we foresee a team, and a league, that considers and seeks the input of the hard core soccer fan base in our city. We again salute the Cosmos for sharing that vision with us.