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Thomas Fris enjoys his role as leader of the Hooligans

From Fris' premiere at the first soccer game, the fan base began to grow.

"Not only are you watching great soccer, but now you got this great pep band with me goofily conducting along, so kids really started to come out," said Fris.

It didn't hurt that the 2006 Bethlehem boys soccer team was exceptional. After winning the Suburban Council title, Bethlehem took the Section II, Class AA championship and reached the state final four and the hooligans went every step of the way with them.

"We probably took well over 100 kids out there," Fris spoke of Bethlehem's trip to a regional playoff game in Syracuse. "It was essentially a home game for them, but as it turned out, we had a significantly higher number of fans than they did."

When Bethlehem lost in the state semifinals, the Hooligans didn't have anywhere to continue playing at first. "After that season, it was almost as if there was a void. Both the kids and I were saying, 'It can't be over,'" said Fris.

As it turned out, the Hooligans were in demand to play at other Bethlehem sporting events including hockey, basketball and even tennis.

"We developed a reputation," said Fris. "Area schools knew about us, local media started paying attention. The more attention we got, the bigger it grew."

While fun, leading the Hooligans has proven to be exhausting for Fris.

"People from the booster clubs started calling us saying 'can you play this event, can you play that event?'" said Fris. "It felt like we were playing constantly, and at some point I was asking myself, 'How do I teach math and still keep this going?'"

So, why does he keep this going? The fact is, Fris does what he does because it's fun.

"The Hooligans are totally student run and independent from the school, so I don't have any official position," he said. "Everybody knows it's my gig, but it's not like I have a job as an assistant coach or something."

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