By Brandon Lynch, ECS FC Director

ECS FC started in 2008, featuring our founders Sean McConnell as a winger and Eric Gilbertson as our goalkeeper, with current presidents Keith Hodo playing centerback and Greg Mockos playing in the midfield.  In its first season, that team finished in GSSL’s lowest division with one point and a -46 goal differential.  The growth of the club since that time has been amazing, this current season we have a team in all 5 of GSSL’s Sunday Men’s divisions.  We also have a team in GSSL’s Over-40 men’s league, RATS women’s division 1, RATS men’s division 2, 3 teams in Arena Sports Indoor, 1 team in Starfire Indoor and 1 team in Starfire Outdoor.  With numerous championships and individual records accumulated across those leagues, ECS FC is a powerhouse of amateur soccer in Seattle.  In addition to all of that, we run our own ECS Pub League for supporters who want to play and get a better understanding of the game they love. 

That’s all great, but the question is: Why? 

Like everything we do in ECS, the goal of the club is to build more support for the Sounders.  One way our club does this is by getting long-time players involved in the supporters scene that they may not have otherwise been aware of, like me.  I've played soccer since I was 4 years old and I played at the highest levels in the state. I got my referee certs at the age of 13 and was active until I was about 18. I started coaching when I was 14 and had my 'D' national license by the time I was 16 and have been coaching at various age and skill levels. But even with all this soccer in my life and all my experiences as a player, referee, and coach I had absolutely no exposure to supporters culture and no clue it even existed.

When the Sounders moved to the MLS in 2009 and season tickets went on sale, I asked some people I had played with at work where they were getting their tickets and fellow ECS FC coach Justin Atkinson told me he was getting them on the end line with the supporters.  I shrugged this off as crazy, as I wanted the best seats possible and I purchased tickets in Section 214.

Leading up to the season, I started learning more about the ECS by reading the forums and I became a member at the first home game, watching the support from Section 214.  About that time, I read on the forums that ECS had a team that needed players, so I offered to come out.  I met Sean McConnell at Fuel during a Sounders pregame the day before my first ECS FC match, and met several other players when I managed to get tickets in the ECS section for the day.

ECS FC GSSL Winter 2008 TeamWhen I showed up the next day for our ECS FC match, I met the rest of the team: ECS co-presidents, finance directors, web monkeys, merch managers, and many of the longest standing ECS members were all part of that team.  Despite being new to both the team and the ECS, I was welcomed as an equal.  In a bar, I might have been intimidated by these people who knew each other but on the field the language of soccer made us peers and I was completely comfortable.  Our capo was our coach, our presidents were midfielders and defenders but we were all players of ECS FC.  The off-field roles and responsibilities were insignificant and we got to know each other on a different level. 

As the season progressed and I became friends with the ECS leadership, I ended up leading a tifo crew and working on tifo displays in the sweat shop.  As ECS membership grew exponentially, Sean needed to pass off his duties as coach of ECS FC and because of my background he asked me to take over.  Without ECS FC I would not have gotten involved in the ECS and wouldn’t be the supporter I am today.

Another reason we’ve built this club is for the supporters who haven’t played, but love the sport.  We often say that an educated supporter is a better supporter, and our club strives to help people learn about the game.  Pub League gives people an opportunity to understand what’s happening on the field at a level that you can’t achieve while standing in the terraces.  It is truly amazing seeing people’s depth of knowledge and appreciation for the little things in the game grow.  Every one of these people continue to make friends and family within the ECS FC and we bond as a group and grow as supporters.

If you’re interested in learning more about ECS FC, check out our website and if you’re interested in playing with us at any level let us know here.