Two of the best soccer players at Rio plan to be doing everything they can to help the team win–by cheering from the sidelines.
Seniors Mackenzie Harrington and Tomas Buchmiller founded and lead the Rio Ultras to support the soccer team.
“This group is entirely homegrown, started from scratch and is building up’” Harrington said. “Without outside help it will be tough to become (as big as) the Rowdy Raiders, but that is how we want to do it.”
Normally, the two standout athletes would be playing on the varsity squad, but they have been selected to play for Sacramento Republic FC Academy.
The academy is a highly competitive youth feeder program designed to develop players for the Sacramento’s minor league team. Academy, which draws from the best talent in the area and travels extensively, forbids their players from playing high school at the same time as their academy season.
While Harrington and Buchmiller may hope to some day play for Sac Republic and higher level teams, their idea for Rio Ultras came from Sac Republic fans.
“Our inspiration comes from the great support Sac Republic has, with their cheering section, Tower Bridge Battalion,” Harrington said. “Every game they are loud, energetic, and it really fuels the team and brings a great vibe to the games.”
Harrington wanted to recreate that special feeling he had at games and give something back, thus sparking the fuse to create this group.
“Tomas and I would sit in the car on our way to Republic training and asks ourselves if there was a way to still be a part of Rio Soccer,” Harrington said.
Aside from the motivation and intensity it gives players, cheering sections appeal to fans as well.
“It brings the community to Rio, a new one, with the Rowdy Raiders already in place, but soccer specific”, Harrington said.
One of the ways the Rio Ultras have reached out to their students was with their Instagram and Twitter accounts. Artistic posters and banners were crafted by Buchmiller. The main symbol for the Rio Ultras is a skull with a tapered soccer haircut, poking fun at the stereotype that all soccer players have the same hair style.