Originally from Detroit, I moved to Sacramento when I was very young and was raised as a proud Sacramentan. The pickings were slim in the early 90s in terms of professional sports franchises in the area and the Kings, who moved to the area the same year I did, were the natural choice in terms of fandom. However, like pretty much every other kid growing up in the area, I played soccer at various levels throughout my youth life.
The spark that really started the fire of my soccer passion was the 1994 World Cup, which was held in the United States. I remember, likely for the first real time, feeling proud to be an American. The pace and play of the Brazilians in that World Cup, however, is what ensured I would be a lifelong fan of the sport. Seeing the contrast of Italy's agony and Brazil's ecstasy after that famous penalty shootout in the Cup finals was something I will truly never forget. Even to this day when I see a misplaced shot on goal from a team of any level, I think quietly in my mind "Baggio."
The brief existence of the Sacramento Knights, the indoor soccer club that graced our city for far too short a period, was really the only time prior to the birth of Republic FC that I felt a combined connection both with soccer and the Sacramento area. I am fairly certain that anyone who attended Knights games growing up found them to be about as much fun as could be had.
My fandom grew and diversified as I became borderline obsessed with the video game FIFA Soccer. I became an immediate fan of Chelsea FC in the English Premier League and even developed a love for a tiny lower-division English club known as Torquay United.
The fandom of those two clubs sustained me until the day I heard Sacramento was getting a professional soccer franchise. Given the negative and uncertain plight of my beloved Sacramento Kings at the time, the announcement of the Republic's formation was a much needed breath of fresh air. Being able to watch the overwhelming support that the area has supplied the club, as well as the success that the team itself has found on the pitch, has truly been one of the most unique and amazing things I have witnessed as a sports fan.
I look forward to the coverage we at ICS will provide to the growing Sacramento Republic fandom and am, in all honesty, honored to be a part of it. You can expect to see a writing style that I would describe as being quintessential "analytical fan" and will likely be covering the whole spectrum of possible subjects. I can be reached on twitter @JTShunta or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any questions,suggestions, or gaming requests to be dominated in FIFA that anyone may have.