Up Close: The Hudson River Derby Trophy

It’s not always bad blood between the supporters of New York City FC and New York Red Bulls.

Okay, so maybe it is 99% of the time. But the new trophy for the Hudson River Derby is for that 1%. It’s a testament to the beauty of supporter culture, even for one of the most heated rivalries in all of U.S. soccer.

Back in 2019, the supporters of both New York City FC and New York Red Bulls came together to create a new foundation, the Hudson River Derby Foundation, aimed at maintaining the ethos of the Battle for New York. Their goal – to keep the rivalry centered around the teams and the supporters.

Explained the foundation, “Soccer is nothing without its fans. Consequently, those fans should be able to guide the narrative of this great sport.”

Because it’s created by supporters for supporters, the Hudson River Derby Trophy is a way to showcase passion in an authentic way.

“We, the fans, must write the stories,” the foundation goes on to say.

As the story goes, the New York Red Bulls had long been the Big Apple’s only Major League Soccer team. It was a founding team when the league started in 1996 and was the main event for nearly two decades. Then New York City FC came along in 2015 and forever altered the temperature of pro soccer in New York.

Today, it’s hard to imagine Major League Soccer without two clubs in the New York metro area. Since NYCFC and the Red Bulls played their first match, this fierce rivalry has received primetime billing, and for good reason. Overlooking a few troublesome supporter skirmishes, the passion on the field and in the stands is an attraction all itself.

Now, the Hudson River Derby Trophy will add fuel to the supporter fire.

Just like the Henny Derby Trophy or the Cascadia Cup Trophy, supporter-led and supporter-built rivalries are what keeps soccer authentic. And what sets it apart from other sports.

Whether it’s Major League Soccer, NWSL, or the USL, supporters drive the passion that trickles down to the pitch.