Tradition Tuesday is a new weekly feature where we’ll explore the history, lore, and culture of the Dark Clouds. Confused about why we sing about Hot Nuts? Which Minnesota player coined “Nuts Of A Warrior”? Why does the section quack every so often? We’ll have the answers in Tradition Tuesday.
One of the first questions most new Minnesota soccer fans ask is, “Why are you called the Dark Clouds?” Let’s find out.
In 2004 a small (and I mean small) group of likeminded soccer fans started to stand together at Minnesota Thunder games. They would tailgate together, relentlessly heckle the opposition, chant in unison, and then heckle some more (we will cover some of the more brutally effective heckling in a future piece; it’s won games for Minnesota). They were unlike anything else in the stadium at the time but the group didn’t have a name.
Enter Bruce McGuire (a.k.a. duNord) who wanted to make something for his soccer friends to wear when they stood together. He had an artist friend from Detroit named Davin Brainard who used a simple illustration of a cloud as one of his trademark artpieces. Bruce says, “I asked him if he could make a version of it with a gray background and a black cloud. I took his artwork, made some buttons and started handing them out. Soon after that I turned up at a game and someone had made a flag out of the image!”
Later that year a big gray flag featuring the cloud (pictured to the right) appeared in the section. Andy Wattenhoffer continues the story, “After some games, a woman complained to [Thunder] GM Djorn Buchholz that “those dark cloud people” were setting a bad example after seeing us in action at a game. It became an inside joke for a while and eventually we embraced it as a name for the group.”
The name has stuck and twelve years later it’s still what Minnesota’s oldest and largest independent supporters group calls itself. In the meantime we’ve got ourselves a new cloud but the name isn’t going anywhere. Don’t be surprised if you see that big grey flag back in the section every so often.