Mar 4, 2018; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy fans hold up a tifo before the game against the Portland Timbers at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The LA Galaxy continue to celebrate their storied history by placing billboards throughout the city of Los Angeles as part of the club’s “Since ’96” campaign. One fan, who has supported the team since that inaugural season 23 years ago is Dan Chapman.

He’s followed the Galaxy all the way from South East England, despite having close to no access to coverage of the team during its earlier seasons. And now, he runs the popular Twitter and Instagram account “Galaxy History” and highlights moments throughout the Galaxy’s past, as well as a website by the same name that documents the team’s history.

It all started in 1996 when Chapman traveled with his family on vacation to Florida, and they followed their tradition of taking in a soccer match everywhere they visited. He had picked the Tampa Bay Mutiny as his Major League Soccer team because it was local to their vacation spot. That day, the Mutiny faced the Los Angeles Galaxy — changing Chapman’s fandom for years to come.

“Tampa Bay won 4-3, but Cobi Jones scored a hat trick, so I switched,” Chapman explained. “I had already seen Cobi play when he was with Coventry [in England], so I knew him. He was the only Galaxy player that I knew. I just switched from then on.”

Chapman of course had a hometown club: Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club in East Sussex, England. He had been involved with Brighton since he was a child, attending matches with multiple generations of family, playing in its youth system and eventually working for the club as a historian.

“It’s a team that my dad supported, and my grandad, and I got tagged along when I was four,” Chapman said. “I joined the youth team there when I was 8. I worked for them for years, until quite recently. There was a collection of Brighton & Hove Albion historians. We used to do talks at the grounds, interview players and had our own fanzine, scanned programs.”

When the opportunity as a club historian ended, he concluded that chronicling Galaxy history was the next logical step.

“I stopped doing the Brighton bit and saw the obvious choice, the Galaxy, because I had been, every now and then, coming over to LA to watch them” Chapman said. “It was my only other team, so it made sense to shift over my focus from Brighton to my other team, which is how it started.”

Chapman updates the Galaxy History accounts on Twitter and Instagram regularly with “On This Day” posts inspired from events that had happened on certain days throughout the club’s history. It hasn’t always been very easy for Chapman to watch Galaxy soccer, so once he was finally able to watch games and highlights through the internet, he began compiling footage on his computer and organizing it in a calendar. The dates in the calendar were paired with videos or gifs highlighting the moments, which he then shared on social media. 

Galaxy fans — and even former players — across generations enjoy his historical nuggets. 

Following the club has continued to get easier for Chapman the last several years, especially once he directly addressed the seven-hour time difference between Brighton and Los Angeles.

“That’s why I work nights,” Chapman explained with a laugh. “ I watch games live at work, or wherever I can on the internet. I think 2003 was the first season it was broadcast live on our TV, so virtually ever since then. Well, I’ve worked nights since 2009, so I’ve been watching them at work, either live or an hour behind.”

Chapman has since created a website to chronicle Galaxy history, including in-stadium program information, team memorabilia and information from each season all the way back to 1996.

He credits Linda Pickle, a longtime Galaxy fan who collects team memorabilia and shares it with other Galaxy fans, for help with much of this project. Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano helped connect the two. Pickle recently hosted a “pop-up museum” at a Galaxy match, displaying countless articles of memorabilia from Galaxy history and also wrote the forward for Chapman’s e-book, which offers a more in-depth view of major events through Galaxy history. 

By creating the Galaxy History account, Chapman ensures those events will never be forgotten — and that whatever happens next will become carefully-chronicled history.

 

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