Attending a Purdue soccer game offers many sights: Folk Field glistens in the sun with Alexander Field hiding in the background; fifth-year senior forward Sarah Griffith dances and makes defenders look silly; senior goalie Marisa Bova stands in her goal wearing her blinding neon green goalie jersey.
With another glance around the stadium, one will notice Bova isn’t the only one in neon green. Cheering in the stands or behind the opposing team’s goal, a new student group called the Folk Field Fanatics supports the Boilermakers with all its heart.
The Fanatics first came together this year after an intense home opener against Kentucky.
Freshman Polytechnic Institute student Jeffrey Watts said he has been a huge soccer fan his entire life, even going to games for the Colorado Rapids in Denver. Once he and his buddies witnessed the electric atmosphere against the Wildcats, they started regularly attending.
“We really get after it at the soccer games,” Watts said. “We love supporting the team.”
The energy at that game came as a pleasant surprise for College of Engineering freshman Conor Keough, who wasn’t a soccer fan in high school.
“I feed off of energy, and the Folk (Field) Fanatics have some of the highest levels of energy,” Keough said.
Their distinctive neon construction vests stem from other members who are all studying professional flight like Watts. The vests are required when out on the runway at the Purdue airport. Keough came up with the idea one day while sitting with his fellow fanatics.
“I was like ‘These things have a Purdue P on the back,’” Keough said. “These are so cool, why don’t we wear them to games.”
The recognizable look makes them stand out in the crowd. They plan on wearing the vests into Mackey once the Purdue Basketball season starts.
Not only are the Fanatics loyal, they also travel, making the 90-minute drive to an away game at Illinois on Thursday.
“It feels like we are more a part of the team, a part of the game,” Watts said.
For the team, it’s an amazing feeling to have such a strong fanbase.
“Having that type of support, especially for women’s soccer, is unbelievable,” senior midfielder Teagan Jones said.
For this group of fans, it is much deeper than just a game, bringing them closer together and closer to the team.
They are always welcoming new members that feel like they want to join. Fans can follow and dm their Instagram “folkfieldfanatics.”