As the sport continues to grow in the U.S., more and more cities you wouldn’t traditionally associate with soccer are jumping into the mix.
No team may ever draw the same attendance as the famed “Death Valley” stadium but just down the road, USL League Two’s recent newcomer Parish Athletic Club is carving out its own space in the Baton Rouge sports landscape.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is renowned for its rabid sports culture, deeply rooted in the city’s connection to Louisiana State University (LSU). Its women’s basketball team and baseball team recently won their respective championships, and its football team is always renowned for being one of the best in the country. Yet while the LSU Tigers dominate the local collegiate landscape, Parish Athletic Club is a rising soccer team bringing the beautiful game to the heart of the city.
The team’s name cleverly pays homage to the unique political setup in the region – while most places have parishes, Baton Rouge itself is a parish. It’s a nod to the team’s mission of bringing diverse communities together and celebrating what makes Baton Rouge special.
Competing in the USL League Two, Parish Athletic Club provides a platform for up-and-coming players to shine. It is also a reason why the momentum behind pro soccer in the South is so strong.
Parish Athletic Club and its supporters know that community engagement and grassroots development are vital for building a lasting soccer tradition.
“Gamedays themselves are more just the fun of hanging out and the love of seeing the sport live,” shared one Parish Athletic Club supporter. “The biggest thing is to have a group of people that I can talk soccer to when game days come up.”
So next time you’re looking for a unique spot to catch a match, head to Baton Rouge and catch some soccer in the deep south. You won’t find thousands of supporters filling the stands just yet, but you will find the early stages of something special.
As the bond between college sports and professional soccer grows in Baton Rouge, it’s only a matter of time before that famed fan experience of LSU sports trickles over to the matchdays for Parish Athletic Club.