Tifo

What is tifo?

Tifo is derived from the Italian word tifosi, which describes a group of fans, or when used in the form “tifo” more commonly describes choreographed fan support through the use of flags, two-pole banners, smoke/pyro/flares, other visuals such as card displays, and so on. Ultras groups throughout the world create tifo in support of their team or to insult rival teams and supporters.

 

Can I make tifo?

Yes you can! A popular form of tifo you can make yourself is a two-pole. See our two-pole tutorial for a step by step guide.  We encourage our members to create their own tifo whether this be flags, two poles, or rail banners.  There is additional pride felt when you put the time and energy into creating something from scratch vs purchasing it from a print shop or other business.  If you feel your artistic abilities aren't up to snub, there are many ECS members that can help you with ways to create tifo without being the next Da Vinci.

Creating Tifo

Are there guidelines for what should be done on banners or flags?

Originality is always good. It is highly suggested not to steal images verbatim from what other groups have done. Same goes for wording or slogans on rail banners or two-poles. It is OK to use things as inspiration and come up with new variants, but it is bad form to copy down to the last detail!

Using symbols identified with your city is good source of image material: for Seattle, this might be city icons such as the Space Needle or silhouettes of people like Chief Sealth, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, or players and coaches.

For banners to mock opponents, using their symbols in degrading ways can be a turnabout to the prior item! Go to www.ultras-tifo.net and visit their message boards to see what other groups have done. Be creative, be edgy.

 

How can I help?

Check the forums for when we are gathering to make tifo. This will happen throughout the year and is also a great way to meet other members.  Please keep in mind tifo is something that is not discussed outside the group until after it has been displayed.  Photos, social media comments regarding art or location, or releasing sensitive information in any way is not permitted.  

Also, tifo costs money, as a giant overhead can cost thousands of dollars. If you would like to contribute money then please donate through PayPal.

Talking About Tifo

Can I talk about tifo or post pictures of tifo projects in progress? The answer is almost always no.

If it is a one-off (as many are) for use at a single match, the answer is definitely no. Especially against a rival or if the tifo is aimed at taking the piss out of the other team or its supporters. We don’t want the other team’s supporters to see what we’re up to, to give them the chance to respond with something of their own. One-off message banners should not be revealed before they are displayed in the stadium.

If the piece of tifo is small and intended for repeated use, and it is not directed to the away team or its supporters, then it might be okay to post pictures before the tifo is displayed on stadium. Many two-poles fall into this category.

If in doubt, contact the the ECS leadership or capos and get their input before making anything public, especially if your display has a written message.

 

 

Subcategories

While 2009 was the first season of the MLS Sounders, it was not the first for the ECS. We came out with a bang for the home opener, with the “Tonight Our History Becomes Legend” display. A one section overhead in section 122 with sections 121 and 123 also included in the deployment, we immediately jumped onto the scene of MLS supporter group tifo and left our mark. The 2009 season also included a 35th anniversary tifo for the club, a display for the final regular season match and a flag display for the playoffs.

In 2010, we expanded our standard choreo to the full 3 sections of GA and we experimented with alternate methods of deployment with displays including “Fight for This City” and “The Boys From Seattle Are Back”. This was the season we pioneered the techniques that we still use to this day. This was the season we truly set ourselves apart from the rest of MLS.

2011 was the season the rest of the world took notice. Our choreos took a monumental leap forward; not only in quantity but also in quality. Not only did we make almost as many choreos that season as we did in the two previous seasons combined, but the level of detail and execution we reached surpassed even our wildest dreams. In a word: dominance.

The displays were highlighted by the inaugural Cascadia derbies, “Decades of Dominance” for Portland home and “What is best in life?” for the home game against Vancouver. We did large away displays for both Cascadia away matches as well, “Takes a Sounder to raise a trophy” at Portland and “We predict a riot” in Vancouver. This season also included our first large scale card display, something that requires great discipline from the whole group.

In 2012, we expanded our tifo and increased the use of card displays.  We started the season with “E Pluribus Sounders”, a mixture of cards and an overhead to represent the diverse nature of our team and show our unity.  We played with elephant condoms in CCL and had tifo for home and away USOC matches. And of course we went BIG with the “All In” display against Portland.

In 2013, we went bigger than we’d ever gone before with “Rise Above” for the home opener and “Build a Bonfire” vs Portland.  We also set a record for turnaround time for a tifo display, with the “Dempsey Watch” overhead deployed at his official announcement and created the night before based on the rumors of his arrival.