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FanFest 2013 a Hit with Players, Fans

Posted Aug 3, 2013

FanFest 2013 was a rousing success for both the Chargers organization and the fans.

The San Diego Chargers held FanFest 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday with well over 10,000 fans getting to watch their favorite team in action.  Not only that, but the entire Chargers roster surprised those in attendance by spending 20 minutes signing autographs and taking photos.

“This is always fun,” said Philip Rivers. “It’s always good to come into the stadium and do some work, but what’s even better is getting to see the support of the fans and seeing that they are as excited for the start of the season as we are.”

Photo Gallery: FanFest 2013 | Day Nine of Training Camp | More Photos

For fans like 22-year old Mitch Sennewald, the chance to not only mingle with the players but to see them in action was an opportunity too good to pass up.

“Getting to watch the players and how they practice and to see guys like Keenan Allen and how big he is compared to the other guys is really cool,” he said. “And to see Manti Te'o and the offensive line and the offensive line drills and everything; I love it.  It’s the Chargers on the field!  This is my first time at FanFest and it’s cool.  It’s awesome.  It’s been a perfect day.”

Cliff Starks agreed with Sennewald, relishing the chance to see his favorite team in action.

“I came here looking forward to seeing the offense get better and the defense keep up the status quo, and they are,” he said. “Getting to see real game situations and everyone in action is a lot of fun.”

One of the most popular players on Saturday was Te’o, who drew large groups of fans as he made his way down the sideline signing autographs.  For the rookie linebacker, being embraced by the fans made it a memorable experience.

“This was crazy!” he said with a laugh. “The energy (the fans) brought today was crazy. You see how they really support their team and the things they said to me meant a lot.  It’s incredible to have all this support and makes me want to go out on game days and perform for them. Days like today go to show we appreciate all the support we have and that we will do our best to make sure the fans have something to cheer about.”

Head coach Mike McCoy is a strong believer in getting the fans as close to the action as possible, stating that fan support is crucial to a team’s success. 

“It’s a great atmosphere,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to get going here.  It’s been great fan support all through training camp. We’ve opened camp a number of days to the fans, season ticket holders and sponsors, so it’s been great.  And there’s a great turnout today.  Now we’ve got to start filling it for the real games.”

Getting ready for those games played a pivotal role in today’s practice. Besides the fan interaction element of FanFest, McCoy took advantage of being in Qualcomm Stadium by using it as a dress rehearsal.

“We’re trying to make it as game-like as possible,” McCoy said.  “We made a lot of substitutions offensively and defensively. We got into some situational work and got guys into different things throughout the day… (Working through the kinks of sideline communication) was the number one thing out here.  Some of the situation stuff we talked about it would have worked the other way.  And I just told the coaches to go with the flow.  I’m going to create some things that may not be real for the game.  We’ve got to do certain things a certain way, how the locker room is going to be and it’s really just us getting to know each other and how we’re going to do it on game day.”

Te’o agreed with his head coach, relishing the opportunity to visit Qualcomm for the first time.

“I’m glad I got the chance to come here before the preseason game just to see what it’s like and the atmosphere,” he said. “I think that will make me even more comfortable on Thursday.”

Tickets still remain for Thursday’s preseason opener.  Click here to purchase tickets.

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