“I’ve been watching them for three years online, following everything. I sat up until 6:00 in the morning in Spain watching the live feed from the Metro Council meeting when the stadium was finalized. I’m all in. I’m there.”
James Dean Hall has been following the club since its inception. He’s seen every match, listened to every podcast, been there for every moment, including the 2017 USL Cup victory. He’s just had one slight barrier between him and the club—the Atlantic Ocean.
Hall and his wife work for the state department and were based in Virginia, but her next assignment was set to place them in sunny Spain for three years as part of her tour. A Louisville native and long-time soccer fan, Hall had to take off before he could see his hometown club take flight in 2015 under head coach James O’Connor. However, his support never wavered. He kept up with the club’s results, off the field activities, and everything leading up to the Butchertown stadium development.
His favorite part of being a LouCity fan so far, though? Educating his father, James Coburn Hall, who fell in love with the sport on a trip to visit his son in Spain back in January 2017.
“He stayed for the full three months that’s allowed without a visa, and while he was there, we went to some games. We went to an Atletico Madrid match. He had never been to a soccer match in his life and, to put it in his words, he didn’t know what he was looking at. But, we went to the Atletico match and he just loved it,” said James Dean. “He was like ‘son, I can’t believe this! There’s so much more you can see than what’s on television.’”
The experience left a mark on his father, so James Dean suggested they travel to see the Santiago Bernabéu, the home of 12x European Cup winners Real Madrid C.F. After arriving at the Galacticos’ facility, the pair inquired about a stadium tour only to learn that Los Blancos had a match that evening. Instead of turning away the opportunity, James Coburn slapped down his credit card and purchased a pair of match tickets on the spot. It was the moment James Dean realized the World’s Game had his father as a fan for life.
“I told him you know what, you’re very lucky. You just saw two matches within a span of three or four days. You can’t get any better than that’,” said James Dean. “Later on, that week we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t know if you know this or not, but Louisville has a professional team. They’re getting ready to start their third year of play, they play at Slugger Field, and they’ve had lots of success.”
The news thrilled James Coburn, a resident of Fredericksburg, Indiana.
“I showed him some stuff online and everything, showing him tickets, and basically to wrap it all up, he ended up buying season tickets for that season! I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ He bought himself season tickets and he went to, not every game last season, but just about every single one of them with the exception of two, maybe three,” stated an amused James Dean.
“He was there for the whole thing. He was there for the 5-0 win against Cincinnati, he was there for the championship game, and everything. He loved it! I’d watch the games on YouTube at like, 3-something in the morning, and I’d call him the next day and say, ‘What’d you think about that game?’ And he’d talk about it for however long. He loves it!”
Now, James Dean is back stateside, traveling to Louisville from Washington D.C. for his first match at Slugger Field. Who better to accompany him than his father, already a season ticket holder?
“We both are! We’re both attending. Like I said, we’re in town, in the area traveling. I said while we’re here, I don’t want to miss a Louisville City FC game,” said James Dean. “We’re going to go to the tailgate this Saturday, and since I’m in town, [James Coburn] has no problem doing anything. He’ll do the whole deal. We can’t wait.”