Sunday, December 5, 2021

Red Cedar Rowdies section gives men’s soccer an edge

One of the newest student sections raises the level of energy for DeMartin Stadium

September 26, 2019
A Red Cedar Rowdies member celebrates after catching a shirt from the fan shirt toss during the game at DeMartin field on September 24, 2019. The Spartans lost to the Fighting Irish 0-1.
A Red Cedar Rowdies member celebrates after catching a shirt from the fan shirt toss during the game at DeMartin field on September 24, 2019. The Spartans lost to the Fighting Irish 0-1. —
Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

With every Spartan team comes their supporting cast in the stands. Football has their student section, basketball has the Izzone and hockey has the Munnsters.

Soccer has something a little different.

The Red Cedar Rowdies are one of the Spartans’ newest student sections. They pride themselves on being student-led, organized, fun and uncensored.

After starting with just a small group of people, the Rowdies have gotten a little bigger each year, and the lead role has been passed down over time to students who show out for the Rowdies and the soccer team.

This year, one of the co-leaders is senior Nicholas Tyler, who, after playing soccer in high school, decided to start attending the soccer games. After working his way up to the front, he has been a leader ever since.

“I think in 2011 some guy just kind of realized that our team was way too good not to have a student section and started out by just going around and banging on people’s doors in his dorm,” Tyler said. “Over time, we’ve passed it on student to student. Anyone who has a passion for this sport and for this team especially has really just taken over, and it’s growing year after year.”

The principles of the Rowdies haven’t changed much over the years. Although they are bigger now and set off smoke bombs with each goal, their number one objective is still to give their team an edge.

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“MSU’s one and only student section, supporter section for Michigan State men’s and women’s soccer games. We just gather around, get rowdy for each game, try to help out the team any way we can,” co-leader Mathew Bluestein said.

Standing out from the rest of the student sections is something the Rowdies are good at. Being student-led, with much less input from the school, they have many more freedoms that other student sections normally wouldn’t have.

“We’re more uncensored than the other (student sections). ... We spend a lot of the game just having fun, being a normal soccer section like you’d see anywhere else in the world. Making fun of the players, making up the most random and fun chants, just really having energy the entire time. … (We) just make ourselves act like idiots and have a great time with it,” Tyler said.

The Rowdies can make the games hectic. Raising the energy level of DeMartin Stadium, and bringing all the trash talk they can, the group has successfully made it a tough environment for visitors to play in.

“We definitely bring a level of energy,” Bluestein said. “We’re right on top of the players, so they can hear us. The other team can hear us. We trash talk the other team. We get underneath their skin. We’ve been told after games by other players that they don’t like playing here.”

The energy and support from the Rowdies hasn’t gone unnoticed. Year after year, head coach Damon Rensing has sent his praise to the group. The Rowdies show up at every home game, and the impact is not forgotten by Rensing.

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“Rowdies were awesome. … They were incredible from start to finish. It felt like I was in a small European stadium,” Rensing said after a game against Washington on Sept. 6, pledging to buy them pizza at the next game.

Being uncensored and free, the section is something that Tyler thinks more people should know about and would have a great time if they did. Between the game, the chants, the energy and the atmosphere, the Rowdies have created an environment that is exciting and appealing.

“People need to know that it’s here, and when you come here, whether you care about soccer or not is beyond the point, because I guarantee that people that come here all the time aren’t always major soccer fans. But you’re going to have fun if you come here, no matter what. If you actually just let yourself get into the energy and just enjoy the time, you’re gonna have a blast,” Tyler said.

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The Red Cedar Rowdies are still looking to get bigger each year. In the past few years, they have worked more with marketing, adding t-shirts, flags and smoke bombs.  

The section is still lesser known than most, but still manages to pack the stands each game and make it a fun and welcoming environment to anyone who has yet to come.

“It’s a little pocket of campus that a lot of people don’t know about when they come here, but once they realize what it is, it’s incredibly exciting. Win or lose, we always have fun,” Tyler said.

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