Triumph for Greenville Soccer Fans

The Greenville Triumph brings excitement and a new dimension to the entertainment in Greenville, South Carolina (Photo courtesy of Doug Erwin).

John Harkes

The Greenville Triumph brings excitement and a new dimension to the entertainment in Greenville, South Carolina (Photo courtesy of Doug Erwin).

The world’s most popular sport has been played since the second century, according to the World Atlas. Today around half of the world’s population considers themselves “soccer fans.” Soccer has many effects on a community and now Greenville is getting the chance to feel some of those effects with the addition of their new soccer team, The Greenville Triumph. The Triumph hopes to become a source of pride for the people of the Upstate and have significant impact on the Greenville Area.

The Greenville Triumph has already released the logo for the team and the team’s colors. The team’s colors are Navy Blue and Green. The logo for the team shows the Blue Ridge Mountains with the Reedy River winding in between them. The logo and the colors were announced on August 9, 2018. The team name was announced on a later date, but to the team it has a deeper meaning.

“[Greenville Triumph] was chosen because we felt it reflected the spirit of people in Greenville and the Upstate to overcome obstacles, like the decline of the textile industry, and reinvent the city and region into one of the most desirable areas in the country. It also speaks to the unification and shared motivation to triumph over adversity on and off the field,” said Vice Chairman and Chief Brand Officer Doug Erwin.

A main goal of the team is to be community focused. They have already begun to make a positive change in the community by having a soccer camp for kids. In fact, the goal of being community focused is so important to the owners of the Greenville Triumph that they consider the goal of every action to make a positive change in the Upstate.

“It’s something that’s going to impact the organization every day. As we build out our front office staff, technical staff and even our player roster, we’ll look for people that see the bigger picture of this, not just being a sports team but an organization looking to make positive change in the Upstate,” said Erwin.

The owners of the Triumph also want the team to be a rallying point for the community of Greenville. Greenville has had an attempt at a professional soccer team in the area before, the Greenville Lions. However, the Greenville Triumph hopes to be different, basing their organization off of Atlanta United, which has had great success recently in Georgia. Even though Atlanta United is far from what is considered popular soccer in the United States, the team has recently set a Major League Soccer (MLS) record of 46,318 fans per game. This record also beats records in the MLB, the NBA, and the NHL. The franchise is also in contention for a title in the MLS, so modeling after Atlanta United isn’t a bad plan.

“Obviously what Atlanta United has done has been incredible, and we were able to meet with members of their organization and hear a bit about the effort that went into their buildout. We hope we can take some of those lessons and apply them here as we build the Triumph out,” said Erwin.

The team could very well be a new era of entertainment for the Greenville area. Soccer is a very popular sport for youth to play in South Carolina and targeting youth is exactly what the Triumph plans to do. By using the interest in soccer, the Triumph hopes to build a young, faithful fanbase for the team bringing a draw to the city.

“The new team shows that we have a diverse audience of fans in our city. I hope that it brings more new people to enjoy everything Greenville has to offer.  We have always had a lot of people interested in playing soccer in Greenville. The new team gives us another great family friendly event that promotes health, fitness and fun,” said Greenville Mayor Knox White.

Greenville could also see the impact of the Greenville Triumph through urban development. With new businesses deciding where to build their next location, the Triumph could provide a key role in attracting businesses. These businesses could lead to more diversity and also more ticket sales for games.

“New businesses always help strengthen our diversity. More diversity means more ticket sales and more fans to encourage the great players,” said Mayor White.

The team has also added their first head coach in the history of the Greenville Triumph. The new head coach of the Greenville Triumph is the former FIFA World Cup Captain and former US Olympian, John Harkes. Harkes has coaching experience, in addition to time as a player and as a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Harkes was recently the head coach of a division two soccer team, FC Cincinnati. Harkes was also a commentator on ESPN.

“I feel like that’s a good move to have a coach that has so much experience such as him. I think that can make the team better,” said sophomore Ethan Reid.

With almost everything else lined up, the Greenville Triumph still needs a roster and a stadium to play at. The team will start their first season at Eugene Stone Soccer Stadium in Furman, which holds roughly 3,000 people. The stadium for 2020 has yet to be announced. There is not a set date for tryouts but they could be held as early as this November. The soccer fans in Greenville will get their first look at the Triumph when the season begins in the MLS Division Three inaugural season in 2019. This season is eagerly awaited by the Greenville community and fans.

“Go Triumph!” said Mayor White.