From Liverpool to Oakland, With Love

In the world of soccer fandom, passion knows no boundaries.

Such is the story of Dom Clarke, a lifelong Liverpool supporter and season ticket holder from Merseyside.

Most weekends, you can find Dom in the Kop end at Anfield watching his beloved Liverpool. But that’s not the only match he needs to catch each week. Whether it’s staying up late to watch the live broadcast or checking the replay in the morning, Dom also makes time to watch his second love – Oakland Roots.

It’s an unexpected relationship, but one that crosses sport as much as it crosses an ocean.

Dom’s relationship with Oakland began back in 1997. At the time, his sister was living in Alameda and he had made the trip from England to visit California for the first time. Naturally, Dom wanted to see what American sports were all about. He attended Opening Day for the Oakland A’s at the Oakland Coliseum, and also caught an Oakland Stompers soccer match the same week. From that point on, he was hooked. 

“There’s just something special about Oakland and the people in the community there,” explained Dom.

From its vibrant diversity and community spirit, to its makeup as a port town and even its impact on the world of music, Oakland shares so much in common with Liverpool.

In the years that followed, Dom visited Oakland annually and would rarely miss an opportunity to revisit the Coliseum to catch a game, or two. He even started to combine other cities into his U.S. trips so that he could follow the team during away games.

“I would try and squeeze in as many games as I could, while obviously maintaining the story that I was actually visiting my sister,” joked Dom. 

Trip after trip, game after game, the love deepened. Dom started running a UK fan account for the A’s on Twitter and even had an idea to combine the Union Jack flag of Great Britain with the green and yellow colors of his beloved Oakland A’s. 

“We took the new flag on holiday to the U.S. and of course we had to catch a few games on the trip,” shared Dom. “That’s when the UK Twitter account blew up. Everyone saw the green and yellow Union Jack flag and overnight we had a thousand extra followers.” 

Among those followers was Jorge Leon from the Oakland 68’s, a fan group for the Oakland A’s and Oakland Roots. Jorge sent Dom a message saying next time he was in Oakland, they needed to connect. Perfect timing, Dom thought. He was already scheduled to fly to Oakland the next day for the next A’s game on the schedule. 

That next day, Dom and his wife were eating and drinking alongside Jorge and the Oakland 68’s at their tailgate. 

“They were so welcoming. That’s not something you expect to see every day, especially if an American walked up to a group of people at a game in England. That’s why the fan culture in the U.S. is a bit different.”

Today, that connection has now grown into a strong friendship. One that is even deeper thanks to one of Oakland’s newest pro teams – the Oakland Roots. 

While baseball and the Oakland A’s have grown to become a love for Dom, soccer has always been number one. A Liverpool supporter since birth, Dom rarely misses a match. 

So when Jorge first mentioned to Dom that Oakland would be getting a soccer team, his ears perked up. Jorge shared how Oakland Roots was aiming to be a reflection of the community, something Dom was familiar with in Liverpool.

Despite the physical distance, Dom found striking similarities between Liverpool and the Oakland Roots. Both clubs embody a strong sense of community and fan-driven support. Dom’s interactions with the Roots supporters and their dedication to amplifying all voices and advocating for change resonated with his experience as a Liverpool supporter involved in the Spirit of Shankly supporters union.

Dom Clarke attending his first Oakland Roots match

So just like he did with baseball, Dom found himself falling in love with the Oakland Roots.

Unfortunately, a few pandemic-related hiccups meant he had to wait a couple of years before checking things out in person. But when he finally got to attend his first match, he felt at home.

“The atmosphere and energy was something special,” shared Dom.

Although different from the football matches he was accustomed to in England, the passionate chants, camaraderie, and sense of unity among fans reminded him of the Liverpool matches he cherished. The party-like atmosphere and the unique blend of Oakland’s culture and the Roots’ brand left a lasting impression on Dom.

Just like he did with the Oakland A’s, Dom is now managing an Oakland Roots UK Twitter account (which also includes the new Oakland Soul) and is already planning future sports…errr….family trips to catch more Oakland Roots and Oakland Soul matches. And of course a Union Jack and Oakland Roots combo flag is coming along for the ride.

Dom’s journey from Liverpool to Oakland reflects the power of fandom and the sense of belonging it brings. His love for Liverpool FC and the Oakland Roots transcends geographical borders, driven by the shared spirit of community, passion, and unwavering support.