I just realized I will be turning 30 shortly. And of those 30 years, I have spent the last 4-5 years supporting, socializing, and making friendships within our ranks and I have loved every bit of it. What I also realized was that, albeit young, the Sounders are in year 4 of MLS presence and that the ECS has a bit of its own history in the MLS era that newer members may not be aware of. So, I want to take you on a bit of a historical journey of where the ECS was in 2008 (yes officially the season started in 2009, but a lot was going on in 2008) and how far it has come until now. I will be dividing the historical journey into installments based on years. The first one, for 2008, is included below with the 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 and beyond stories to follow in the following newsletters.


Below, I have summarized the MLS-era ECS milestones that have shaped this group and provided some little known facts associated with our major achievements. The point of this series on ECS' MLS history is purely educational. The overarching objective in the ECS is to get the entire Brougham End into what the ECS does and to do it with the same passion for a Full90. So that we know where we're going and to help ensure that we do so successfully, we must also know where we come from. I hope that ECS members will read this, feel inspired to build on our past achievements, and make the group stronger, better, and bigger.


In 2008, the ECS was supporting the USL Sounders down at Starfire. The USL Sounders were not having an exceptional season by our standards. ECS was a solid group of 50 supporters, 100 on a good day. We also knew what was coming on the horizon; in fact, on November 17, 2007, Drew Carey had announced that an "MLS team" was coming to Seattle. As the details of the new MLS club kept coming out over the course of the 2008 USL season, the ECS went through its own changes. We developed the current ECS logo as previously there were variants of multiple logos used. The new logo is unique and very distinguishable in the supporters community. We knew that when MLS came, we needed a special and clearly defined identity that would withstand the test of time.

In 2008, we also devised the membership package as a means to grow the group. The concept of selling a membership is not new, but the package we offered was a scarf, a shirt, and a membership card that gave you discounts at establishments in the community. This comprehensive type of membership concept was something new in MLS and it has now been copied by several groups. This type of membership allowed the group to accomplish several things. First, our members had something tangible without big corporate logos on it to express their devotion to Sounders FC. Second, the membership package allowed us to sustain the group financially while being able to accurately count our membership and track our growth. This way, we did not have to count Facebook group "likes" as members. Little known and interesting fact: our scarf in the first membership package was Ruffneckwear's first order ever. They are now a successful company, and own a PDL team in Bellingham, Bellingham United.

In 2008, we also managed to get a presence on the USL sounders website for the first time ever. This seems like something ludicrous to consider as an achievement due to how far ECS has come in the media since then, but at the time it was a true turning point. People take such things for granted now – but back then even getting a 10 word mention on the Sounders website was amazing. We had been mentioned on the USL site because we hosted our very first viewing party ever at the Atlantic Crossing, now one of our mainstay bars. The viewing party was for the away USL playoff match away vs. Montreal and we had hooked up a computer to Gareth's TV to show the awful USL-quality video feed over a 40 inch television. Basically poor video feed, no audio, yet 200 people showed up and we had a great time despite the result – which eliminated us from the title race. The success of this viewing party led us to think that viewing parties, in conjunction with home games at the stadium would be the two most fertile recruiting grounds for ECS members to grow the group. As a result, ECS has organized at least one viewing party for every Sounders away match ever since.

Thus far, I've talked about things that the ECS started to do in 2008, but they aren't really anything too revolutionary. The two most important achievements for the ECS in 2008 were the fight for the Sounders name and for the existence of the General Admission area. In 2008, the ECS spearheaded the grassroots effort to maintain the Sounders name – thank god we aren't the Emerald City Greens! Your president Keith Hodo worked countless hours sending thousands of emails (at a time when the ECS website had 70 users on the forums) to people in the sports community to get fans to put "Sounders" as a write-in in the ballot., run by David Falk – former organizer of the POD, also worked relentlessly towards the Sounders name. I think that it now goes without question that the choice of the "Sounders" name was a smart one, in addition to being the right one. In fact, many believe that another name would not have allowed the current Sounders to enjoy the success that they are currently experiencing. The use of the "Sounders" name gave permanence to soccer in the region and allowed for the history of the Sounders to be preserved.

ECS also fought long and hard for the General Admission section – a place where the ECS was able to set down roots. The ECS needed a place where people could congregate with like-minded supporters willing to sing and support for a Full90 and not worry about what seat to sit in. We needed a place where we could be ourselves without upsetting those that did not want to enjoy the match in the same manner. We initially wanted the section to be called a supporter section, rather than a GA "party section". This did not happen and has caused a bit of a misconception over the years as to what to truly expect in the section. As you know, in 2012 it was denoted the Supporters Section, and the upper 121, 122, 123 sections were added. A small step-towards one vision and one goal: the entire Brougham End chanting and supporting.

From an organizational standpoint, 2008 was a difficult year for the ECS. New faces were coming into the fold, and older members were leaving due to the direction we had taken. A choice had to be made as to where the group was going and how it was going to get there. We made a decision to grow initially in size to gain influence in the Sounders community and to then focus on education. We also opted for a Full90 style of support. We decided that our support would largely be a mixture of English style chants, German style capoing, and Italian style tifo. At the time there was no firm structure and organization. Multiple people worked and covered each other and most of the work was done by a handful of people with no clear titles and well defined responsibilities. This environment lead to squabbles between members and reduced the effectiveness of our hard work. We knew that when 2009 came along we would have to do better.

Back then, buying an ECS membership was basically handing me or Keith money in a sketchy corner of a bar. We were just a group of soccer fans trying to get organized, trying to figure out who was good at what within the group. Meetings were random beer sessions, we stored tifo in our closets and our membership boxes were a shambles in Keith's basement. Ah yes, good times and fond memories…we have come a long way. We all wanted more for the Sounders and wanted supporter culture to grow in the city and region.

To conclude this first installment on ECS' MLS history, I want to point out that the ECS achieved many other things in 2008, but to be concise, I have narrowed these down to the ones described above. These, I believe, were the stepping stones for the massive 2009 season.

I hope you enjoyed this important embryonic chapter in ECS history and I hope that you will read the next installment regarding 2009. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, FuzzyForeigner, on the ECS forums.