If you are new to the MLS or soccer in America in general, you might be surprised with how much you can get involved with your favorite club without having to buy season tickets. The MLS teams make it easy as possible to feel like you’re really part of the club. The league is growing faster than applications for Canadian visas so it’s the right time to get involved, especially if you’re looking to start a career in soccer media/gear/fandom/awkward staring at Andrea Pirlo. Here is the best way to get involved with your local club.

Join a supporters group

Even though you’d pay a nominal fee, this is kind of a no brainer. The officially sanctioned supporter groups associated with each club are a great way to meet people obsessed with the team. There’s usually some nice perks along with joining the group too.

Many groups’ dues come with a nice scarf right off the bat. Most will hold events where fans can interact with players or coaches and give access to discounted tickets or special tickets to away games. Every group out there holds watch parties throughout various parts of their area or at official pre-game parties at the stadium. It really is a great way to meet new people. and don’t be surprised when many of the people you meet are just as new to the club as you are. Especially if you join in on one of the many bar crawls that the clubs and supporters groups host.

If you’re interested in being the HBIC there’s ways to climb the ladder at these clubs too to have even more access to the team. For the NYCFC supporter group Third Rail there is actually a page dedicated to the positions available for members to take on to directly contribute. Many clubs also host charitable events or activities to help you get even more involved with the community.

Finally, one of the big perks of joining a supporter group is the ability to help create the tifos. If you’re unclear what a tifo is, it is the signs/banners etc. that you see in the fan sections before and sometimes during each game. They range from mild banners to absolutely ridiculous fan creations. If you’re a creative soul then this might be a great way for you to support the club. Down below are a few pics of some insane tifos from around the league.

Here’s a list of every team’s officially sanctioned supporter group(s):

There are a TON of unofficial supporters groups (such as our buddy Chicken Bucket FC or unofficial NYCFC club Hearts of Oak) and local chapters of the larger main groups, so there’s no reason not to get involved. A handy list of supporter groups both official and unofficial can be found on the MLS site here. Whatever you do, enjoy the game, make some friends, and spread love for the beautiful game wherever you go.

Seattle – Image from: SounderAtHeart.com

Sporting KC – Image via: Sports Grid

Orlando – Image via: MLS

Portland Timbers – Image via twitter @Lillard_Time