(by Paul Nelson ksl.com 7-2-13)
Could Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer issue sanctions against their own fan groups? It's a possibility if fans keep yelling a certain chant.
It's a chant that has been going around MLS for years.
The goalkeeper for the opposing team sets up a goal kick and the crowd yells, "You suck (expletive)."
"We think we're classier than that," said Trey Fitzgerald, communications director for RSL.
"Our fans are better than that."
The "YSA" chant didn't start in Utah, however. Fitzgerald said it can be heard in other states and other countries, but MLS has been trying to put an end to it for some time.
"It has been a constant dialogue amongst all the teams in all the stadiums for two years, at least, since the league started developing and enforcing this fan 'code of conduct,' " Fitzgerald said.
The last straw for MLS was when Rio Tinto Stadium hosted a World Cup qualifying match June 18.
Fitzgerald said the chant could be heard on national television in the U.S. and over 100 countries all over the world.
Many people voiced disappointment over social platforms, like Twitter, after hearing it. Following that, Fitzgerald said MLS stepped up their involvement in getting the chant banished. However, Salt Lake City isn't the only city being called out on this.
"The same thing is happening in New York and in Philadelphia," Fitzgerald said.
"It has happened in Seattle. It has happened in San Jose."
Fitzgerald said the chant, as minor as it may seem to some, has become a source of contention for fans. And whatever side RSL takes, some people are bound to be upset. Some parents have made it clear to RSL officials they don't want their kids hearing it.
At the same time, Fitzgerald believes it will be hard to regulate a fan's language.
"There are people that want to cancel their tickets over it," he said.
"There are other people that (might) cancel their tickets because we're trying to control what they view as free speech."
Supporters groups, like Section 26, have been sent a letter saying attempts to get the chant to stop have regressed since last season.
Supporter groups have until Aug. 11 to make improvements. If the group doesn't at least try to cooperate, a series of escalating sanctions may be levied against them.
"You're not being picked on; you're not being isolated," Fitzgerald said.
"You're being asked to be part of the solution; you're being asked to come up with something better."
Supporter groups that use this chant are wanna-be hooligans, and RSL has a lot of them. Even since the early days we had a lot of punks in the stands and some of them have gone off and made their own little supporter groups.
Give them a chance to fix the problem. The FO needs to go to them in person, talk to them and ask them to make the change. Let them know though if they don't they will be banned from the stadium.
If they keep doing it after the warning then ban them. RSL will survive without them and their childish chants.
Welcome to the RSL Cup blog
I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996. Lately however I've started to worry about the path MLS is taking and the poor decisions they are making that in my mind threaten the growth of soccer as a whole in the US. (see "Columbus conspiracy" section) Soccer in America will grow only when we have a vibrant and diverse minor league system, something that MLS seems to be smothering at the moment. (see "American soccer wars" section) Let's keep our eyes on the situation and hope for the best, a future where grass-roots soccer and the minor leagues can not only exist but flourish, as well as where the contributions and history of the league's early clubs are appreciated and preserved.