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St. Charles FC supporter group brings fan culture to pre-professional leagues

By Staff, 05/10/24, 2:45PM EDT


The Mudpuppy Ultras prepare for 2024 following inaugural season

Joe and Christine Miller were on vacation in Germany last spring when they encountered a small Bavarian town named Mistelgau. The local seventh-tier soccer club, SV Mistelgau, was playing in a match, so the couple joined the rest of the village walking over to watch. They were immediately enthralled by the environment. 

Joe recalled the simplicity of the match, how there were “no frills, no merchandise, no elaborate concessions, just football.” But there was obvious support, as seen by the group of fans behind one of the goals holding up a banner that read “ultras.” A local leaned over to Joe and Christine, pointed at the group and said, “Our ultras.” 

“We knew then that we’d be St. Charles FC’s loveable misfits, their ultras,” Joe said. “That experience really made us want to commit to our local team back home. It’s what we came to love about St. Charles FC; the grit, the no frills, all thrills, old school soccer feel to it.” 

Thus, the Mudpuppy Ultras were created.  

Joe and Christine have lived in Missouri for 18 years and in the St. Charles area for the last 10. They appreciate the region’s sports culture, and they take advantage of the abundance of local soccer teams across various leagues by attending as many matches as possible. When St. Charles FC announced it would be joining the USL League Two and W League in 2023, they knew it meant two more teams for them to support. 

Joe said they really bought into the club once they saw the players on the field. Their work ethic and the effort they were putting into improving as players was inspiring to the Millers. 

“We were blown away not only by the talent on display, but by the guts and hustle of our St. Charles FC players,” Joe said. “I think some people hear “pre-professional” and think the soccer is less exciting, but man, that’s so far from the truth. Our players were sprinting down every ball, every minute of the match, no matter what the score. And they were giving their all with the name of our town on the crest on their chest. We knew we had to do something to show them how much it meant to us that they were out there hustling and representing us that way.” 

The creation of the group name was an homage to both the community and the players. A mudpuppy is a species of salamander that is commonly found in the rivers, lakes and creeks of St. Charles.  And the players in the W League and League Two, according to the Millers, are willing to get “down in the mud,” without the glitz and glamour found in professional leagues, to develop their skills and progress their soccer careers. 

The Millers got to work ahead of St. Charles FC’s inaugural season by putting their logo, a “tough, but adorable” mudpuppy, on banners, flags and scarves. Then, the matchday schedule was formed, which starts at a local brewery, Third Wheel Brewing. The group then heads to the stadium parking lot to mingle; the Millers often hand out free popsicles to cool fans from the humid Missouri summer. Then, it’s game time. 

Only, the Millers don’t just watch the matches. They track player statistics to later put into the M.U.D. Bank, or the Mudpuppy Ultras Data Bank. The M.U.D. Bank is a data visualizer that the couple created to show stats for both St. Charles FC teams. 

“Most of the players also play for colleges in the region,” Joe said, “so it’s another way for us to say, ‘Hey, look at how awesome these players are! Pay attention to what they’re doing!’ It’s all about sharing their stories, and this helps us get that story out there for them and hopefully can be a tool for them to reference as well.” 

Screenshot of the M.U.D. Bank on

The Millers plan to expand their stats this year to include possession, shots and shots on target, and later hope to show stats for the Heartland and Valley divisions the teams play in. They’re also planning to post their “90 Minutes in 90 Seconds” match recaps this season, which will include lineups, stats and match highlights. 

The M.U.D. Bank, the pre-match treats, the mini flags for the kids at the games, are just a few of the ways the Mudpuppy Ultras have created a fan culture at the pre-professional level. The Millers have begun to notice their reach, as people have  recognized their logo at events and the St. Charles FC teams have even been referred to as the “mudpuppies.” 

Their W League team kicks off its 2024 campaign on Friday, May 10 followed by their League Two team on Wednesday, May 15. The Mudpuppy Ultras are ready for the season with banners painted, new jerseys printed and open arms to those who want to join. 

“Everyone is always welcome in our little puddle,” Joe said. “Our only rule is to be a good neighbor. We just want people to show up and support the players.” 

The Mudpuppy Ultras can be found on X/Instagram @mudpuppyultras, email at or online at

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