INDIANAPOLIS — The chants and cheering start before the first whistle and they continue, without barely even taking a breath, for the next 90 minutes.
Welcome to the Brickyard Battalion, the hardiest of the die-hard fans for the Indy Eleven.
"We are a passionate family," Katherine Reed said. We have each others' backs and we have the team's backs. It's been great to see them gel on the field and in the locker room. The team has great morale. We feed off of that, and they feed off of it as well."
Now the Battalion have become an important part of a true homefield advantage.
"We make noise for our team. I go to other games, and I don't know what to do with myself," William Stark said. "They do the same chants over and over. This is so weird. I come here, and it's like home. This is like my family when I'm here, and just ready to go. It's exciting. It's the best."
The players say they feed off the crowd's energy, too, and it's shown. The Eleven are undefeated at home this season.
"The energy that the crowd gives us, gives us more in the game," Indy Eleven captain Matt Watson said. "The confidence of not losing at home, you feel like you're not going to lose. We've made it like a fortress and that's how we intend to keep it."
All the chants, the songs, the cheers? Yes, there's a bit of a script, but even if you're a newbie, it doesn't take long to get in on the fun.
"We would like to see some new people jump in there and I'm like, 'OK, have at it,'" Vincent Mariano said. "I remember the first time I was in that section. I didn't know what I was doing. Just go with it."
And with the playoffs approaching at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at IUPUI's Carroll Stadium, they'll have at least one more night to cheer on their beloved team.
"Even in the 89th minute if we're down a goal, they're giving it their all," Reed said. "So I feel like we help them out. We're their 12th guy."