Landon Donovan broke the internet earlier this summer with his 91st minute strike in the United States’ 1-0 win over Algeria in World Cup. Not only did his goal clinch the group and advance the U.S. to the tournament’s knockout stage, it also accounted for the second-highest traffic spike in the history of the internet, shutting down Yahoo! Sports and causing a long-term “fail-whale” on Twitter.
Many outside the soccer spectrum seemed surprised that the game could cause such a dramatic spike in internet traffic, but the internet and the tools built around it have long been utilized by soccer nerds and fanatics alike out of necessity, though I have to say I was even shocked Landon Donovan could, “break the internet”.
Two months later, I wondered how does Twitter relate to the Chicago Fire, which players use it and how do they utilize it?
I came to find out that there is a certain, almost underground @ChicagoFire Twitter Mafia that is growing in numbers every day.
What I’ve collected from my informants to date is that nine @ChicagoFire players have joined The Family, with @CalenCarr3 acting as the Godfather. The fleet-footed striker started his account before the rest of his teammates and has earned more followers than all other @ChicagoFire players.
“It was all kind of strange,” said @PattyBerron, AKA Patrick Nyarko. “Calen was the first one that started it and I think he’s probably one of the funniest people I’ve ever been around. He kept talking about it every day and I figured it would be cool to just sign up and follow him to hear the things he says away from the team. After I signed up, it kept gaining in popularity in the locker room and it’s been fun so far.”
Different people utilize Twitter in different ways and that goes the same for athletes. Having recently suffered from concussion symptoms, @PattyBerron thinks the tool has been useful in helping him get back on the field last weekend at Houston.
“I think it’s great. Most of the fans follow most of the guys. They’ve sent me encouraging messages when I was hurt or good luck messages before games. It goes a long way to pump the guys up and we can use it to thank the fans after they’ve come to watch us at Toyota Park or when they’ve supports us on the road.”
Mike Banner, a consistent tweeter in the @ChicagoFire Family, thinks players utilizing Twitter serves as an effective tool in promoting the club.
“I think its definitely good for the organization,” said @MikeyLike. “I talk about soccer, I talk about the @ChicagoFire and I think it’s a great way for fans to directly interact with us. It’s cool to see what people put up and to post the random thoughts that you have during your day.”
This all had me wondering, how often does The Family communicate with each other on Twitter and do they talk about their tweet conversations when they come into the locker room the next day?
“Definitely,” said @PattyBerron. “We’ll talk about whatever Calen said the night before, Mikey has some real interesting tweets, especially when he’s asking for the nearest Chipotle and now Peter Lowry has just joined and come along with some tweet riddles.”
WAIT! Midfielder Peter Lowry was a new member of the family? I had to discover what his Twitter handle was so I could take part in his riddles… After an extensive search, I found him @PeterLowry. Though not the greatest code name for a member of the Twitter Mafia, it’s effective – people know exactly who he is.
“I was shocked when I signed up and got that name,” said @PeterLowry. “I figured someone for sure already had it knowing there are like 150 million accounts.”
Following extensive pressure from The Family, Lowry decided to finally join while awaiting the team’s flight back from Houston last Sunday.
“A bunch of the guys on the team have been on and they talk about it all the time – I just decided to make one. I was laughing because I thought no one would follow but there have been a lot in less than a week. I make jokes and riddles – if I can chuckle and get some other people to laugh, I think it’s worth it.”
@CalenCarr3 has been welcoming of The Family’s newest member.
“Peter’s been tweeting up a storm lately,” he said. “He’s gone into full force and I think it’s good to see him up there. He’s had some twitpics of some questionable outfits lately – I’m not quite sure what that’s about. Hopefully if he gets enough responses we can help him out a bit with some fashion sense.”
Like anyone playing the "Top Dog" role in a Family, @CalenCarr3 downplays the way he utilizes Twitter.
“I don’t really know how I got started on it,” he said. “I find myself tweeting in waves – some days I’ll do it all the time and then I’ll go a week without tweeting. I try to keep it lighthearted and talk about some stuff other than soccer – the best part about Twitter has been the movie recommendations I’ve received from it, it’s been very useful in that way.”
Wink’s as good as a nod to a blind man.
Follow the Chicago Fire on Twitter @ChicagoFire.
Follow @ChicagoFire players on Twitter: Calen Carr (@CalenCarr3), Kwame Watson-Siriboe (@Kwamekazi), Peter Lowry (@PeterLowry), Freddie Ljungberg (@theRealFreddie), Patrick Nyarko (@PattyBerron), Collins John (@CJohnzz), Mike Banner (@MikeyLike), Sean Johnson (@SJohn25), Dasan Robinson (@Dae32) and Steven Kinney (@StevenHKinney).
Jeff Crandall is the Team Writer for the Chicago Fire… You can follow him on Twitter @JefeCrandall.