News

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.

ECS Co-President Greg Mockos is writing a history of the ECS in the MLS era. June's Newsletter allowed you to catch up on what we were doing back in 2008. This month, he recaps the historic inaugural 2009 MLS season. What a year.

2009

The inaugural season for Sounders FC was jam-packed with incredible moments, historic firsts for our club, and for our supporters group as well. The Sounders kicked off their expansion season with a record setting slew of results. That 3-0 drubbing at Qwest Field was an emotional night. ECS deployed its first large scale tifo display. I recall watching replays of the NYRB defenders cupping their hands around their ears so that they could hear the bench. It was loud; it was a first for MLS. Garber was nearly in tears: "This is what I always dreamt MLS to be like."

2009 was great year, but the sudden growth that we saw put a massive strain on all those who helped run the group. We had not anticipated the Sounders and ECS to be as successful as it has been ever since. We nailed it in 2009, but we still were not very organized. Several individuals did multiple tasks, did not delegate, and we found ourselves constantly overlapping roles to cover as our "real lives" got in the way. The offseason before 2010 we acknowledged this fact and set forth the correct it. We had to manage our tasks better and had to seek out help. We also had learned several lessons from 2009 about the GA section and how to better manage it.

the largest ECS membership bump, bringing in over 2400 new members. It was also clear that the ECS was now a permanent fixture, an integral part to the Sounders community. Nothing cemented this more, than

the Decades of Dominance tifo

.

The effects of this tifo were immense and surely overshadowed the other amazing tifos we did in 2011. The importance of the tifo was that it sent a clear message to the team, took a dig at our rivals, and unified the entire stadium (remember the noise level when that thing went up?!). This tifo and the rivalry drew renewed interest in supporter groups, including the ECS. As a result, we saw increased exposure on national media and the ECS name got out there. Everyone was infatuated with the Sounders in 2009 and 2010. There was fear that in 2011 the shine would have rubbed off. Everyone wanted to put our rivals in the spotlight. But with that tifo, and our support throughout the year, the ECS made a clear statement that "We are here and we are still the best at what we do."

2011 was also a record year for travel. We brought, on average, 70 supporters to EVERY MLS regular season match, including matches in faraway CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) locales. We organized busloads of supporters to travel to Portland and Vancouver and even managed to pull off some excellent away tifo. Seeing over 800 travel north and south was a sight to see – reminiscent of traveling supporters overseas. Without a doubt, away travel is one of the areas in ECS which generates core members. Traveling away cements the love with the club and creates a bond with fellow supporters unlike anything else we do. That is why it is a huge part of what we do – right up there with tifo and singing on game day.

Last, but not least, ECS was also able to further funnel more members into the GA section as it was done the previous year. This time we managed to add 60 ECS. And during the season we could now start claiming all of 122 and half of 121 and 123. One element that helped us in this endeavor was the continued emergence of our subgroups. Subgroups have been forming since 2009 and have grown since then. ECS has several regional subgroups and if you are interested please go here: http://www.weareecs.com/groups/. Subgroups assist the ECS by organizing supporters without the direct supervision of the leadership team. They help magnify the effect of what the ECS does. All subgroup members are required to be ECS members first.

I have written a lot and but have really just skimmed the surface recounting ECS' history in MLS. I hope you have enjoyed the 4 parts of this series. When 2012 is over, I will write a summary of this year as well. It is important that newer members understand at what point in the group's life they joined. Some have been here forever; some have just joined and may be oblivious to the growing pains, the successes and the failures that this group has encountered. I hope these articles provide some perspective, or, at the bare minimum, elicit a degree of curiosity from the reader. I hope this curiosity will take the form of members wanting to ask questions and discuss the history of our group with long standing veterans of the Brougham End. Doing this helps begin a dialogue to learn from our past and bring new ideas in order to make our future even brighter.

Up the Sounders! Up the ECS!

Greg Mockos

ECS Co-President

Emerald City Supporter:

2012 was a year full of ups and downs for our club; a year full of elation followed by devastation; a year of great memories and dashed opportunities. Our beloved Sounders once again turned in a winning season and played their hearts out. Yes, we did not win any silverware – a first for this club at the MLS level – but we also made it further in the playoffs.

The ebb and flow of this season was probably felt more than in the previously three years in MLS. In those first three years the novelty had not worn off, the expectations were contained, and the maturity of our club was still in development. This year we felt more like a tested club that has been around the block, a club that was ready to set a concrete and realistic goal before itself. Not all the goals set were achieved, yet this, I believe, is a new starting point for the club. In certain ways, our first 3 years in MLS felt like our adolescent years: we were maturing, we were figuring out who we were, we were defining what we wanted and how we wanted to play. In 2012, I feel this club matured and truly became aware of its ambitions and identity. 2013 will be a continued maturation process and without a doubt, our Sounders will set the same goals as this past season: continued improvement, silverware, and continue to be a top-tier MLS club.

In the same fashion, the ECS lives and breathes alongside the Sounder organization. We share the same desires and our support matches our players' drive. In parallel to how I described the growth of the club, the ECS has also grown in similar nature. Don't worry, I'm not talking about numbers. Surely we continue to grow, but it is the belief that the ECS is going to be here for a long while that was really cemented in 2012. We are a dedicated group of passionate supporters that have an embedded mentality of passing on our passion and infecting those around us. We have a sustainable structure that enables new members to climb the ranks or empowers members to support the way they want to support. We have a supporter group that can always be relied upon home and away. We are able to do more with less, we are able to reach out to new supporters while still relying on those that have been around a while. We all understand that this group will outlive us and that is an amazing feeling.

The accomplishments and lessons learned in 2012 by the ECS are too many to count. We made amazing tifos, our songs are louder than ever before, our travel is awe-inspiring, our charity efforts are focused, our communication avenues are expanding and improving, and our leadership structure is making strides to accomplish our ultimate objective: enabling our members to support our boys to their fullest. I could make a long run down of specifics, but I don't want to distract you from the underlying vision and goal of this organization. There is a lot we can do better, but we are confident and assured that our vision of the entire Brougham End singing, pogoing, waving, flags, and chanting is well within our reach.

The vision of creating the most inspiring, intimidating, and dedicated supporter end in North America is alive and well. In 2013, we will be one season closer.

See you on the terraces.

Greg Mockos

ECS Co-President