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On April 22, 2020, ECS called for the continued suspension of the MLS season. We expressed concerns about a variety of elements, the most important of which is the safety of players and staff. On June 10, Major League Soccer announced the #MLSisBack tournament, set to take place behind closed doors just outside of Orlando, Florida in July and August.

Since that announcement, the state of Florida has seen an alarming increase in the positive cases of COVID-19 and reversed a number of "re-opening" efforts across the state, including the area surrounding this tournament. We believe that sending our players, coaches, and staff to “quarantine” within the confines of the Walt Disney World resort is putting their careers, if not lives, in harm’s way. As of this week, MLS has announced 20 players and 6 staff have tested positive for COVID-19, which can only be expected to increase as teams co-locate in the hotel, training facilities, and matches. Additionally, the hotel staff, food delivery workers, media and broadcast production teams, and others allowed access in and out of the #MLSisBack “quarantine” are all potential vectors for communication of COVID-19, and simply having them work for this tournament creates potentially unhealthy scenarios for everyone involved.

Major League Soccer has stated that they prioritized their commitment to media partners and sponsors in the creation of this tournament, and that is evident with the unacceptable risks they are putting on the players and staff. We continue our call for the suspension of the MLS season until matches can be played in a manner that is safe for players, team personnel, and fans.

We encourage fans and supporters of Seattle Sounders FC (and all MLS clubs) to contemplate the risks being forced upon their teams. The league and their media partners are assuming we will tune in to their broadcasts and other content. Entertainment is not worth the health and careers of the players and teams we support, and we encourage all fans and supporters to reach out to club and league officials and social media outlets to put an end to this dangerous tournament.

Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Vancouver, BC, June 22, 2020 -- Shortly after the formal announcement of the “MLS is Back Tournament,” representatives of the Cascadia Cup Council unanimously agreed that matches played behind closed doors, including any future matches played in MLS stadiums where supporters are not present, will not count towards Cascadia Cup Standings in 2020. In order to continue the supporter-owned, supporter-driven Cascadia Cup’s tradition of competitive balance, each club must complete both home and away matches against each of the other clubs, and the 2020 season will be measured in the same manner as any prior season where all three teams were in the same league. As always, the Cascadia Cup Council and the supporter groups it represents stand with the MLSPA.

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Emerald City Supporters is committed to uniting supporters of the Seattle Sounders and creating an environment that is accessible and inclusive to all Sounders fans to support passionately and freely. ECS is unapologetically anti-fascist and anti-racist. We support the Black Lives Matter movement and efforts to break the systems of racism that plague society.

You asked: What is ECS doing? How can I help?

We feel it is important to elevate the voices of the people who are leading this movement rather than create our own voice. We believe as allies it is important to listen actively, to learn continuously, to act intentionally, and to donate responsibly. This page includes resources to encourage engagement and education to create the changes we desire.

 

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Being anti-racist and anti-fascist is a lifelong journey, it is not a destination. ECS is committed to dismantling systemic racism and is scrutinizing what we currently do and what we can do better to ensure that ECS is a community that embodies this completely. We will not shy away from the conversations that need to be had and invite you to join us in making the world a place that values every human being equally.

We invite all ECS members to join the conversation HERE to discuss these resources and additional recommendations. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reach out with feedback, advice, or criticism.

Acknowledgment: Resources have been curated through recommendations from Black Lives Matter activists and recommendations from our ECS members.

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On April 17, 2020, Major League Soccer announced that it was “exploring a wide variety of formats” for the 2020 season given the current postponement due to the global pandemic. In addition to schedule and format changes, there have been reports that MLS will adjust player salaries for this season in order to reduce expenses during the postponement. ECS leadership has learned that MLS has aggressively engaged the MLS Players Association to make large salary cuts with the possibility of further action, but there is no agreement at this time. As we have in the past, the ECS stands with the players and calls on the league to continue making salary payments until a point where the MLSPA mutually opts into an alternate agreement.

Additionally, MLS said it aims for a “scenario where all matches are played with fans.” Soccer leagues across the globe have begun to discuss how they might go about starting (or re-starting) their seasons, with some potentially using “pumped in” recorded crowd noise, cardboard cutouts that resemble fans in stands, and other mechanisms. We, the Emerald City Supporters, believe that football without fans is nothing and call for the continued suspension of the MLS season until matches can be played in a manner that is safe for players, team personnel, and fans.

We look forward to supporting the Sounders on a matchday soon.

On September 15th, the Emerald City Supporters flew the Iron Front flag and raised two poles in the Brougham End (again) as part of our fight for inclusion in our section, stadium, and city, welcoming all people that love this sport. Unfortunately, due to the league’s recently introduced, inconsistently enforced, and vague ban on “political” displays, the stadium chose to eject our head capo and director of game day operations.

As a supporter group, our greatest strength is in combining our voices and energy in solidarity to lift our boys to victory. When the stadium opts to reject that message of inclusion by ejecting a capo who is leading the call for equality, we have no choice (difficult as it very much was) but to cease our support for the rest of the match. We put away our flags, and drums and our capos led us out of the section. Together.

This was a difficult choice. The Emerald City Supporters exist solely to support the Sounders. But as a diverse group that supports a diverse club, it has become increasingly important for us to fight for our marginalized players on the field and supporters in the stands against the racist, fascist and oppressive uprising in our city, in our state, in our country, in our stadiums, in our league, and in our sport.

We are proud to stand as allies with many supporter groups around the league in this fight, and believe that together we will create the change we desire. We’ve told the league what we want and will emphasize this again in a meeting with league officials later this week in Las Vegas. 

Join us in the Brougham End to support our boys as they push towards the postseason. We met with the Sounders Front Office today and there will be no punishment to the group or individuals based on Sunday’s actions. We look forward to supporting our boys as they fight for us to claim 3 crucial points. 

Finally, an important message to our members.  We understand that you feel passionately about this issue and putting pressure on the league to change the code of conduct.  However, we must remind everyone that denigrating people who disagree with our tactics is counterproductive. We ask that you keep your attention on the actual fascists and white supremacist groups that are growing in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Be excellent to each other and Sounder Together.

Up The Sounders! Up the ECS!

The following is a joint statement released to the ISC today. 

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The Emerald City Supporters joins with our fellow Sounders FC supporters Gorilla FC and our Portland rivals in the 107 Independent Supporters Trust in calling for the following outcomes:

  • MLS rescinds its ban on flying the iron front flag.
  • MLS removes the word "political" from its fan code of conduct as it is inherently arbitrary.
  • MLS works with international experts on human rights to craft language in the fan code of conduct that reflects and supports radical inclusion and anti-discrimination.

To that end, we're asking for other supporter groups to demonstrate their support with the following call to action:

  • Pump up the volume on this issue by demonstrating your support visually with iron front images on clothing (T-shirts, large patches, and the like) at matches in your stadium.
  • Call your team's front office and/or MLS headquarters to voice your opposition to the current MLS policy regarding political displays in general and the iron front flag in particular.
  • As supporter groups, voice your support either in calls, letters, or social media for the three objectives listed above.

Tom Biro and Shawn Wheeler, on behalf of Emerald City Supporters

Tom Conquergood, on behalf of Gorilla FC

Sherrilynn "Sheba" Rawson, on behalf of 107 Independent Supporters Trust, the engine behind the Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters

A statement from ECS leadership

On July 21st vs Portland, we flew an Iron Front 3 arrows flag in the Brougham End. The three arrows represent our commitment to equality and inclusion, just as our “Anti-Fascist | Anti-Racist | Always Seattle” banners do. Starting in pre-World War 2 Germany, the three arrows have been a symbol of the fight against fascism, oppression and persecution and to this day continue to represent these important values around the world. Fascism is the exact opposite of these beliefs and therefore cannot be allowed to exist in the same space. If we, as a supporter group, as a soccer club, and as a community allow fascists to be comfortable, they will continue to stand in opposition to what we believe. We will not allow that. We will not stop fighting for what is right.

In response to the use of this flag ECS has been issued a formal warning from the Seattle Sounders for violating the Fan Code of Conduct by displaying political signage. You can read the formal documentation we received in the letter below. On Thursday ECS leadership, Gorilla FC leadership, and Alliance Council leadership met with the club to discuss this. The ownership and leadership of the club stated their belief that the Iron Front is a political symbol and cited complaints they received from season ticket holders about the flag as further reason it would not be allowed.

The rights we stand for are not political, they are human rights. No one should be oppressed or persecuted because of who they are. As with all things in life no one should feel they can’t attend a soccer match and support the club they love. Just like the Iron Front symbol, the Emerald City Supporters stand for the oppressed and the persecuted.

In their unanimous decision to declare the three arrows political and ban it from their stadiums, Major League Soccer and its clubs have done the impossible: They’ve united the supporter groups of this league, including ECS and the Timbers Army. We’re proud to stand with them on the right side of history.

CALL TO ACTION

Let the club know (phone calls go further than emails) that the Iron Front is not a political symbol and how you felt when you saw it flying in the Brougham End. If you’re a season ticket holder, reach out to your ticket rep. If you are not a season ticket holder your voice and opinion still matter, use the contact information here. You can also share your opinion with the Alliance Council (read their #CallingFowl statement as well). ECS members are invited to discuss in our forum.

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Update, 8/3/2019: Following a phone conversation on Thursday with ECS, GFC and Alliance Council leadership, Sounders FC sent us the following letter. We appreciate their apology and re-affirmation of the values and beliefs of the club. While we disagree on the classification of the Iron Front symbol as political, we are proud to share the values of equality, inclusion, anti-fascism and anti-racism with the club. We will continue to advocate for change and encourage our fellow supporters in Seattle and across MLS to join us in eliminating fascism from our stadiums, our cities, our league, and our sport. 

Since the establishment of Seattle Sounders FC in the MLS era, ECS has blazed its own paths to support home and away, while observing and learning from those before us. And in recent years, ECS members near and far have experienced a wide array of treatment and behavior from front offices, opposing supporter groups, and other entities involved in matchday. During that time, if there’s one constant observation, it’s the consistency of inconsistency.

That’s not to say there aren’t quality efforts from front offices and the league. Our beloved Sounders have made strong efforts to keep away supporter treatment consistent – from tifo exemptions to ticket pricing – and continue to try and work with their compatriots to create similar experiences elsewhere.

All that said, we must address some of the language in the latest iteration of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct, as issued on March 1, 2019. To start, the league’s own statement says that it has a “transparent, consistent set of sanctions,” but we’ve also been given guidance that not all uses of “consistent” are created equal.

Most prominently, we want to call attention to the wickedly general use of the word “political,” as observed by the 107ist board of directors and many other supporters. After multiple members were ejected from BC Place during the 2017 Western Conference Semifinals for defending another member’s previously utilized personal two pole with the language “Anti-Fascist, Anti-Racist, Always Seattle”, Sounders FC ownership released a statement – signed by all four owners – enforcing our position that this was not a political statement. Beyond that, we were informed that this particular two-pole would be allowed in our sections afterward, and that the club did not believe that being anti-fascist or anti-racist was political. We stand by this understanding and see no reason why that position should change between 2017 and today.

The league, however, seems to disagree. Or at least appears comfortable with inconsistency and grey areas. In our pre-season meeting with the club where they gave us a preview of this document, we were told that the decision of what was political would be decided by individual clubs, and that each club would enforce that decision for their own home venues. Furthermore, we were told that behavior outside of the event would be subject to this code of conduct, another topic with a lot of possibility for significant variance and interpretation. And yet, the league has chosen to turn a blind eye towards known neo-nazis and fascists.

Our position is simple: Standing up for human rights is not political. Defending marginalized people is not a political issue. As an organization, the Emerald City Supporters has never endorsed political parties or candidates; that isn’t our purpose for being. What is part of our focus is the creation and protection of an atmosphere within the Sounders community that celebrates the diversity of our members, our team, and our city. Our strength is unity, and we will continue to stand opposed to those who would work to undo that foundation. We stand with those who support these core values.

ECS looks forward to responses from MLS and its member clubs and believes this is an opportunity to find a position that supporters, players, and ownership alike can align on.

 
Last week the Emerald City Supporters lost one of our own, Seth Ringling. Seth was a tifo crew volunteer on our weekday match crew, helping fill the Brougham End with color and he was always there for all hands tifo crew setups for big display days. Seth enjoyed traveling to support the Sounders, making friends along the way with his smile, laughter and sense of humor. We honored Seth yesterday with a banner on the capo stand and a moment of silence with all the flags up. Stefan Frei and Cristian Roldan came over after the match to pay their respects, signing the banner and giving the shirts off their back to help raise funds for Seth's final expenses. A fundraiser has been created to help, if you're interested in donating.
 
A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, September 7th at 5:00 pm at Mt Baker Rowing & Sailing Center, 3800 Lake Washington Blvd South, Seattle WA 98118. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Caitlyn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
Following the memorial, Fuel Sports Bar will be hosting an event for anyone wishing to gather, have a drink and honor Seth. Will Bruin will be there at 7:30 to join us in this difficult time. Fuel will donate a portion of proceeds from every Hellbent Capo's Choice, Jameson shot and "Bruin Shooter" to help with Seth's final expenses.
 
RIP Seth, Eternally Blue, Forever Green

S2 at Tacoma and Emerald City Supporters are pleased to announce a resolution to the events surrounding the May 12th match in which the group's capo and drummer were ejected from the stadium. Starting Sunday, June 10, a new mutually agreed upon security protocol, including a designated supporter liaison, is now in effect for all upcoming matches to protect both organizations against similar issues in the future.

As a show of good faith by S2 and the Tacoma Rainiers leadership, all ECS members will receive free admission on Sunday, June 10, so bring your 2018 membership card! For current supporters with S2 season tickets, a quick stop at the customer service window before the match will secure a refund for Sunday's ticket price.

Come on out and support your S2 at Tacoma. Let’s Sounder Together.

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Away at Vancouver, 2012Emerald City Supporters organizes away trips to all Sounders FC matches. Check here for all your travel information.  We welcome both ECS members and non-members alike to stand together as one group, one voice, and support our Sounders.

The ECS travel team wants to thank the over 3,900 people who attended an away match at some point with us in 2012. Everyone who was able to make an away game, whether traveling from Seattle or an “expatriate” who lives in another MLS city, was a part of the Sounders experience. We averaged nearly 130 supporters over the 24 away matches played in 2012, and our collective domestic and international travel topped 3 million miles.

Our club has become one of the leaders in the MLS.  Your voices and presence help lift the boys and we thank you for traveling with us. We are anxious for the stretch run of the 2013 season. With trips left to see the Sounders win back the Cascadia Cup, chase down the playoffs and watch our boys lift the MLS Cup you won't want to miss a moment, so start saving money, air miles, and vacation time once again!

If you're joining us for an upcoming trip, you can find details of the trip at the links below usually 4-6 weeks before the match.  You can also review our Planning Tips or City Guides.  If you're interested in other people's away trip experiences, read the stories listed below!

While 2009 was the first season of the MLS Sounders, it was not the first for the ECS. We came out with a bang for the home opener, with the “Tonight Our History Becomes Legend” display. A one section overhead in section 122 with sections 121 and 123 also included in the deployment, we immediately jumped onto the scene of MLS supporter group tifo and left our mark. The 2009 season also included a 35th anniversary tifo for the club, a display for the final regular season match and a flag display for the playoffs.

In 2010, we expanded our standard choreo to the full 3 sections of GA and we experimented with alternate methods of deployment with displays including “Fight for This City” and “The Boys From Seattle Are Back”. This was the season we pioneered the techniques that we still use to this day. This was the season we truly set ourselves apart from the rest of MLS.

2011 was the season the rest of the world took notice. Our choreos took a monumental leap forward; not only in quantity but also in quality. Not only did we make almost as many choreos that season as we did in the two previous seasons combined, but the level of detail and execution we reached surpassed even our wildest dreams. In a word: dominance.

The displays were highlighted by the inaugural Cascadia derbies, “Decades of Dominance” for Portland home and “What is best in life?” for the home game against Vancouver. We did large away displays for both Cascadia away matches as well, “Takes a Sounder to raise a trophy” at Portland and “We predict a riot” in Vancouver. This season also included our first large scale card display, something that requires great discipline from the whole group.

In 2012, we expanded our tifo and increased the use of card displays.  We started the season with “E Pluribus Sounders”, a mixture of cards and an overhead to represent the diverse nature of our team and show our unity.  We played with elephant condoms in CCL and had tifo for home and away USOC matches. And of course we went BIG with the “All In” display against Portland.

In 2013, we went bigger than we’d ever gone before with “Rise Above” for the home opener and “Build a Bonfire” vs Portland.  We also set a record for turnaround time for a tifo display, with the “Dempsey Watch” overhead deployed at his official announcement and created the night before based on the rumors of his arrival.