AccessiMingos focuses on making a more inclusive environment in the Flock

There were already subgroups in the Flock, so a trio decided to create AccessiMingos in 2021.
Tyler Engel, Brian Messman and William Schultz
Courtesy of AccessiMingos
Tyler Engel, Brian Messman and William Schultz

In 2019, during Forward Madison FC’s inaugural season, William Schultz and Tyler Engel sat next to each other during every game in the pro soccer team’s superfan section, from which the Flock, a supporters’ group, cheers on the team. They grew closer and formed both a strong friendship and an idea. Schultz and Engel, who both use wheelchairs, thought about expanding the Flock.

There were already subgroups in the Flock — Featherstone Flamingos, La Barra 608 and the Mingo Ladies. Why not a group for soccer fans with disabilities?

“We wanted to get more disabled butts in seats,” Schultz says. “We wanted to tackle what other accessibility issues might exist that we didn’t necessarily think of.”

Engel, Schultz and a third partner, Brian Messman, officially launched AccessiMingos in March 2021, with a focus on making a more inclusive environment and a community inside the Flock that celebrates each member’s unique abilities.

Using funding from AccessiMingos merchandise sales, the trio has worked to get more wheelchair ramps installed at the stadium, create accessible travel paths throughout the Flock end (fan section), add an ASL translator for the national anthem and more. One of the group’s next goals is to create a sensory room for people who might find the game day experience too overwhelming.

AccessiMingos is one of the first supporter groups for soccer fans with disabilities on the American continents, and it has led teams across the country and world to reach out and ask how to put a similar support group together.

“I think it’s something that we’re all really proud of,” Engel says.

Read about more adaptive sports in the Madison area here.

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