Of all of the things that make a futbol match transcend almost any other sporting event on the planet it is the unique style of fan involvement that is unparalleled in the sports world. The singing, the streamers, the flags, & the flares combined with the on-field choreography can can create an atmosphere so intoxicating it can take spectators to unthinkable heights (and sadly, unspeakable lows) while creating an insurmountable cauldron of intimidation for the away team.
Supporters clubs, so often the spearhead in the spread of this passion, are a vital part of this fan culture. While tradionally these groups are formed organically, as of late clubs the world over have begun to actively promote "official" supporters clubs. The MLS is no different and yesterday the Colorado Rapids announced their "official" club, benefits of which include apparel, members-only events with the team & coaches, soccer clinics, giveaways, a banquet, discounts, and "the privilege to have in the stadium specific items that are banned elsewhere in the venue, such as banners, flags, flags on sticks, noisemakers, drums, etc. " amongst other things.
Should clubs go as far as to manufacture their own groups in lieu of homegrown supporters clubs? You could argue that some teams have a marginal supporters group and need all the help they can get. On the other side of that is that the supporters group will be subject to the rule and whim of their respective teams front office.
What do you think? The ball is in the air, comment below.