Name: Jonathan Duren (Or, Dynamo haha)
AO Chapter: Raleigh
When did you become a member? 2013
Tell us something you’ve done with an AO friend that wasn’t soccer-related? I’ve got a lot of memories with my AO family including New Year’s Eve nights and birthday parties. One thing that I’ve been doing recently with Eboni (our chapter president) is what we call Pack-To-Back when we find back-to-back nights were NC State and the Hurricanes play and that’s always an enjoyable time. One of my best memories is when we went with the local NCFC supporters group to a Hurricanes game and we called it Oak City On Ice, and basically filled the arena with a soccer-style atmosphere which was an immense amount of fun.
What goal incited your craziest celebration? What was your celebration?
Of course everyone remembers John Anthony Brooks’ immortal goal against Ghana, but my most memorable celebration came during the Portugal match. When Dempsey scored the goal to put us up 2-1 while everyone around me went up from their seats I sunk to the ground to my knees, and the next thing I know I’m getting lifted off the ground by one of the tallest people in the bar and he gives me the biggest bear hug and I let out the biggest yell and it was an amazing feeling.
What are your weird game day superstitions?
I don’t really have any superstitions, but I have gotten into a habit of listening to Situations by New Found Glory as the last thing before I get into the stadium just to get myself in an amped up mood haha. I always like to settle into a high energy mood on the way to the tailgate and ride that energy into the game to have a fun match.
How did you first get involved with AO?
I joined in 2013 when I was fairly new to the area in Raleigh, fresh out of college. I was looking for ways to socialize and I’d already been a USA supporter watching the women win World Cups, and having *that* Confederations Cup Final against Brazil burned into my memory, and I found out that there was going to be a group of people watching qualifiers for that 2014 World Cup, and there were free pint glasses involved so I was there.
What is on your wish list to do or experience with US Soccer?
My wish list includes seeing either the MNT or WNT play a qualifier or a Cup match, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that soon!
Who do you most admire/who is your favorite player?
As someone that comes from Illinois, former Chicago Fire player Damarcus Beasley is one of my all-time favorites. When he captained the Gold Cup winning team in 2013 and came back for the qualifier last year I was so thrilled to see him on the field repping the red, white, and blue.
What do you want to get from this community?
I’m already getting a lot of what I want out of the community, just a great family atmosphere and a great amount of camaraderie when we get together for any event. Whether it’s a match, a night before party, or a fundraiser, or really anything. Any time we get together it’s always an enjoyable time.
What was the happiest moment as an AO member?
Winning the 2015 World Cup, hands down. Watching Carli Lloyd put on an absolute goal-scoring clinic in an absolutely packed bar with beer flying through the air each time we hit the back of the net setting up an eventual giant party was so much fun. Post-match victory fireball shots (which became a staple that World Cup), and singing “What’s Up” by Four Non Blonds with so many friends was an absolute joy.
What is your most impactful memory with AO?
When we held a fundraiser for Orlando after the Pulse Nightclub shooting. We’re more than just a supporters’ group who get together and party and get loud for our national teams, we’re a group of people who come from all over, and as one can make a difference in our communities and abroad. AO is for everyone, and I’m glad to be a part of this community.
How far have you traveled for a US Game?
My job unfortunately doesn’t allow much travel for me, so really just the short distance to Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park for me.
What do you want to do or experience more then anything in the next 4 years?
I’d really love to experience a World Cup qualifier, as the women make a charge for another title and the men make their way back to the World Cup!
I guess the last thing I’d like to add is that I just love being a part of this community. I’ve made so many friends at watch parties just getting together and sharing the common bond of supporting the USA, and then forming friendships outside of that as well. These past years have been incredible for me.