“I can count on my one hand the times I’ve missed. One was for a migraine, one was for a wedding and one was for pneumonia.”
Decked out in Black & Gold, including checkered sunglasses she rocks day and night, Noie has become a fixture in the matchday scene at MAPFRE Stadium. Not only is she an area coordinator on the Experience Team, she also works as an usher during the matches. And if there aren’t events happening at the first soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., she keeps herself busy at the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“I work at Nationwide Arena too,” she says. “If things are going on here and the Arena, this takes precedence. This is my No. 1.”
Noie’s dedication for the Black & Gold began in the club's inaugural season. Recently retired from Nationwide Insurance after 22 years, that’s where her story with Crew SC began.
“I was always on their volunteer list and an email had gone around saying, ‘Hey we have a new soccer club in town and they need people to work,’” she says. “So I said something to my neighbor like, ‘That sounds like fun.’ I had never been to a soccer game. So we went to a meeting at Ohio Stadium and then we started, and the first night, I fell in love with it.”
Noie grew to love the game and her craft to the point that she now plans her personal life around the MLS schedule.
“When the schedule comes out, I put them [the games] all on the calendar and I work around them,” she says. "I’m dedicated that way. When I say I’m going to work, I will be here—unless something happens at the last minute. But you can always depend on me.”
Noie's dedication hasn't gone unnoticed. She earned the first ever Event Staff Employee of the Year award in ’99, granting her a trip to any away match of her choice. She picked New England, one of several times she has hit the road to watch her team.
Noie doesn't have the best record away from home, but she was at the match that counted most in club history.
“I’ve been on nine road trips and I’m 2-7. One of them is the MLS Cup,” she says. “I said if they ever got to MLS Cup, I have to go. My sister said she’d go with me and she’d never been to a soccer game. So we got tickets and flew out to LA for two days, but it was worth it.”
The MLS Cup certainly was a memorable moment in her many years with Crew SC, but Noie has another favorite that triggers tears.
“When we won the U.S. Open Cup in 2002, it was our first actual award before the MLS Cup,” she says. “And all we did was cry when we got it because we waited so long.”
Such an emotional response is only natural for someone whose passion for the Black & Gold is only paralleled by the club’s diehard supporters. Aptly, Noie’s most cherished aspect of her job is her interaction with them.
“You know the diehard fans will be here every game, even when it’s raining, snowing.”
But Noie says the young supporters showcase the club’s impact on the city as well.
“I love seeing all the kids here at every game and they get so into it,” she says. “I think it’s really good for the community and for the players that go out and meet with them, volunteer their time. I think it’s really big for the city of Columbus. I can’t say enough about what the stadium has done for this city.”
Pam Noie has stood proudly inside the walls of MAPFRE Stadium since it first opened in the city where she was born and raised.
“I was at the groundbreaking,” she says. “I left work to come back for that dedication. I thought it was great that it was the first soccer-specific stadium in the country, and here it is in Columbus, OH. It’s just like my second home.”