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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.

Photo by @PNWmf

Keep Writing History

This display was inspired by Royal Brougham, legendary Seattle sportswriter and the namesake of the Brougham End. The Brougham Beat documents the 2019 MLS Cup run from the opening round thriller against Dallas in which Jordan Morris scored the extra time winner, the challenge by Xavier Arreaga that set the tone as the Sounders knocked out LAFC, and the celebration as the team lifted the MLS cup in front of 69,274. 

While this display is a celebration of 2019’s championship, it’s also a reminder that both on the field and in the stands, we have a lot more to accomplish. Join the Emerald City Supporters this year as a member, as a volunteer, as a voice in the Brougham End and on the road as we look to write more history!