StartingXI: Zach Meisenheimer (Curva Collective Capo)

Posted on July 20, 2013 by

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Zach With Russell Teibert. (Courtesy of MLSSocccer.com)

StartingXI

1.) What is your favourite part about being a part of a supporters group like Curva Collective?

“It is hard to choose only one thing that I favour about the movement that is Curva Collective. The most important thing for this group of people is giving their all in support of our Club and players. We do so in ways that we feel are both quality and meaningful. There is strong a feeling amongst our people that we are not simply at the ground to watch the match, but to sacrificially support…because we believe that our support does/can/has impacted how our team performs on the pitch. The other thing that stands out for me is relationship. I believe one of the most significant parts of human existence is relationship with one another. Amongst the individuals that have partnered together to be this Collective, are many of my closest friends…some I have known for years and others I have come to know through joining together in support of the ‘Caps.”

2.) What is your favourite MLS city outside of Vancouver?

“Again “favourite” is probably not the term I would use, but I have a strong affinity for the cities that we have our fiercest derbies with. Being born and raised in Ontario, visiting Toronto means reliving parts of my best and connecting with family. Montreal is the same as it is a reasonable drive to the places I grew up. And one would be negligent if they didn’t mention Middle (Seattle) and Lower (Portland) Cascadia. It has been great to make annual trips southbound I5 since around 2005. The reason I love these four cities though is about personal connections with supporters in each one. Whether it is time spent with U-Sector, UM02, Timbers’ Army, ECS, or GFC; all have shaped me as a supporter and left me with what will hopefully be life long friendships. I have also attended matches (not all MLS) in Philly, LA, San Jose, New York, and DC. Of those NY and LA are always enjoyable because there are so many other things to do in and around them. Philly was sweet as it was the first ever MLS away match for the Club.”

3.) What do you think of this years Whitecaps team compared to the 2011 and 2012 teams?

“Football is about two things: achieving results and way you go about achieving those results. For some the former far out ways the latter, which is understandable. However, these are usually accomplished via an abundance of quality in your squad and/or a high level of confidence/morale/chemistry throughout the team. 2011 was, unfortunately lacking in all of the above. We all hoped that we had put together enough quality to be respectable and maybe even push for a place in the MLS Cup competition at the end of the League campaign. Not only did we prove to be lacking in quality, but confidence/morale/chemistry were off from the start. The Club showed a lack respect and confidence in Teitur by only giving him a one year deal and subsequently pulling the plug on him as Manager after roughly a dozen League matches. In 2012 Martin Rennie began his revolution by beginning to build his own squad and securing results. The team chemistry was thrown out of wack with the departures of Davide and Eric, but we were able to qualify for the Playoffs. In 2013, it is not hard to argue, we have done our best in all areas…in the MLS era. We have put in good performances and gotten quality results. Winning is becoming a habit and confidence is soaring. Let’s just hope we continue on the current trajectory, because it has been great to support the players and Club through such a good run of form.”

4.) Are there any standout games for you over the course of the Whitecaps’ 2 and a half year MLS history?

“The obvious answer is all of our First Kicks (2 vs. TFC and 1 vs. IMFC) and Cascadia Cup matches. My top three would have to be: 3) the massive fight back draw vs. Sporting Kansas City in our third ever MLS match. Camilo’s brace that day was unbelievable! 2) Our first MLS era Cascadia Cup victory vs. Seattle a couple of weeks ago. We didn’t necessarily play our best, but the squad did what they needed to get the result. It was also, a great match supporting the Club with Curva Collective…very memorable! 1) This is again not the best overall performance, but it would have to be this year’s First Kick, 1-0 win over Toronto. Two things that stand out about the occasion were our tifo display (here is a video of the creation and deployment of that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_zIPegqmgw) and the sole goal scorer. So many of the partners in Curva Collective gave an incredible amount of time, energy, and their talents to express our message to the players (for that match…and the entire season). Then to have my dear friend Gersh score the only goal of them match, which was a quality strike, and to be able to celebrate with him. It was an unforgettable day!”

5.) If you could be the Whitecaps manager for a day, what changes would you make?

“If it was in 2011, I would have played Phil Davies. Phil is a quality footballer who’s spirit and love for the game was crushed by our Club that year. It will be great to have him visit VanCity on July 23 for our Reserve match vs. his current side, Richmond Kickers. If it was 2012, I would have done everything possible to keep Davide and Eric. I know for many there seem to be many positives about having had the two move on, but that is what I would have done in the moment. This season, aside from making other personnel moves that could have made keeping Alain possible, I am not sure there is too much I would do differently. It would be nice to give Daigo more of an opportunity centrally in an attacking midfield role. Perhaps with Gersh and Nigel playing behind him.”

6.) Who is your favourite player of all-time?

“I would have to go with Franz Beckenbauer. Der Kaiser was someone that transformed how the game was played. He gave his all for his country and clubs…leading (and coaching) them all to massive victories! Since he stopped playing he has done a lot of giving back to football. As a manager, club administer, UEFA/FIFA executive, and of course the primary person responsible for running and bringing the World Cup tournament back to Germany in 2006.”

7.) Do you have a favourite team other than the Whitecaps?

“My first love in club football was FC Bayern Muenchen. I fell for them in 1994 following the World Cup. However, supporting local football is the only way for the supporter movement to grow and now I would consider the ‘Caps as first in my heart when it comes to club sides. When it comes to countries, Canada is my nation…and Deutschland the nation of many of my family.”

8.) If there was one thing that everyone should know about Curva Collective, what would that be?

“One thing that people should know about Curva Collective is that you are welcome to come and check things out with us at a match. If you have season tickets (or tickets for a match) and you want to support with us, just come to the front of section 203/204 and we will do our best to find space for you. If you want match tickets with us, just contact us via twitter (@curvacollective), search us on Facebook, or send us an email curvacollective@gmail.com and we’ll let you know details on joining us for a match.”

9.) How long have you been supporting Whitecaps FC?

“The first match I attended was in 2000 (during the 86er era), but I really began supporting the Club in 2003.”

10.) Which Whitecaps player signing or departure over the past 2 and a half seasons frustrated you the most?

“As mentioned above, Eric, Davide, and Alain’s departures were all frustrating in their own ways. Although it is clear to see what the Club was doing with each move, they were all painful in their own right. I would say the same for Teitur. I may not put out the same side with the same tactics as our Icelandic friend, however, he was someone who understood supporters and respected them. He will always be remembered…and celebrated for that (along with our 2008 title). I also wish that Phil hadn’t turned down Martin’s offer to return to the Club in 2012. We all saw his quality at the Olympic Qualifying last year. I really hope we get to see the best of Phil in the future and at a level befitting his gifts and talents. Our time in MLS has also claimed some quality people in the Front Office. Ryan McKee, Hillary Campbell, Roberto Cabrone, Gary Chung, Simon Fudge, and Paul Albi to name a few.”

11.) What is your favourite part of being a capo?

“The great thing about how we capo in Curva Collective is that it is done in the context of community. It is not simply the person with the megaphone leading. Massimo Cusano, who plays our drum, is probably the most significant person when it comes to leading as he is driving the tempo of each song/chant (he also actually leads some of what we do). There are also a number of other people close to the heart of the section that give input on what we should do next. Prime examples would be John Humphries and Steve Lamothe. Also, Steve’s son Koda, leads on a chant he developed last year. We call it The Koda in his honour. I would say my favourite thing about being a capo, is the opportunity to encourage others to engage with what we are doing and give their all for the Club and players.”

Extra Time

12.) What is your favourite chant to sing with Curva Collective? Can you share a few lines with us?

“We are constantly bringing in new songs/chants that we find meaningful. My favorites are the club songs, like one we call The Kai.

“The words are: Allez Allez Allez O // Allez Allez Allez O // Whitecaps FC // You’re the one for me.”

Massimo drives the pace for this chant with the drum (as with virtually everything we do), so it slows down and incorporates some overhead clapping. It then speeds up and we do some bouncing with it. There is also a time when we will have everyone sit down while singing it…only to explode again with bouncing and singing.”

13.) What is your most memorable moment while being the capo of Curva Collective?

“Every match has its memorable moments, even for a capo who doesn’t get to see much of what is going on. One of the things that is always meaningful, is seeing something new take off or catch on…both within our own people and amongst those around us. Last year it was songs/chants like The Smapti or The Kai and this year ones like The Lambada or Stand Up If You Love The Caps. It is also always enjoyable to celebrate victories…you should come and do that with us sometime.”

Thank you for the fantastic interview Zach.

Zach got the opportunity to go to Montreal to address the team ahead of the first leg of the Voyageurs Cup:

Jake Vendramin
@jakevendramin

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Posted in: StartingXI