If you happen to see sophomore Josh Hatch walking around campus, you might mistake him for an ordinary college student. But, at any given soccer game, you can catch Hatch in his true form as the “ultimate fan.”
As a former St. John’s soccer player, Hatch makes it a point to be at every soccer game to support the Red Storm. He’s even got his own following of loyal supporters that accompany him called “Hatch’s Hecklers.” And, who can forget the inaugural “Belson Bounce” between Hatch and midfielder Andre Schmid?
The old saying goes, “Those who can’t do, teach.” Well, they should change it to “Those who can’t play, cheer and heckle.” Last year, Hatch was a goalkeeper for the Red Storm, but, because of a back injury suffered over the summer, he was unable to return as a member of the team this year. Not to worry, though; Hatch still comes to every game with his hecklers to show full support for his team. As Hatch puts it, “We’re like the twelth man out there.”
If you still aren’t convinced of Hatch’s sideline influence during a game, take the tough LIU game where the Red Storm was left to battle without Hatch and his hecklers. In the absence of the hecklers, the game ended in a 1-1 tie after overtime
And to think, this was all inspired by a Coors Lite commercial Hatch watched with friend Lorraine Cerami (also a “Hatch Heckler”). Hatch’s full get up as the “ultimate fan” usually includes a plaid blazer, face paint and a wig that looks as if flames are coming out of his head.
“Actually, I was watching a Coors Lite commercial [with] people all painted up,” Hatch said. “Lorraine was sitting right next to me and I was like we could probably just do that for one game and she was like ‘For one game? No – we’re going to do that for all the games.’ So we went straight to Party City and got the hair and everything.”
Although the “bounce” has become a newfound tradition at Belson Stadium with players like midfielder Chris Corcoran jumping into the stands after scoring a goal, Hatch knows it all started with a little promise his good friend Schmid made to him.
“He was like ‘Since you’re not playing this year, I’ll run straight to you when I score.’ And I was like ‘Yeah that will happen, you’ll score,'” he said. “Sure enough, at the first game he scored and I didn’t think he was going to run over to me. He started running away and then he came back, and I was like ‘Oh my god.’ So I ran over to him.”
If you haven’t actually seen Hatch in action, not to worry. There’s still more in store for the “ultimate fan,” with the Red Storm moving on to the Sweet 16 in the Big East and to Dallas for the NCAA tournament, where Hatch promises to make an appearance.
“I’ll be there in Dallas,” he said. “There’s no getting around that. I will be there.”