For those unfamiliar with hardcore Soccer/Football/Futbol, Supporters are the individuals you see at the stadiums playing drums, chanting, and making the entire stadium smoky after a goal. These men and women see the sport in a different light than most casual fans and, more often than not, it plays a major role in their day-to-day life.
In this series we will be learning about the Supporters who live and die the Las Vegas Lights. We will examine what brought them to Vegas and why they chose the Lights to devote so much of their lives to.
For this week’s Supporter Spotlight, we will be introduced to Nelson Verduzco, who was born in Mexico and moved to Las Vegas 15 years ago from LA to independent contractor. He’s a 44-year-old father of three whose love of football comes from his father, who taught his son the rules of the game and the passion that Supporters have for their team at an early age.
Nelson is an integral part of the Electric Company Supporter Group (ECSG). He is both a founding member and has a seat on the board of Directors. He handles the logistics for all the pregame tailgate parties, including planning, overseeing layouts, and head chef duties. Nelson is a soft spoken but open-hearted, positive person, who brings a welcoming atmosphere to the tailgates. “I love being part of the ECSG! I’ve met really good people, it’s like a big family, and it means a lot to me.”
On June 12th, tragedy struck the Verduzco House as an electrical fire gutted their entire family home. Thankfully, the family was away visiting friends at the time; unfortunately, the house was total loss. Nelson and his family were one of the first supporters to arrive to Cashman Field the following Saturday to prep the tailgate area for the ECSG and fire up the grill, as they have week in and week out of the Lights season. Nelson sees the ECSG as a way for him to decompress from the work week. “Being a supporter has changed my life, in the way that I’m stress free and have so much fun.” His dedication and love for the sport and the ECSG has not gone unnoticed. The ECSG President, Joey Martel, had this to say about Nelson: “On my first day after joining the ECSG he greeted me with open arms and treated me as if I had known him and his family my entire life.”
Nelson is the epitome of what a true Supporter is: dedicated, positive, knowledgeable, and most importantly, selfless. The Supporter mentality equates to everything for your Group, Club, and City. Nelson has embodied this mentality from day one with the ECSG through his actions for the betterment of the Supporters Group as well as the City of Las Vegas. Nelson is co-founder of the Electric Company Community Outreach Program (ECCOP), which exists to serve and better the Las Vegas Community. Most recently, the ECCOP partnered with Get Outdoors Nevada to revitalize City View Park with other volunteers.
Nelson is optimistic about the future of MLS in Las Vegas and believes that others in Las Vegas will rally behind this future team as they have with the USL version. While he supports the team and their roster as-is, he is excited about the prospect of acquiring a world-renowned player once the Lights reach the MLS. When asked who his dream Lights player would be, he replied, “The best player in the world, Lionel Messi.”
A family friend has set up a GoFundMe to aid the Verduzco family in rebuilding their lives after the house fire. If you would like to support Nelson and his family please click here.
*- Full disclosure: I am member of the Electric Company, I am not writing this series as a member of the EC but as a football fan and great admirer of the passion and indomitable spirit of those that call themselves Vegas Lights Supporters. -*
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