While Orlando City Soccer Club tears up the field at the Citrus Bowl, off the field The Ruckus Knights is spreads its purple takeover to the students of UCF.
The soon-to-be student organization isn't fully registered with the university, but with its 25 paid members already locked in, it hopes to continue growing in the coming months. The Ruckus Knights, which was established in late 2014, originated from one of the two Orlando City Soccer recognized supporter groups: The Ruckus and the Iron Lion Firm.
The Ruckus Knights President Saul Torres said he was contacted by The Ruckus president, Jerry Updike, to start a group at UCF. Torres hopes the group can gain momentum and grow among the student population. His focus is to bring the UCF spirit and presence to Orlando City.
"We already know how the student section is during basketball and football games," Torres said. "If we can get the same support for soccer, tennis, baseball, then it's not only a win for us, but a win for the area, including Orlando City."
Members pay $25 to join, and by default become members of The Ruckus for a year. With The Ruckus Knights serving as the student wing or affiliate for the larger OCS fan group, The Ruckus, students aren't required to buy season tickets. The Ruckus Knights have the benefit of buying discounted tickets to Orlando City games, which most of the time have seating in the supporters section, otherwise known as general admission.
The Ruckus Knights haven't held any meetings, but Torres said that most of the students who joined came from word of mouth, or simply being fans of OCS. His goal is to reach 100 paid members.
"It may seem like a high number, but I know we can easily reach that. The buzz that Orlando City is causing around campus, and our age group is the perfect demographic for attending games," he said. "If we expose people to the game experience, then they will be more willing to join The Ruckus Knights."
While the group awaits official RSO status, its logo has been approved by UCF. The next step is to get approved and reviewed for the Office of Student Involvement. Once it's given the go-ahead, Student Government Association reviews the group along with other committees. Then, it could take between three weeks to a month to get the group officially registered.
Updike, who is also a UCF alumnus, believes the student affiliate group will have no problem getting recognized by the school. Updike, who also came up with the idea to start the group, sees having a soccer presence at UCF as beneficial for the sport.
"We already know the age demographic of Orlando City fans are mostly students," Updike said. "I'm not a man of numbers, so I'm not worried about having a large amount of people in our group. My only goal is to get [UCF] students to enjoy Orlando City games and to partake in the fan action during games at the Citrus Bowl."
Mike Gramajo is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org