- US-based fan Matt Fulks describes his journey supporting Leicester City and his experiences of the Club’s official International Membership scheme
- The 37-year-old is the founder of San Diego Foxes, a recognised international fan group based in the Golden State
- International Memberships, which offer access to both home and away LCFC fixtures, are available now via LCFC.com/tickets at 30 per cent off in a limited-time offer
Hailing from sun-soaked San Diego - a place Matt has called home since 2017 after moving from Ohio - the beachside city is the base from where he hosts morning screenings of City games with members of the supporter group he helped build. It is a story borne from an international fan’s devotion stretching back to when the Club secured the services of a certain American shot-stopper in the mid-1990s.
“What drew me to Leicester as a kid was Kasey Keller,” Matt acknowledges, as he proudly shows off two distinctive Fox Leisure ‘keeper shirts during a web chat last month.
“He was my hero growing up. I had gone to this event for the national team, and he (Keller) had just signed from Millwall. Anything he did I wanted to do, so because of this I found this team in the East Midlands of England and luckily stepped into following a pretty successful side! Seeing the likes of Muzzy [Izzet] in his prime and getting to watch players like Emile [Heskey] brings back some great memories.”
Matt’s instant affection for Leicester City’s never-say-die attitude led to a lifelong affinity with the Club that would ultimately inspire the San Diego Foxes - a thriving community of US fans that has accelerated following its founder’s relocation to the West Coast after the fairytale of 2016.
“It was not a popular decision (to start supporting Leicester) for years,” Matt admits, while alluding to the stars aligning for the Football Club in the 2015/16 season.
“I’d say that even before we won the Premier League, my online friends were 90 per cent Leicester-based. I’ve had friends for 20-plus years in Leicester, but for the newer ones to see me talking about figures like Conrad Logan is sometimes a strange thing for them to process!”
Matt reflects: “Before the coronation at the Everton game, I drove through the night to NYC to watch us lift the trophy with the New York Foxes when they were one of the leading US groups. Then on the 2016/17 pre-season tour of Los Angeles, we made that trip together to be among it. From there, I think the US Leicester community really exploded and became what it is today.”
Matt, who has utilised the benefits of International Fox Membership for several seasons, goes on to describe the origins of the San Diego Foxes and his pre-match routine in the North Park area of his home city, where he hosts early morning game viewings at the Bluefoot Bar with his fellow SDF members.
He explains: “When I moved here, there were three members of what was then known as the LCFC San Diego Supporter Group. I went to one of their meet-ups and through my existing connections with the Club, applied to start the San Diego Foxes.”
Everyone is welcome to join, and with all of us there, I’d say we often out-chant the rival groups!Matt
Recounting his typical matchday routine, he continues: “7am kick-offs are what we call the ‘comfort zone’. It’s the 4:30am starts that can defeat you! We get there 30 minutes before the game, and we pay for the drinks of new recruits for their first game. Everyone is welcome to join, and with all of us there, I’d say we often out-chant the rival groups! After the match, I’ll go and walk the dogs on the beach and then get the rest of the day underway after a well-needed nap.”
October 2023 would mark a milestone in Matt's Leicester City journey as he embarked on a trip to the UK for the first time, attending back-to-back fixtures against Swansea and Sunderland for a debut taste of live LCFC action in a competitive setting.
The first clash with Swansea saw the Foxes emerge victorious, overturning a one-goal deficit to take the points back down the M4. Matt, surrounded by his fellow City fans, revelled in the celebrations.
“The road trip to Wales was gorgeous, driving through the countryside," he recalls. “The entire time people were thanking me for bringing the California sun! Getting to the game alongside 4,000 of our fans was incredible, then coming back home to see another win against Sunderland and being there for Khun Vichai’s remembrance fixture was an experience I’ll never forget.”
Such stories embody the Club’s global reach and spirit and demonstrate that through bonds forged in supporters' groups and the inclusive International Membership scheme, fans from all around the globe can share in the LCFC story. It is an experience Matt can vouch for.
He adds: “It was so cool that the Club sent us (as International Members) the FA Cup Final packs in 2021 and the care packages before that during the pandemic. It’s the little things that really make you feel part of the Club.”
Speaking of the other Membership perks he enjoys, Matt says: “I always bank those Foxes Rewards to use towards new merch, even though my wife has kicked me out of multiple closets with everything I’ve accumulated over the years. I recall back in the day having to check the mailbox when it used to take a month to get something shipped, but now with Express International Delivery, it’s a total cheat code. The buzz is the same when anything lands here with ‘LE2’ on the parcel!”
Now back home in California, Matt has been keeping busy with his own podcast, which he uses as a beacon for American fans to build their own communities and share in the Leicester City experience.
He expands: “We’d go on there and ask people to reach out if they’re in, for example, Wisconsin, and they’re looking for someone to watch the game with. We then hook them up through social media and it goes from there. The whole purpose of the podcast has been to build the community here in the US, and it’s going from strength to strength.”
To join Matt in becoming one of the Club’s official International Members, overseas fans can sign up now at 30 per cent off the normal price of International Membership at LCFC.com/tickets for a limited period. International fans need simply enter the code INTERNATIONAL in the ‘Discount/Promo Code’ section of the checkout to claim.
Meanwhile, Leicester City fans based internationally can now secure the next best thing to watching Enzo Maresca’s men in person – with Foxes Hub International Half-Season Video Game Passes available to buy now!
With the Foxes launching a thrilling bid for an immediate return to the Premier League, Foxes Hub International Half-Season Video Game Passes include live streams of matches in the second half of the 2023/24 season – starting with the trip to Ipswich Town on Tuesday 26 December (7:45pm GMT kick-off). To read more, click HERE and to purchase your Half-Seasonal Game Pass, click HERE.
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