Scouse’s House during Louisville City soccer matches at Slugger Field | Photo by James Natsis

For the dedicated fan who prioritizes soccer before God and family, a recent eight-day stretch may have been the heavenly jackpot of Michael “Scouse” Bromilow’s dreams. There were two Louisville City regular season matches, one Louisville City match in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, two podcasts produced and streamed for local soccer fans, and a UEFA Champions League Final pitting his beloved Liverpool against Real Madrid.

“I’ve been a Liverpool supporter since I was an embryo,” said Bromilow, founder, leader and namesake of the Louisville City supporter group, Scouse’s House. “Football is in my blood.”

Evan Floyd is one of the founding members of Scouse’s House and hosts the weekly “In the House” podcast for the supporter group. He says there are three goals to the podcast: 1. To make people love soccer 2. To make people love Louisville soccer. 3. To make people love Scouse’s House.

Scouse’s House takes its soccer seriously. “They’re really into understanding the game — a very welcoming group,” said Kenny Alward, a member of Scouse’s House who takes care of the marketing, website, and as he states it, “the nerd stuff!” Alward and his wife joined the supporter group about a year ago. They are “huge” soccer fans and have even been to England to watch their favorite team, Liverpool, in action.

Bottom left to clockwise: Michael “Scouse” Bromilow, Niall McCabe, Evan Floyd, Kenny Alward, Shepard Vail, Austin Buchanan, and Chas Krish | Photo by James Natsis

In addition to his regular duties, Alward produced a recent special podcast at Molly Malone’s where a roundtable of informed guests, including Louisville City midfielder, Niall McCabe, gathered for an in-depth discussion and analysis of the UEFA Champions League Final. In terms of prestige and quality of teams and players, the Champions League is arguably the world’s crème-de-la crème.

Bromilow has a genuine love and respect for the sport. He is clearly in his element when talking soccer, watching a match, and sharing any aspect of the sport that one may care to address. He and other members of Scouse’s House are the wonks of the sport. They love detail and can spend hours scrutinizing the finest elements of the game. Bromilow said they were once described by a Louisville City administrator as “the thinking man’s supporter group.”

Love makes the world go ’round
Michael “Scouse” Bromilow | Courtesy

In 1988, Michael Bromilow arrived in the U.S. for the first time as a participant in a summer exchange program. He was sent to a kids camp in Brown County, Indiana, between Indianapolis and Louisville, where he worked as a swimming teacher and a lifeguard.

There were so many guys with the name “Michael” that summer that one of the camp workers, who was originally from London, suggested that they call Bromilow “Scouse.” The term was originally applied to Liverpool sailors, due to their habit of eating scouse (a thick stew of lamb and vegetables), but subsequently applied to people from Liverpool in general.

Bromilow had a wonderful time that summer and even caught the fancy of a young Louisvillian named Kristine.

The following year, Bromilow saved his pence and purchased a plane ticket for Kristine’s birthday gift. She traveled to Liverpool where she remained for an extensive stay of six months. In August 1992, Bromilow obtained a marriage visa and left home to start a new life with Kristine in Louisville.

Community connection

Bromilow’s background in hotel management landed him a job with Marriott when he first arrived in Louisville. He was happily in love and employed, but desperate in his quest to satisfy his soccer passion.

“In 1992, if you wanted to watch soccer, it was next to impossible,” he recalls. He had to be resourceful in obtaining videos of matches from home, and reading newspapers from England in bookstores or libraries that were often more than a week old.

Kenny Alward and Michael Bromilow unfurl the Liverpool banner at Molly Malone’s | Photo by James Natsis

This system of getting his soccer fix went on for many years.

About five years ago, Bromilow began watching soccer at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub and Restaurant in the Highlands with other expats and locals who were interested in the sport. Molly Malone’s has been a popular watering hole for soccer fans in recent years. Liverpool fans are especially delighted with the fact that Molly Malone’s owner, Tadgh O’Callaghan, is also a Liverpool supporter.

During that period, Bromilow started a group called “British and Proud” in an effort to provide information and share ideas between expats who were looking for a good soccer bar, a nearby rugby team, an immigration lawyer, and other such needs. The group has grown substantially in the past few years and has around 600 members, mainly in the Louisville area.

Bromilow’s tendency to connect the international community prompted a call from the mayor’s office to encourage him to set up a table to promote British culture in the Global Village area at the city’s annual international festival, Worldfest, held on the Belvedere Riverfront Plaza.

“My passion is to educate people,” said Bromilow who has tended the table for the past five years. He encourages people to explore and seek to understand others. “People often ask which state Great Britain is in — look beyond the 50 states, see what’s out there,” he advises.

Pro soccer comes to town

Louisville City’s oldest and largest supporter group, “The Coopers,” traces its origins to postings on a Facebook board entitled, “Make Louisville an MLS Expansion City” that was launched in 2013. The group was instrumental in working with investors and the city in the creation of the Louisville City Football Club in June 2014, and its subsequent inauguration into the United Soccer League (USL) at the start of the 2015 season.

The Coopers have been well organized, passionate, and inspiring from Day 1 of the inaugural season. They hold court each home game behind the goal in the supporter section located on the south side of the soccer pitch (field). Their drumbeats and chants lift the intensity of the game and the general ambience of the stadium.

The Coopers sing “My Old Kentucky Home” at the start of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match vs. St. Louis. | Photo by James Natsis

Bromilow watched the very first game against St. Louis standing at the midway line with some friends. By the second game, they moved onto the patio deck behind the goal on the northern side of the pitch where they remained for most of the home games. At the start of the second season, they were forced off the patio deck and began watching games from the nearby Overlook Deck.

There were several small groups of regulars who stood in the same area during that time. Little by little friendships were formed. Floyd was among the group of Overlook Deck fans who noticed that the Patio Deck remained nearly empty each game serving as a catering space for small receptions from time to time.

“Scouse said we should be able to get that when we want,” Floyd recalls.

So Bromilow got to work filling out the paperwork and complying with the required steps needed to become an official supporter group. “They told me if you can get 50 season tickets you can stand on the patio deck,” said Bromilow. Scouse’s House doubled that amount by producing about 100 season ticket holders to start the third season. “I guess they thought we couldn’t do it!”

Although there are several other supporter groups for Louisville City, such as the Heretics and the Black Sheep, The Coopers and Scouse’s House are the only two that are recognized (official) supporter groups.

According to the Louisville City website, to become a recognized supporter group, any group must:

  1. Require a membership fee.
  2. Have at least 50 paid members, half of whom are Louisville City FC season ticket holders.
  3. Have an established charter and formal process for electing a minimum of five leadership positions within the group.
  4. Uphold and enforce Louisville City FC’s Fan Code of Conduct.

In the past, various groups used to tailgate in separate areas of the parking lot where the main pregame tailgating takes place. Currently, the supporters tailgate, interact, and march into the stadium together.

“This was ludicrous,” Bromilow recalls. “We all support Louisville City. If something is with Louisville City, we are all there shoulder to shoulder.”

The supporter groups were especially united in backing the new 10,000-seat, soccer-specific stadium that is slated to open for the 2020 season in Butchertown along Interstates 64 and 71.

Soccer in the house
Bromilow and son, Hayden, with Louisville City defenders Paco Craig and Kyle Smith | Courtesy of Michael Bromilow

Scouse’s House offers an alternative to The Coopers. “We are not into drums and stuff,” explains Bromilow.

He and others appreciate The Coopers but they tend to be more quiet and thoughtful in their approach to attending soccer matches. Scouse’s House members are also inclined to have a longtime loyalty to an international team in addition to Louisville City.

The group seeks to bring together members of the international community and locals that find common ground through a love for soccer. “Come out and enjoy it like you did back home,” Bromilow tells international fans.

Scouse’s House members hold watch parties at the Mellwood Tavern during most Louisville City away games. The Mellwood Tavern owner is also a Liverpool fan and a longtime friend of Bromilow.

In addition to their weekly “In the House” podcast, the group will produce a special edition in preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia that will kick off June 14.

James J. Natsis is a faculty member of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and the Coordinator of the International Studies degree program at West Virginia State University. He has chaired several committees on campus, and was appointed to the West Virginia Commission on International Education created by Governor Bob Wise in May 2003 that led to the creation of the WV Higher Education Policy Commission Internationalization Committee on which he served as a steering committee member for a number of years. He worked as a language assistant in a public French lycée in France for a year, is a former Peace Corp volunteer who served for two years in Chad, Sub-Saharan Africa, conducted his doctoral research in North Africa, and traveled the length of South America for 10½ months overland by backpack. He holds a BA degree in French, an MA in International Affairs—African Studies, and the Ph.D. in International Education from Ohio University. He has published a monograph, journal and special interest articles, a number of op-eds, and presented papers at many regional and national conferences. He first started writing as a guest writer for Insider Louisville in December 2013. He has directed grant projects in Benin, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the Czech Republic and served as external evaluator to a project in the Ivory Coast. He has also led student trips to Quebec, Canada for a number of years. He is fluent in French and Spanish and speaks several other languages. Dr. Natsis and his wife, Kenya, reside in Louisville and have two young boys, Ashton and Aidan.


Comment

Facebook Comment
Post a comment on Facebook.