Hello. My name is Jude Liptak and this is my Valencia story....
I am originally from Youngstown, OH and currently live in Williamsburg, Virginia. In the summer of 2000, I made my first trip to Europe. As a poor college student I stayed in youth hostels all over Europe.
Early on in my trip which started in Dresden, Germany, I decided that I would love to find a football club to follow. The problem was, I didn't really have an allegiance to any club. When my friend Hans and I got to Paris, we visited Notre Dame. Coincidentally, it was the day before the Champions League final between Valencia and Real Madrid. Being a Catholic, I was truly moved to see the cathedral pretty much split in half... On one side there were Real Madrid supporters and on the other Valencia supporters. I told my friend Hans this is pretty amazing. I think I will have to make a choice here. I looked at both sides, not really knowing the history and probably looking completely baffled that the church was over-run with football supporters. It was at that moment when a Valencia supporter turned and looked at me and moved over in the church pew as I was walking down the isle that divided Valencia and Real Madrid.
I moved into the Valencian pew, the woman smiled and said something to me in Spanish. I didn't understand what she said and asked her “Habla Ingles?” She said "si". I asked her what was going on here that the church was full of football supporters. She then told me that they were praying for victory the next day. I asked her (whispering of course) about the club, and she told me that they were from Valencia, Spain and that the club is like one big family. I told her that I really wanted to follow a football club, but didn't really have any feeling of dedication to any club. She smiled, looked at the cross and whispered “Amunt Valencia.” I had no idea what the heck amunt meant.
Later on in a youth hostel in Rome, I met some students from Spain and found out the meaning. From then on, that was it, I was hooked. I have never regretted my decision of choosing Valencia. Since I became a supporter, I have had my mind blown by the amazing talents of Cañizares, Morientes, Silva, Mata, David Villa, and now Paco Alcacer.
In June of 2015, I had one of my great life experiences. A vacation to Valencia and a trip to the Mestalla. My wife Lucia, and sons Torsten and Vigo bought tickets to tour Mestalla. We got there around lunch time and there wasn't a tour in English for 2 hours. I asked the ticketing clerk where was a good place for lunch. She advised me to go to Candy Bar and said that most of the coaches and players eat there and she just loves it. We went there. After we were seated there for five minutes there was a little clatter behind us as a waiter scurried to get the table behind us ready. I turned around to see Amadeo Silva walking right up to us. We were adorned in our orange Valencia jerseys. Mr. Silva gave us a nod and a wave and sat down at the table behind us. Wow. Amazing. I didn't want to be the stereotypical crazy person and disturb him so I didn't approach him (the crazy thing is, he resigned the next day). The tour of Mestalla was unbelievable. The tour guide made us feel like we were coming home and a part of the Valencianista family. She gave my kids balloons, pens, and Valencia gummies.
When I returned home, I decided to immediately channel/convert my local beer league football club and my friends/family to follow me as a Valencianista and we now have over 60 members of the Valencia CF Virginia supporters group. As I was approved and added to the VCF supporters group page on the Valencia website, I was immediately contacted by Armando Espinal and the official Valencia Penya of the USA about being a faction of their group. I was extremely honored that they wanted to include us and immediately said yes on behalf of our group. What a cool guy and I can not say enough good things about the people that I have met in facebook that share my love for Valencia.
People like Armando, Julio Silvo, Cesar Benoit, and Adolfo San Rafael Sanchis make Valencia feel like a family. When I first put our supporters group up on facebook, one supporter said “Welcome to our weird world.” I loved that comment. I have been a huge sports fan (mostly ice hockey) my entire life, but I can honestly say that Valencia is much more than a club, it truly is an intimate family that I'm honored to be a part of.
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