Vincent Mariano is ready.
In fact, he has been ready for years.
A popular figure among the Brickyard Battalion supporters, the 17-year-old is a diehard Indy Eleven supporter and has been coming to games since the team first started playing in the North American Soccer League in 2014.
He still remembers the heartache during the ride home from New York City after Indy Eleven lost the 2016 championship to the Cosmos. And also the joy when the team won the championship the following spring season.
“It has meant a lot being a part of [Brickyard Battalion],” explained Vincent. “It has made me feel like I have a home away from home. I feel like I belong in these stands.”
Even during those early days, Vincent was a known well-known supporter among the Indy Eleven supporters. Back then, he would come to the games to cheer on the players, as well as enjoy one of his favorite gameday snacks – popcorn. Just 10 years old at the time, Vincent would finish a large bucket of popcorn each match and then stick the bucket on his head to prove his eating prowess.
Soon enough, the Brickyard Battalion supporters took notice of this frequent occurrence and one game started chanting, “Popcorn Kid! Popcorn Kid!”
Since then, the Popcorn Kid moniker has stuck.
The difference now is instead of putting popcorn bowls on his head he’s leading the supporters from the front of the stands. Still only 17, he can’t legally light the infamous Brickyard Battalion smoke but he’s ready in a few months time when he turns 18. He is also ready to step up as a full-time capo.
“The capo is his role to take over someday soon,” said William Stark, one of the current Brickyard Battalion capos who is already grooming Vincent. The two stood side-by-side in the capo stand during Indy Eleven’s recent match against Pittsburgh and their energy was infectious.
Vincent may be still learning the ropes but there’s no doubt he will soon be one of the leaders of the Brickyard Battalion.