Photos by @PMWmf

Build a Bonfire, Twice!

Few things can unite supporters groups like the mutual hatred of an opposing fan base. ECS joined forces with Royal Guard, OL Reign’s supporters group, to remind Portland that we’re all building this bonfire together - and by ‘we’, we mean Seattle and Tacoma.

The Reign are no strangers to the Portland rivalry and their old/new head coach Laura Harvey is ready to lead her team into war against the Thorns once again. She coached Seattle Reign FC for the first five years of the National Women’s Soccer League (2013-2017) and recently returned as OL Reign head coach.

For the Sounders, this rivalry crosses generational lines. It gets passed down from one year’s team to the next, from NASL to WSL to USL to MLS. Locals like Jordan Morris and Kelyn Rowe were raised on it and our teenagers understand it from day one. It was only fitting that our coffee-drinking steward holds the torch to keep this bonfire burning.

All in, this two overhead, one curtain display took approximately 400 volunteer hours of sewing, designing, painting, and deployment work, a great joint effort by members of ECS and RG. For ECS members, if you want to join a future tifo production session, or help with future deployments, fill out this form, for Royal Guard members or interested folks, follow @RoyalGuard_SG for ways to get involved.

At long last, the representatives of the Cascadia Cup Council have determined that due to the relaxation of pandemic-related fan restrictions at matches, combined with the opportunity to create a balanced Cup schedule, the Cascadia Cup will have a 2021 champion. The Emerald City Supporters, Timbers Army, and Vancouver Southsiders have discussed all possible options, and the schedule will include:

  • 8/15 Seattle @ Portland
  • 8/29 Portland @ Seattle
  • 9/10 Portland @ Vancouver
  • 10/9 Vancouver @ Seattle
  • 10/20 Vancouver @ Portland
  • 11/7 Seattle @ Vancouver

Should future matches be postponed or see significant changes regarding attendance of supporters, the Cascadia Cup Council may amend this plan, but we are hopeful that the Cup will be awarded this year as intended. 

Photo by Andrew Weldon

Together with Pride

With every match in 2021, it gives us another chance to celebrate being back together in support of our boys. Together with Pride also reunites the LGBTQ+ community and allies, reminding all that we support Our City, Our Club, and Our Love. In ECS, you are welcome as you are and as you choose to be. There is room in our community for you to be seen and accepted as your true self.

With the current legislative attacks around the country on transgender people, including transgender kids who just want to play sports, it’s even more important for folx of all ages, genders, and identities to know that they are welcomed and safe in sporting culture. Building that safe space in our community also allows for newly LGBTQ+ people to trust they won’t be turned away from their soccer family. As one Sounder shared on social media this weekend, “Love whoever the F you want.”

The Progress Pride Flag design used in the PRIDE lettering was designed in 2018 by Daniel Quasar. Built on the rainbow flag, xe included both the transgender flag and brown and black for LGBTQ+ communities of color into the design.

By ECS Leadership

Traveling to support your club is something supporters do across the globe. It’s an amazing means to show your adoration for the players on the pitch as they play in what is typically hostile territory. It’s tradition. Heck, some might call it an addiction.

Every year, millions of supporters travel miles and miles for the love of their clubs, and that’s made possible by affordable tickets. Typically, supporters’ section tickets (home or away) are the cheapest in the house, or among the cheapest. There are myriad reasons for this, and they go far beyond the fact that supporters aren’t watching most of the game as they chant, dance, wave flags, and do what supporters do. Security concerns aside, clubs love rival and opposing fans making their way into the stands as they create a raucous atmosphere to energize the experience. All that said, tickets should always be affordable to get fans in the house, supporters’ section or not.

Most teams at least pretend to grasp that fairly simple concept.

And then there’s Austin FC.

You see, Austin FC thinks a ticket costing upwards of $70 in the away section for a Thursday night match is acceptable in 2021. They apparently missed the memo from 2014 when San Jose Earthquakes thought that Sounders fans would be excited about being the first event in an NFL stadium and wanted to charge $45 plus $8 in fees, with zero ability to buy as a group.

ECS boycotted that game as a blatant #AwayRobbery. And we’ll be boycotting Austin Away in 2021 as well.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, we did the math.

  • In 2017, ECS regular season away tickets averaged $28.47 (High: PDX $47)

  • In 2018, ECS regular season away tickets averaged $32.13 (High: PDX $48)

  • In 2019, ECS regular season away tickets averaged $33.24 (High: PDX $49)

  • In 2020, ECS tickets would have averaged $32.78 before pandemic postponements

In 2021 so far, ECS tickets average $43.63. Oh, until you remove Austin, then it’s $32.67. We cannot, in good conscience, charge members a ticket price almost 40% higher than any regular season match in the last five years. Hell, Austin is charging almost $20 more than ECS members paid for the 2019 MLS Cup Final at home.

We know many of you were excited about traveling to Austin. We know this will likely be disappointing to many of you.

We also know that we’ll never stop fighting for affordable ticketing, irrespective of the club you support.

Please help us spread the word by using the #SoccerForAll and #AwayRobbery tags in your social media posts, and we look forward to seeing you on an away trip soon.

Photo by @heygregr

Meant to be Together

It was 442 days since ECS was in the Brougham End. The return home exceeded expectations - being with friends, raising our voices, our flags, our drums, singing and jumping until everything was sore, all in support of the boys. This is the way it was meant to be. Our coach, himself, believes that The Club is the relationship between players and fans. That relationship is best displayed through the passion and organized chaos of the Brougham End. Supporters give life to the game. There is a symbiotic and reciprocal energy between the players on the field and their supporters in the terraces, each giving the other the energy to achieve greater heights. We went from the riotous energy of hosting and winning MLS Cup to a year of watching our boys saluting an empty terrace. The contrast made it clearer than ever, we are Meant to be Together.