Major League Soccer and the San Jose Earthquakes want fans -- but not the kind of fans that might possibly scare off other fans.
After the San Jose Earthquakes cracked down on its biggest fans -- telling the 1906 Ultras that the rowdy and raucous fan group, which may be connected to a "melee in Portland," can no longer hang banners at home games -- the fan group is fighting back by refusing to "sing, chant and pound drums" as it usually does "for all 90 minutes of home games," according to the San Jose Mercury News.
The silent treatment comes as the Earthquakes, who continue to "struggle" with controlling the 200-odd group of possibly-unruly fanatics while the club prepares to open a new 18,000-person stadium next year, the newspaper reported.
The new fans management hopes to attract to the new stadium need a "family friendly environment," the newspaper reported. This isn't in line with the hard-core group of passionate fans who provide atmosphere -- "a European flavor to games that's not seen in other U.S. sports leagues" -- that might bring in fans, but might also have an unpredictable streak that could potentially keep dollars away.
The restriction on banners -- and a further restriction that officially bars Ultras from attending the Quakes' Aug. 31 game against the L.A. Galaxy -- is intended to "keep a leash on supporters groups to prevent the seeds of hooliganism from sprouting," the newspaper reported.
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