The Jacksonville Armada FC have started off its third season of existence with a new owner (the league), a new kit (its very…white) and a new home (UNF’s Hodges Stadium, perhaps where they should have been since the start), not to mention a new look roster that, under the direction of now full-time head coach Mark Lowry (the fifth club director in its short history), is 2-0 for the first time in franchise history.
While the start would seem inconsequential to an outsider who has not observed the failings of the local team over the last two-plus years, First Coast footy fans are quite excited, and rightfully so. Starting off the year with two wins, one of them coming on the road is in direct contrast to how things have gone in years past. Richard Miller and myself have discussed the shortcomings of the Armada many times on our podcast, and now the biggest question that remains is, how much does winning actually help this team long term?
We will not know the answer to that without more time, as questions remain as to stability of the NASL and who might materialize to buy the team, but for now, we can take this small sample size and see how it directly affects one big aspect: attendance. 3,472 were reported in attendance at the Armada’s home opener vs. FC Edmonton back on April 2, and since then they picked up another win against the north-of-the-border rivals last Saturday, which inspired me to poll the general public about its sentiment regarding the team heading into this Saturday’s first ever match vs. the San Francisco Deltas.
While largely unscientific, and prompting of several big Armada fans to express both pleasure with the votes and displeasure with the options, it did turn out largely as I anticipated. All three answers received similar amounts of votes, and while 84 total responses is hardly enough for me to reference as a legitimate “sample size” (my stats teachers in high school and college are cringing right now), I do feel that this is pretty representative to how the region feels in general. The diehards will be there regardless. Those that like to watch a winner have now had their interest piqued. And those that are skeptical and have remained that way from the get-go, maintain that attitude at this early point of the season.
Due to a prior sports commitment, I will not be at the match Saturday night, unfortunately. But you can bet that I will have my eye on two numbers at the conclusion of the evening: the final result, and how many people were there to witness it.
Jacksonville Armada FC hosts the San Francisco Deltas at UNF’s Hodges Stadium Saturday night at 7 p.m. Tickets are available on armadafc.com and the match can be seen on beIN Sports and THIS TV locally.