When AS Monaco plays, Damien, a 26-year-old Monegasque expatriate in New York, often has the same ritual. He puts on his Diagonale and heads to an Irish pub named “The Football Factory at Legends” in the heart ofManhattan.
While tourists flock to admire the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty, he heads to the TV to support his Rouge et Blanc, even if it means an early alarm. “And also avoiding notifications in the middle of a meeting when Monaco scores”, he laughs.
From Monaco to New York
A business school graduate, the Monegasque is now flourishing as a project manager, having left the Rock more than three years ago. An attraction for American culture, developed during his studies and at an internship in Boston, pushed him to make the United States his new place of life.
It’s quite a change for this dyed in the wool Rouge et Blanc fan, whose father, a regular at the Stade Louis-II, did not wait long before taking him to support the team. “I caught a passion for the team very early on,” admits the Monegasque. The European campaign of 2004 was the big trigger. Seeing your club in the Champions League final when you were 8 years old…”. The sense of emotion, still intense, can be felt through the telephone when speaking to this former season ticket holder in the First stand.
Despite the distance that separates Fontvieille from New York, in the city “that never sleeps” as the saying goes, nothing could have kept Damien away from his passion.
And, meeting other supporters of clubs playing in Ligue 1 Uber Eats in the Big Apple encouraged him to take the plunge. “I said to myself: why not Monaco? As I was used to watching at The Football Factory, I suggested to the managers that they make it the headquarters of AS Monaco Fans New York City. They immediately agreed. because other groups of supporters also use the place as a landmark. This is also what motivated me, because we share our passion for our respective clubs with respect. We all live far from our families, it also allows us to keep in touch with that element of ourselves.”
A commitment that’s ready to last
If you order a drink at the counter of this pub where “soccer” is king, a scarf will catch your eye. Alongside Juventus, Chelsea, or even Manchester United, AS Monaco also has its own little piece of turf.
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From that moment, Damien was motivated by the idea of developing this group, which aims to welcome all football fans passing through New York. “There is a large French community living here, and a growing interest in football in the United States. New York is also a popular tourist destination. There will therefore always be Monaco fans who will come to the area and say to themselves: ‘hey, where can I see the match here?’ And we will be delighted to welcome them”, explains Damien who already has several projects in mind for the weeks and months to come.
Thus, next February, AS Monaco Fans New York City plans to play the match between the Monegasques and Paris Saint-Germain alongside the Parisian fans in their common headquarters at The Football Factory, which will then take on a Monegasque accent that evening… or afternoon, as it will be in New York owing to the time difference.
Damien, middle is joined by Sandra Petit, general secretaty, and Laurent Maire, President of CSM
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In order to share his passion and communicate about the different events he hopes to organize, Damien has even created pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, open to everyone in order to grow the team’s community of followers.
“I would like Monegasque supporters to be able to meet local fans and thus establish a link between our two cultures. In this project, one of the most important parts is openness to others.” Amid the hubbub of Times Square, where the spotlight shines brightly, you might soon hear a “Daghe Munegu!”
Around the world: A growing passion for the Rouge et Blanc
With AS Monaco Fans New York City, Monaco has extended its reach even further. There are now sixteen branches in total, including the historic one based in Monaco: Allobroges (Roquebrune Cap-Martin), Munegu 51 (Champagne-Ardenne), Munegu Burgundy (Rhône/Burgundy), CSM Munegu 26/07 (Dôme/Ardèche ), Supp’Loraine, Munegu Normandy, Munegu IDF (Paris / Iles de France), Monegask (Picardy / Ile de France), Munegu Center Val de Loire, Biancorossi 83, DOM TOM (Overseas), Liguria (San Remo, Italy), CSM 62/59 (Hauts de France), Munegu 57 (Moselle).
To these groups, we must also add the independent branches Da Viken (Vendée) and Muneg’Oc (Haute-Vienne).
Last May, all of the groups were thanked for their support at the Stade Louis-II, receiving a jersey from President Dmitry Rybolovlev.
AS Monaco New York
Contact: Damien Malatino
Adress: 4540 Center Blvd PH02 – Long Island City
NY 11109 United States