Reaching the decade threshold for any supporter group is quite the achievement. As we know, supporter groups are volatile organizations enthralled with passion and discord. As a group grows, the quantity and variety of diverging visions for the future course of the group and for its core values changes. There is no doubt that over the course of its first 10 years, the ECS has seen its pivotal moments that have taken us through tough times. We have boycotted matches, we have refused to travel, we have questioned our own motives, we have invested in our club’s future with S2, we have made tifo mistakes, we have had run-ins with authorities. Ultimately, we have not only survived the many challenges, but we have been able to climb to the pinnacle of supporter culture in North America.

Often we love to compare ourselves to groups overseas. Some of our members long for the culture and imagery present in terraces in Europe. Those cultures are ancient by comparison to ours, but to what may be a surprise, that culture is comprised of a continually revolving door of supporter groups. The typical age of a supporter group is 5-10 years. Supporter groups are often born out of a group of friends with passion and then, due to growth, when the group’s size demands more than mere passion and needs organization and hierarchy, the groups typically collapse onto themselves. The reason for collapse is typically driven by one or multiple member’s personal desires to imprint their agenda on the group, rather than pursuing a common goal which, in certain cases, may even detract from those members’ standing. The persistence of the common goal and vision, regardless of agenda, is the key success factor in sustaining a long term supporter group. Without a doubt, passion is the underlying factor. However, it is the decisions – ranging from the day-to-day to the 5, 10, 20 year plans that provide the group pragmatic foundations for survival and growth.

The ECS has reached its first decade not through personal agendas or being part of a revolving door of smaller groups, but rather due to a continuous and health changeover of individuals in leadership positions. These people change often and contribute significantly in their terms by bringing in fresh and new ideas that keep the group going. To a certain degree, in the ECS the culture is not the revolving door, it is its leadership group. The passion is constant, the supporters love their team, the leaders in ECS whose goal is to help others support to their fullest are expected to come and go. This setup, as long as new faces always step up and old leaders are willing to teach the new, will allow the ECS to reach multiple decades of existence with our culture pervading the soccer sphere in Seattle, the Northwest, and North America.

In order to honor our first decade, we have designed a unique “Decade of Dominance” themed membership package for our 2015 members. The entire membership package is available here. The membership package includes two scarves: a woven scarf and a lightweight scarf - you can learn more about the scarves here. These scarves were designed by your members and produced by Ruffneck Scarves (the owners of which are ECS members since 2008 and started their scarf business with ECS’ first scarf order of 200 in 2008). The membership package also includes a randomly selected 1 of 4 flag designs. We wanted our members to start bringing in their own flags to build color in the section and this is a giant leap in that direction. Ultimately, the package includes a booklet with information on the groups first “Decade of Dominance” of the North American supporter scene.