Jordan Hale has had season tickets to Sacramento Republic FC games since they were first offered. But nothing says you are a diehard supporter like getting a tattoo.
Hale and five other supporters, all members of the Tower Bridge Battalion, got inked Friday night with the Battalion’s logo. The Tower Bridge Battalion is the unofficial yet very vocal and boisterous supporter group of the Republic FC. The group offered a ticket to Saturday’s sold-out USL Pro championship match at Bonney Field to anyone who would get the Battalion’s logo tattooed somewhere on their body. No one without a ticket came forward to get inked so Hale and the others earned an extra ticket to watch as Republic FC hoisted the USL Pro trophy after a 2-0 victory.
Hale, an East Sacramento resident, said he already has a huge Dallas Cowboys tattoo on his back, so going under the tattoo gun for an approximately 3-inch logo on his upper right arm was no bother.
“The Cowboys have been around since 1960 and the Republic FC have been around a year, but now I have tattoos of both teams so that tells you a little something about my love of Republic FC,” Hale said. “We can’t lose because we’ve already won. No one expected us to be playing for the title in our first season. We’ve shown we’re built for (Major League Soccer).”
As Hale prepared for the Battalion’s march into Bonney Field and their seats in the north end, Republic FC co-founder and President Warren Smith arrived at the Battalion’s pre-game watering hole at the Cantina on the grounds of Cal Expo. Smith saw Hale, asked about his red and puffy Battalion tattoo, and when he found out he got it 24 hours earlier, Smith bent over and kissed the right arm directly on the Battalion logo.
The cup doesn’t run over, yet – Saturday marked only the fourth USL Pro title game, so the championship trophy doesn’t have a name. The trophy isn’t perpetual like the NHL’s Stanley Cup, so the Republic FC will get to keep it in the office trophy case.
The trophy doesn’t have a storied history like the Stanley Cup, which has seen magnums of champagne poured into it and passionately guzzled by winning players. The USL Pro trophy has a lid so nothing will be poured into it. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be doused during a celebratory toast.
“I spent some time with the Stanley Cup when I worked for the Tampa Bay Lightning,” said USL Pro director of communications Jay Preble on the pitch before the game Saturday. “There are a lot of stories about what has been done to and with the Cup. I know the Lightning put a few dents in it.”
Preble said the USL Pro trophy took a tour Saturday that visited the state Capitol, a pickup soccer game downtown and a downtown Irish pub.
Maybe the lid needs to come off?