Zach Zwadzich: Why I'm Flock End
The great Scottish player and coach Jock Stein once said, “Football is nothing without fans.” Presenting #WhyImFlockEnd: a weekly series highlighting members of Forward Madison FC’s Independent Supporters Association, affectionately termed The Flock.
I was born and raised in Madison and grew up in Fitchburg. I played soccer and baseball as a kid most summers for rec league so nothing too serious and mostly for fun. Baseball was the sport my parents always pushed me the most the play as was the case for most parents but I always enjoyed soccer just as much. I even remember as a kid going to Breese Stevens with my soccer team when I was about 8 years old to see the Badger men’s team play and speak to us and many other youth soccer teams after a game.
When I really started to get into soccer was about 13 years ago. I became friends with a guy who grew up in Manchester, England. He and his family were lifelong supporters of Manchester United, and lived just a mile away from Old Trafford. So I slowly started to follow the team and watch matches more closely as my friend started to follow baseball and the Milwaukee Brewers. In return we would teach each other about the sport and our teams. The more I watched and followed United the more I gained love and passion for the sport as a whole. It was the same obsession I knew already for the Brewers, who I’ve followed basically since I was born. I owe my love and knowledge of soccer and the history of the sport to that friend, who still to this day keeps me up to date on United team news and soccer news in general. The community and tradition really made me appreciate the game and see the same passion and love for the sport experienced by so many around the world.
I believe there is no better time than now for Madison to have a professional sports team and no better sport than soccer. We already have Mallards baseball and the Badgers, which take up a large amount of the sports scene here. This is the world’s game and to have it on the professional level will be great for Madison. The city is very diverse already so it is going to be special to see people from many different backgrounds come together and support Forward Madison while bringing their culture and traditions with them.
What makes you excited to be a part of The Flock this year?
Being a part of The flock this year is exciting because it’s the first year and what we achieve this year and set up will be the foundation to something great that will be around as long as the team is. I’m excited to help shape The Flock’s identity and purpose: support for the club and the community. We’re coming together as one from different backgrounds, and for many of us who are fans of other clubs, we finally get to support our local team together.
Who's your all-time favorite footballer and why?
My all time favorite player is Wayne Rooney as cliché as that is from a United fan. He’s the one that stands out to me. I got the chance to see him play in Chicago with United against the Fire in a match in July of 2011. I had always watched him and admired his level of play and style when it came to scoring goals and being a real leader on the team. To see him in person I was just in awe and couldn’t believe he was right in front of me kicking the ball about.
What are you looking forward to most about Forward Madison's inaugural season?
I’m most interested to see how Madison as a community and city responds to the first season for the first ever pro team and how they embrace the sport of soccer and the culture that comes with it.
What aspect of soccer supporter culture would you like to see in the Flock End?
I’m most excited to see the same supporter culture I’ve seen elsewhere, from MLS clubs to EPL and other European clubs. My hope is we can bring that same kind of atmosphere to Breese Stevens; our guys will feel lifted and the opposition will be intimidated. Breese Stevens should be a place where no opposing team wants to play. We’re talking hand made tifos, banners, songs and chants all 90 minutes long.
I’m Flock End
because I’m excited to help shape The Flock’s identity and purpose: support for the club and the community.
Favorite place to hang out with friends in Madison?
On a summer night, nothing beats a pitcher of beer at the Union listening to live music and just hanging out relaxing with Friends.
Best vacation you've ever had?
New York City January 2010. Getting to climb up the Statue of Liberty on my Dad’s 71st Birthday. I have a fear of heights so to see my Dad light up and smile as I joined him at the top is unforgettable. NYC as a whole is a great place to visit for a few days.
What song or album is on your heavy rotation right now?
George Ezra - Staying at Tamara’s. I’ve been playing that in the car and at work all the time as of late.
What's your favorite or most memorable soccer match that you've been to?
My most memorable match would have to be USA Vs. Mexico in Columbus November 11th, 2016, even though we lost in the last minute of extra time 2-1. It was my first experience standing in the American Outlaws section for a game. My second time seeing the US men’s team play. Ill never forget it; the atmosphere was electric throughout the game. From the tifo unveiling at the beginning, to chanting throughout the game and never sitting down. We even still chanted and supported the team after we had lost as well. It made me realize I always want to be in the supporters section if I can for a soccer match.
Which of the Forward Madison players announced so far are you most excited to see play?
I am really looking forward to seeing J.C. Banks play. It will be exciting to see what kind of energy and experience he brings to the team from his past experience here in the state and with Minnesota United when they were in NASL.