by Lindsay Durham

If you don't realize how passionate Christian "Filly" Filimon and Amanda "Panda" Filimon are on their podcast, Stryking Fury, or while working Empire Strykers games that are streamed, you probably are lacking emotion or are dead.

If you are not familiar with this husband-and-wife dynamic duo. Let us introduce you to them.

On their Stryking Fury podcast homepage, the Filimons have an introductory video: 

Christian welcomes the team’s faithful: “I am one half of the husband-and-wife faction that is here to bring to you the … action, the self-proclaimed beast from the East -Christian ‘Filly’ Filimon.”

Amanda, while holding a glass of wine: "I and always fine with a glass of wine. I am the better half of this dynamic duo. I am Amanda the 'Panda' Filimon."

Christian: "Wine and the better half. You've really outdone yourself today, Amanda."

Their podcasts include humor and plenty of information about the Major Arena Soccer League team. You also can hear the Filimons on Strykers' home matches that are streamed on Twitch. Christian is the play-by-play man with analyst Dr. Jonathan Reimer on the broadcast. Amanda handles halftime and postgame interviews.

A husband-and-wife team on a soccer podcast is unique, then again, so are the Filimons. 

During an interview via a three-way conference call on Thursday, Jan. 18, there was plenty of back-and forth anecdotes and laughter and anecdotes. Sometimes the interview seemed like a conversation more than a question-and-answer session. Christian was driving on the southern California highways en route to announce the UC-Riverside men's basketball game. Amanda was at home, after completing an 11-mile run in preparation for her seventh marathon. That would be the Los Angeles Marathon on March 17.

By day, the Filimons are like the rest of us, with regular jobs. Amanda is an operating room nurse four days a week. Christian is in financial services as an advisor.

At night and on weekends, however, they transform into their alter egos as indoor soccer announcers and podcasters. 

"It's probably about what you can expect as a husband and wife," Amanda said. "Sometimes there's a little frustration in the beginning as we're trying to get ready to go but it seems like as soon as we turn on the microphones and the camera, we get to work, and we know what we need to do. I think we've done a pretty good job with that. We do live together, and we are married. So, we do know each other very well. That's something about it that makes the podcast fun and interesting. We can have fun and a little banter with one another. It's easy to anticipate one another, just knowing someone so well." 

Added Christian: "Every once in a while, we will buttheads but the minute the microphone goes on, and Amanda goes out there and says 'Oh, she's fine with a glass of wine,' we're in the driver's seat ready to do work. The dynamic is great.

“It's a compelling story and I feel like a lot of people have taken into the fact that, 'Hey, this is cool, a husband and wife doing this together.' I know in a lot of cases some husbands wish they had that. I assume some wives probably wish they had that kind of dynamic as well." 

Beyond the banter, the show is serious. Christian noted that Stryking Fury wasn't a fan podcast.

"We're literally involved," he said. "You can have a conversation with Marco Fabian and use that on our show to create better content.” 

Amanda and Nina Kiefer also run the Angel City Chicks podcast, which details LA's National Women's Soccer League team. And speaking of podcasts, Reimer works with Christian on the Los Angeles FC podcast, which is nearing 300 episodes. That podcast has been aired in 84 countries and has more than 100,000 downloads.

"I listen to a lot of podcasts," Amanda said. "I can't just sit down and listen to any podcast. There has to be something there that that really does grab you whether it's the content or whether it's just the energy level of the people that are delivering the actual content. You can't just sit down in front of a mic and just start talking. Not everybody is going to find that entertaining. We've really found a way to educate, inform and entertain.

"We try to make it fun and lighthearted at times and keep the banter there. But we also make sure that people that are listening are getting quality content at the same time because that's ultimately what they come for us to find out about breakdowns, any news and notes that we have on the game, the insider information.”

Christian had similar sentiments.

 "I want to make sure we bring them in and captivate them," he said. "It's horrendous to me when people are monotone and sound like they're reading off of a script and are ill-prepared. You can pick up on what's rehearsed and prepared and what's not. Is somebody going to take 30 seconds or an hour out of their time to listen to us. I want to make sure it's the best." 

Discovering the great indoors

So, just how did the Filimons discover the Fury/Strykers and indoor soccer?

Since 2018, Christian has been doing a podcast for the Los Angeles Football Club in Major League Soccer, Defenders of the Banc, with Reimer. 

"It grew quite substantially in a lot of ways,” he said.

The first time the Filimons heard of the Ontario Fury was through an LAFC player, Adrien Perez, played with the MASL team. 

"They were promoting the Landon Donovan-Jermaine Jones game, which fell onto our radar," Christian said as he and Amanda drove from Burbank to Toyota Arena in Ontario to see what all the fuss was about. 

"The minute I saw the turf, it was the same exact feeling I had as a six-year-old going into Shea Stadium to see the Mets and saw the grass," he added. "I immediately thought. 'Wow, this is amazing.’ The Fury were playing the Soles de Sonora that day and Jermaine Jones was on the team. Amanda was with me along with all my LAFC buddies and we fell in love with indoor soccer. We wanted more content. At that point, my little LAFC podcast was on the radar here in this little market."

Christian reached out to the MASL club and offered to do a podcast, Stryking Fury, with his friend, Reimer. But due to his responsibilities as a teacher, Reimer couldn't commit the time.

"Amanda offered to do it with me and I thought well this is fascinating. I don't have to worry about scheduling conflicts," he said. "Six weeks into the podcast, the team loved it to the point where they reached out and asked if we'd be interested on being on the broadcast."


Born in the USA 

The Filimons come from different backgrounds, but as they say, opposites attract, and the two meshed together.

Christian, 43, is the son of Romanian immigrants who came to the states in the early seventies. His father learned English, graduated from New York University and entered into high finance. His father's sister had emigrated to West Germany, which Christian visited. In fact, he was in that country when the Germans captured the 1990 World Cup under the direction of head coach Franz Beckenbauer, who recently passed away.

So, we know where some of that passion for soccer comes from.

Amanda, 41, hails from Lynnville, Ind., a small town. She was active in several sports in high school - volleyball, softball and track - and was a cheerleader. But that just scratches the surface.

In 1999, she joined the Army after high school and served in Iraq from October 2005 to October 2006, with a Core Support Battalion.

"I was among the fortunate ones that had a positive experience from my time over there," she said. "It actually is the reason I am a nurse.

"We were in charge of tasking and running convoy logistics patrol missions on the roads in Iraq. It was interesting. It's the unknown. It's scary. You don't know what to expect, but you kind of settle into your routines and it becomes your life for a whole year. We were there for a total of a year in theater combat."

Amanda was a certified combat lifesaver, "which wasn't a medic, but somebody who was trained to give immediate lifesaving kind of stabilization types of things to people in combat so that a medic can get to them," she said.

"I'm very fortunate that I had seen the culture lifestyle over there and just how they live,” she added. “You get a really good sense of perspective on life when you go through something like that. You don't sweat the small things as much when you come home. You take the little things for granted.

“Having to get up in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom and have to put on all of your gear to walk outside to go to the trailer next door to use the bathroom and come back. It's so easy when you come back here just to do something so simple that over there thing required a lot of thought. I am thankful that I didn't experience anything that really affected me negatively or long term. I'm happy I got to be a part of it. I got to serve my country in that manner."


Opposites attract

In 2014, Amanda was a member of her brother Andrew's wedding party. She was paired with one of his fraternity brothers from Indiana University – Christian Filimon.

"We became really good friends,” she said. “Being the small-town Midwest girl, I was really taken aback by this big city guy with a big personality, that just had, as my dad says, just a zest for life, someone who just really seemed to just be enjoying himself and could command a room.”

Said Christian: "It was one of the best conversations I've had. I'm not exaggerating. I didn't want to end the dialogue. We just kept going on and on and on."

Amanda added: "We just enjoyed the company. He was just somebody totally different than I was really used to being around. I enjoyed that. It was just a lot of fun and eventually drew me to the northeast and ultimately New York City. I fell in love with that city as well. I would move back there in a heartbeat."

She said that Christian was the catalyst for her to starting her traveling nurse career, before moving to New York City. 

"Oddly enough, 2014 was the World Cup for the men," she said. "That was my first introduction to the big, beautiful game as well because of him. Every time he talks about something, he puts so much passion behind it, it makes you just want to learn more about it yourself and he loves to educate like that and educated me on the game of soccer and turned me into a fan. While I was traveling, we became a lot closer, whenever I found my way into New York City. It just escalated from there."

To which Christian replied: "Amanda intrigued me because she was into passionate about music and sports. Back then I was in a rock and roll band squeaking out of meager existence playing the Lower East Side and Brooklyn in New York City. I was also a lot thinner at that point. So obviously she thought it was somewhat cool."

Amanda then laughed.

The Filimons got married in 2017.


Purple's reign 

About their purple get-up. Many times, Christian will wear a purple suit to the games - with a bowtie - and Amanda a dress of the same color.

Christian once was in a rock n roll band. While he knew the music was important, the proper performance was vital to entertain the fans.

"A performance like wanting to get dressed up, wave my freak flag, if you will," he said. “It was always fun for me to do. I had long blue hair down to my shoulders. I put on the guyliner as I called it, make myself look at a punk rock version of Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean. I love doing all that the showmanship because at that point, it's more than the music, man. 

"People have so many entertainment options. You want to drag them into a performance. We had a fire-eating burlesque dancer. We had a show. I loved that aspect. When that stopped, it kind of gutted me. I sold out and started working at JP Morgan. Talk about a weird, schizophrenic lifestyle. I went from opening up for Michale Graves, the guy used to front The Misfits, and all of a sudden talking about portfolios with people out in Port Washington, North Shore, Long Island." 

But as Filimon likes to say, "The freak in me never really left."

"When this [Strykers announcing] opportunity came up, I wanted to be all professional initially and so I was buttoned up. The bowtie was always going to be part of my shtick one way or another.," he said.

He was working remotely during the pandemic, so Christian dyed his hair, which he called his "midlife crisis."

"That led to bleach and then it led to pink in that it led to a couple other colors and last season I thought, 'Let's go purple, man, let's just go all out.' Then it just became a thing where I went all out on the suits, too.

“It’s always the allure of wanting to draw more people. If it could be something as simple as what’s Amanda wearing? What's Filly going to wear? Is he going to look like the Joker today? I love doing that. I put together ideas, sketch ideas out. What am I going to wear? How am I going to do my hair like in a Mohawk. Can I go purple? Am I going to be able to get away with that at the office? What boundaries can I puh?"

"Awesomeness? You tune into Kansas City. You want wild punk rock Kama Sutra, craziness, you can watch the Strykers. That's how I pride myself on that, little gimmick and schtick."

Christian was referring to Erik Bergrud and Nick Vasos, who work the Kansas City Comets broadcasts. They were members of the 2023 MASL broadcasting crew of the year.


Thanks for the memories

In their short career as announcers and podcasters, the Filimon have had several memorable moments.

Christian picked out a humorous one that occurred during the COVID-19 season when the Ontario hosted MASL games on five consecutive days in 2021. The Fury had given him the opportunity to call those matches at Toyota Arena.

"This is something I always wanted to do," Christian said. “I wanted to be a broadcast journalist. I grew up absolutely loving and hanging on to every word ever spoken by Dick Vitale. I was attracted to that level of broadcasting, the passion, the enthusiasm. There's a guy who loved every minute of what he was doing. I wanted to emulate that and finally had the opportunity. The Strykers knew that I didn't have any experience, but I told them, give me a shirt, give me a loose leash, and I'll be the best prepared the funniest dressed one of the most entertaining people, period.

"It was trial by fire. The first game everybody's brand new, working with each other, a completely new group. And you're already nervous about this. It's like, 'Wow, is this going really happen?' "

Then disaster struck. Only 10 minutes before the streamed telecast, the internet in the arena went down.

Chaos and confusion!

 "The producer's screaming, He's going crazy," Christian said. "Obviously that's rattling my cages a little bit because I just needed somebody telling me, 'It's going to be okay, you're going rock it,' instead of hearing him shouting obscenities and you couldn't use on a family friendly anything. There's the anxiety.

"And then, like magic, seconds before we're supposed to go live. We went live. We were rattled. It was like 'Hi, welcome to Toyota Arena. We're underway.' "

Just then, Ian Bennett, then competing as a guest player for the Florida Tropics, scored a goal only seconds after kickoff.

"We're like, 'Oh, my God, what just happened?' " Christian said. "It's been a whirlwind. We didn't even introduce ourselves and we had a goal by the Florida Tropics immediately. We laugh about it to this day, because it was just how frantic everything was. I'll never forget that moment for as long as I live.

"I always joke with Ian Bennett about he broke the ice and prevented me from losing my composure early on in my broadcast career."

Christian then related a serious memory, which he called last season when the Strykers defeated the Baltimore Blast in overtime.

"Justin Stinson had one heck of a banger in overtime to propel the Strykers," he said. "That was a call I was really proud of." 

In sports, the next memorable moment sometimes can be the next game or the next minute.

During the San Diego Sockers' 8-5 victory over host Empire on Wednesday night, Jan. 17, Christian had two more moments to commemorate.

The first came with 1:19 remaining in the third quarter, which lifted the Sockers to a 7-1 lead. Listening to Christian's call and Reimer’s rundown, you would never have thought they were working the broadcast for the “enemy.” They made the call with enthusiasm.

Minutes later came San Diego’s Brandon Escoto's spectacular bicycle kick from just beyond the yellow line with 9:03 remaining in the fourth quarter.

"Whoa, oh my lord!" Christian exclaimed on the air. "That has to not only be the goal of the game, the goal of the week, possibly the goal of the season. Escoto with the bike. ... What a golazo!”

Amanda has prided herself on doing the proper research and background on her subjects. However, sometimes, there is a twist or two to deal with. Prior to a Strykers home game, owner and managing partner Jeff Burum texted Filimon that golfer John Daly was with him and invited her to interview him.

"I'm like, sure," she said. "I run down to the turf and there's John Daly and Jeff Burum just standing there. And he's like, just ask him some questions. I tend to put a lot of work and preparation into it for halftime and postgame interviews. There's some forward thought going into it when I'm going to ask questions. It was just such an off the cuff interview. What are you doing here? Like, Why are you here?"

Amanda then laughed.

"It was just kind of a fun thing that in that moment," he said. "This has given me so many fun opportunities to do something like this. Whoever thought that little girl in the in Lynnville, Indiana, town of 900 people never thought she'd be standing here, just casually interviewing someone like John Daly. That was pretty cool."

 The other cool thing was when the Strykers flew Amanda and Christian down to Monterrey, Mexico to work an English broadcast on the road.

“We're so appreciative that we got to call that game in English," she said. "To be able to have the honor to go down there and help them with that broadcast and trusting us with that was just a really, cool moment, knowing that we got to do that. And I really never had been to Mexico at that point in my life.” 

Amanda's memorable moment stirred another memory from Christian, with Savage supporters in Chihuahua.

"There were so many people that were nice to us," he said. "The thing that meant a lot to me, there was this older gentleman, a Savage fan."

That supporter had made some comments about Filimon on Facebook.

"He came up to us with his daughter, who translated. She was, 'He really wanted to tell you how big of a fan he is of yours. You call the game like you're one of us with love and passion and thank you.' And then they gifted me a Savage jersey which is one of my prized possessions. I love that moment with all my heart."

Sometimes we don't realize how many people will touch in life.

As it turns out, Amanda and Christian Filimon are touching the lives of many people and soccer fans of not one, not two, but three teams in southern California. Now, how many husbands and wives can say that?


Michael Lewis, the editor of, can be followed on Twitter at @SoccerWriter. Lewis can be reached via email at He has written two books" Alive and Kicking: The incredible, but true story of the Rochester Lancers and a sequel, STILL AND ALIVE AND KICKING: The story of the 21st century Rochester Lancers. It has many features about indoor soccer and MASL players. Both books can be purchased at