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The University Star


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Boko’s Army: Texas State soccer’s biggest supporters


San Marcos resident Timothy Darnell runs down the sidelines in a color-run with Boko’s Army in celebration of the Bobcats scoring a goal in a game against Houston Baptist, Sunday, August 28, 2022, at Bobcat Soccer Complex. The Bobcats won 2-1.

Next to the bleachers and in front of the pitch, fans and players alike can hear the constant drum beat and the deafening cheers of Texas State soccer’s most diehard fans, Boko’s Army. 
They don’t need to be there, but the Hill Country Church student organization, known as Boko’s Army at soccer games, feels it’s their obligation to keep crowd spirits high in order to support the Bobcats. Most of them have been coming to the soccer games for years.
Jared Messick, a PhD biology student and member of the fan section, said that by being a loud presence at the games, members of Boko’s Army feel that they make a big difference for the soccer team.
“Keep the energy up for the girls,” Messick said. “It’s for the girls… we’re just kind of cheering them on.”
Although the public enthusiasm and support for the team started last year on the sidelines, behind-the-scenes work for the soccer team started 16 years ago.
Elizabeth Darnell, the “group mom” of Boko’s Army, emailed former Texas State soccer coach Kat Conners looking for soccer lessons for her then five-year-old daughter. The players on the team at that time began giving Darnell’s daughter lessons, attending her games and bringing snacks for her team.
To return the favor, Darnell has been bringing snacks for the Texas State soccer team at the end of every home game since 2006.
“I try to use… things that incorporate a little bit of healthy but a little bit of sweet,” Darnell said. “Today, they’re oatmeal jam bars… last week I did Rice Krispies.”
Last year, Boko’s Army started bringing out all the stops to show their love for the Bobcats. A giant drum, a megaphone, flag carriers and colorful smoke devices are a few of the things the enthusiastic fan section has incorporated into their home game celebration.
Before last season, Darnell and Hill Country Church began brainstorming on how to further show love to the team. They struck inspiration when they saw how lively professional soccer games are and began coming up with their own Texas State-themed chants and cheers last season.
Attendees of the soccer game can hear unified chants like “Bobcats ’til we die”, “come on Bobcats score a goal” or “put the ball into the net and we’ll go freaking mental.” The real noise maker is the drum they bring out on the sidelines that can be struck by any Texas State fan who asks.
“The [Texas State] band was generous enough to donate that last year,” Darnell said. “It was like one of their leftover pieces.”
Texas State President Kelly Damphousse, who is also an avid supporter of the soccer team, gave Boko’s Army his endorsement and took pictures with the group during the first home game of the season on Aug. 18. Timothy Darnell, Elizabeth Darnell’s son, said it meant a lot to feel seen by a prominent Texas State figure.
“When he came to the first big game and was like ‘you guys are awesome,’… it meant a lot to us,” Timothy Darnell said. “We have a super high value for connection within the university.”
The passion Boko’s Army has for supporting the soccer team doesn’t necessarily stem from a love for soccer, but rather a belief that no student should do college alone. Timothy Darnell said the group’s philosophy comes from a love for students. Boko’s Army welcomes anyone on the sidelines who wants to celebrate the team and have fun at the games. 
“We just leave it open to anyone who feels the passion and jumps in,” Timothy Darnell said. “The invitation is always open.”
With an undefeated start to the 2022 season, Texas State soccer has given Boko’s Army a lot to cheer for, something that has not gone unnoticed by soccer head coach Steve Holeman. Holeman said it’s been great seeing fans show out at the games, and the fan support gives the team home-field advantage.
“It’s been awesome, love the fans… they make us want to play at home,” Holeman said. “We love being at home.”

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  • San Marcos resident Nick Martin leads Boko’s Army into a chant on the sidelines before the start of a soccer game against Houston Baptist, Sunday, August 28, 2022, at Bobcat Soccer Complex. The Bobcats won 2-1.

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