Who are you?
My name is Jay. I was president last year and one of the original 5 “Founding Fathers” of Jack’s Militia and currently a board member.
What do you do for a living?
I work for Crafty Beer Guys.
What is your background in soccer?
I’ve played soccer since I was a kid and always was a fan. I didn’t watch much soccer growing up in Maryland due to lack of broadcasts, until MLS became a thing. I instantly became a fan of DC United due to the regional affiliation. Over the years I’d watch English league games, and in time learn that growing the domestic game is something a lot of people haven’t done. Before the Independence was a thing I was only a USMNT and DC United supporter, I was a capo for the Screaming Eagles during my time in DC, as well as the president for the Queen City Outlaws for 2.5 years.
How long have you been in Charlotte?
I’ve been in Charlotte for 10 years in August. With the exception of a few years I worked elsewhere, but my heart has been here since 2006.
When the Independence announced they were purchasing the USL rights from the Eagles, what steps lead you to starting Jacks Militia?
I had heard rumblings while I was in DC that a group was going to buy the rights of the Eagles and they were using ideas that myself and other soccer fans had written up years prior. Back then we had call ourselves The Independents. So once we knew of the team and the name, we knew we had to use our Queen City Outlaws experience to build a supporters group for our new team and bring the passion that we know to the game day experience in our beloved city. Once the foundation was set, the rest has been built upon it.
If you could turn back the clock, what would be something you would do differently as President of Jack’s Militia in 2015?
There honestly isn’t much we could’ve done differently, given the circumstances. I really tried to push more involvement within the community, but timing and other variables didn’t work in our favor. But I think with what we had, we made the most of it and look to build on that.
What are you most proud of about your time as El Presidente?
The people. The team, the fans, the militia, other supporter groups they’ve been incredible in every facet. I’m glad that we have this kind of medium in Charlotte that brings out the best in people.
What will you remember most about the 2015 season?
Unfortunate things happen every day, and one significantly unfortunate thing happened in Charleston in 2015 in the week leading up to our first game against our closest rivals at Ramblewood. I was excited to show the Chucktown SG’s our new digs. But I couldn’t think about anything but that tragedy. On game day after JM had been gathered for a few hours in our tailgate spot, the Charleston SG bus pulled in. The camaraderie we have with them is unreal, especially on this day as JM offered any and all support we could give.
On top of JM and CHS showing signs of mutual respect, it was the first time that the SGs of other Charlotte sports met up. Jack’s Militia, QC Royals, Bring Back the Buzz, Hound Legion and Roaring Riot all in the same place. BBtB actually put together a bucket campaign and raised money on behalf of all of us at the stadium that day, and hand delivered it to the church that following week.
Through tears of joy(we won), compassion, and companionship it was the most surreal sporting event I’ve ever been a part of. It’ll be hard to top.
Favorite player of 2015?
I was a big fan of Alvarez in the limited time he was here.
We scored more than the one Jorge had in Beantown?
Why did you voluntarily take yourself out of the running for JM Presidency this season?
This was a very difficult decision to make. Up until the elections I was back and forth as to if I would continue to be the president or step back into more of a guidance role. Ultimately I chose to step back. As this group evolves there will be many people who will have a voice, make their decisions and change how JM works. But as the season progressed last season I noticed more the roles that individual members were having in the growth of what we were doing. When I saw Kendall’s name pop into the voting, I knew it was time. As passionate of an advocate as I’ve been for the Charlotte soccer scene, I felt as though Kendall may be more apt to charge JM forward. With the foundation I’ve left along with the other members of the board, it was time for the next step of the evolution of JM to take place.
What are you looking forward to about the 2016 season?
The three biggest competitions in our history. I look forward to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup every single year. And after the run we made last year put us on the radar, people in Boston still talk about our chants.
But more importantly I look forward the Southern Derby Cup, and JM possessing it for years to come.
What do you want to see JM evolve into this season?
In all honesty as long as the evolution remains organic, I want the group to have fun while doing it.
Do you have any specific projects you are leading for JM?
Not particularly. I’ll be involved in the community events as much as I can, and I’ll help with tifo concepts. But more than anything I encourage all members to co-lead any projects with us.
Thoughts on move to section 13?
The stands will serve us better than the beer garden could have. Though I’d like to carry the Meck Deck name with us, to commemorate whatever section we’re in.
Any players that didn’t resign that you’re sad about?
Zahorski… I’d love to see how he could play without the stigma of RF (if you don’t know who RF is, then sorry I’m not sorry).
If you could change one thing about USL, what would it be?
The way MLS uses it as a feeder league. Get rid of MLS2 teams, let teams like us be the professional organizations we’re supposed to be with the options for loaning players without the absolute of which team you’re affiliated.
Prediction for the season?
Advance at least one round further in the USOC, 2 or 3 in the east, win SDC, win the USL.