|Match Day Schedule
Saturday, April 16
???? Find a pregame spot of your choice
5:45PM Close your tabs and head to Occidental Park for the March to the Match
6PM March to the Match
7:01PM Own the place
|Dates, Dates, Dates
Sunday, April 17, S2 vs Colorado Springs, 7PM PT
Saturday, April 23, SSFC @ Colorado Rapids, 6PM PT
Tuesday, April 26, S2 @ Real Monarchs SLC, 6PM PT
Sounders FC vs. Philadelphia Union
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Kickoff: 7PM PT
Royal Brougham Park (CenturyLink Field)
It's not often that I write hype posts or match previews for ECS. You see, I'm not a formal member of the organization. Tom reached out and asked if I would take a few minutes and pound out some words. I was tempted to talk about how Sounders matches are a ritual like Church, or that we are still known for our mighty Sound, or maybe that with a loss-less streak now is not the time to waver. Philly is ripe for the plucking, it really is the time to focus, because they are not also-rans.
The Union are a complete team
capable of taking points from anyone.
Instead, let's avoid those conventional routines. You are an ECS member that opened this email. You know who the Union are. You love the Sounders. Most of you already read my
. You are already loud. You work every gameday to energize the 40,000 friends in your stadium.
Let's talk about that. On a partly cloudy Seattle evening in the low-60s you will be in the stadium, or if you aren't in Seattle then you'll be at a partner bar or you home in front of a TV. You will be supporting, of that I am certain.
You will be standing, singing. You will be arm in arm with your neighbor. You will welcome the newb as much as the friend of decades. Because this is what you do.
This is what we do - all of us.
Because this Sounders thing, it's a part of our souls now. It is a part of who are and who we are becoming. When you are needy - we are here. When the team is down - we are here. When the team is up - we are here.
Signs aren't necessary. A membership card is merely a symbol. It is how we act that defines us. No title informs the world of what we are. Tens of thousands of scarves up unified in purpose singing along to the National Anthem, the Bluest Skies (at kick), Roll on Columbia (11') and Sounders 'til I die (74'). There is no capo needed for these. One need not stand in GA for these.
They are known.
Whether in 214, 113, up in a suite, over in the Hawks Nest, having some prawns in the comfy leather chairs or in GA these things we do.
We call. We repeat. We boom-boom-clap as one giant, singular soul.
These are done to raise the spirits on the pitch. These things are done because we are Sounders as much as the XI, the 18, the coaching staff. These things are done not as rituals, like a dusty old religion, but because we are.
We are Sounders, seldom sober. We are Sounders, all blue and green. We are Sounders, mighty Sounders from the Brougham End. W
e love our Sounders, love the blue and the green and we'll keep on singing 'til our next victory.
We are Sounders, born in '74 and ready for our next gathering. You will sing for me and I will sing for you. Where ever we go we are Sounders together.
United vs. One
NOTE: Earlier in the week, ECS published its stance on recent issues between MLS and supporters groups, most notably its position on the hypocrisy of the league marketing itself with supporters using smoke and pyro while concurrently banning supporters for the use of said items. Here it is, in its entirety.
In the 1980's, Hooliganism was rampant throughout the English Football leagues, so much so that it was called the
. It was part of what instituted CCTV, which is now easily visible across the country.
It was a dark time in football's history, one that led to sweeping changes to the way the English now watch their beloved game. Terraces were removed, standing became a punishable offense, and ticket prices skyrocketed. The working class English supporter was eventually pushed out, and the English football atmosphere now resembles little of its former self. However, before and during this period, English football supporters were one of, if not the most, revered supporters in the world for what they did inside the stadiums on match day.
Many of their songs and less nefarious traditions have since spread across the world, including to the streets of our beloved Seattle. What matters here when looking back at those supporters is their ability to come together as individuals and turn a quiet soggy football pitch into a cacophony of sound as they passionately pushed their clubs to stratospheric heights was something to be appreciated. Those supporters of the 70's and 80's left an indelible mark (both positively and negatively) on the way people support their football clubs across the world in a number of ways, and it's important to remember where match day support WAS in England, and how it got to where it stands (or sits, really) today.
Fast forward a couple decades with me.
The Emerald City supporters arrive on the scene (that's you). ECS brings a blend of football culture from around the world, including songs and traditions from clubs like Dortmund, Millwall, and Panathinaikos to the stadium on match day. Those songs and traditions, along with the infusion of its own American style, makes headlines in 2009 as the Seattle Sounders smash through attendance records and expectations...but the story that's told about the Emerald City Supporters isn't exactly complete. The groundwork for what ECS does was built from the early days of MLS.
Supporter groups started popping up in the old soccer mom-friendly MLS.
Even so, groups in Chicago and DC sang songs, displayed choreos, lit flares and smoke bombs to celebrate. ECS, in some small part, was built on the backs of these early adopters of supporter culture in the United States. As groups from cities such as Toronto, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Philadelphia, New York, Orlando, Montreal, and LA grew and shaped themselves into the groups we see today, the MLS has flourished.
The league continues to expand, players never thought obtainable are coming into the league, and attendance continues to grow. Long gone are the soccer mom marketing plans. MLS ads are now heavily inundated with visions and language straight from supporter culture. Impenetrable walls of flags dance in slow motion, drummers are seen beating their tools of the trade, and plumes of colored smoke are seen wafting into the night sky. This is how MLS sells its brand. WE are how MLS continues to grow. YOU are the reason this league and your club continue to become destination points for top tier talent all over the world.
Over the last few seasons we've begun to see a change from MLS, though. We saw the "code of conduct" class policy instituted. We've seen an uptick in bans, fines, and sanctions against groups and individuals often with little or no evidence and even less recourse for appeal. Supporter groups aren't without their faults in this country, but compared to other countries, MLS supporters tend to be pretty well-behaved. Many groups appreciate that if they do the crime, they pay the fine despite there really aren't 100% clear rules and regulation available in every instance. The league still has zero away support protocols, and security theater is the hottest show in town.
Which brings me to the point.
Recently, the DC United Supporter groups had a march to the stadium to help unify the various groups. Over the years, they've had their differences and in an act to reunify for the support of their club, they decided to "bury the hatchet," so to speak.
They marched, they sang, and they popped smoke as they have before on their way TO the stadium. MLS has since brought sanctions on the District Ultras (1 of the 4 groups involved) and banned another prominent member of the District Ultras for 1 calendar year FROM ALL MLS SOCCER MATCHES. They claim the individual's act was a crime though no charges have been brought up against the individual by the DC Police Department and the District Ultras are also claiming that the device falls within the laws of Washington, D.C. According to our understanding, this was this individual's 1st MLS offense.
understand MLS' fear of the hooliganism of the 1980's. We
understand the desire to keep all fans safe. We
fear MLS is hurting the culture and the league they claim to care so much about by treating supporters the way they do. ECS has worked very closely with the Sounders' FO to allow our supporters to enjoy all the great things being a supporter comes with. While we may not always come to an agreement on how we do things, the Sounders' FO has always kept an open dialogue with us which is why we rarely have found ourselves in situations like this. We appreciate the Sounders for continuing to keep the working relationship we have, and we hope MLS can look to the Sounders as they have in the past for guidance on how to better communicate with their more passionate fans.
ECS does not support violence or criminal activity in any form, but we also request that individuals and groups be provided evidence of their crime as well as be justly punished. Everyone deserves fair treatment regardless of their offense. MLS routinely markets its brand with images of supporters just like this individual in DC popping smoke and flares. Acts they claim to be against their code of conduct and to be illegal. Their own employee Rachel Bonnetta (who has since left MLS)
was proudly displayed
popping smoke with OCSC supporters from the MLS' own YouTube account.
It is hypocritical of the MLS to use the supporters of this league for advertisements and then ban and sanction them for the exact same actions they use in those marketing efforts. Furthermore, a system that does not provide evidence to these individuals / groups of their "crimes" while punishing them is unacceptable. There is a double standard in MLS and it cannot continue.
Historically, ECS has taken a very hands-off approach in dealing with supporter groups from around the league. We do everything we can to not distract our supporters from supporting our club. That said, given the way ECS and its members were treated by the league last season, as well as our understanding that eventually our members could very well be in the same situation as the District Ultras, we have decided to stand with the them, as many other supporter groups have over this past week.
We find the way MLS is treating the supporter groups that have built and funded this league for 20 years to be completely unacceptable. If a crime has been committed, then let the authorities deal with it. We find the double standard MLS shows by marketing individuals and then banning them for the same actions unacceptable. We find the system in which supporters are punished unacceptable. Supporters helped build this league. They deserve more respect, appreciation, and communication then the current MLS management gives them, especially considering their long-term viability has a significant dependence on the environments that we, the suppoorters, help create on matchday.
We, the supporters of the MLS and American soccer are not hooligans and we should not be treated as such.
We stand united with DC.
(NOTE: We're continuing the conversation
2016 Memberships On Sale
While Dave Clark might not be a "formal" ECS member, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be. Haven't renewed or bought a 2016 membership yet? How about right now?
For 2016, there are now two flavors of kits available, one for $20 and one for $30. The $30 option comes with our custom 2016 ECS scarf. Get yours now!
Looking for new ECS gear?
On Saturday, we'll be offering a sneak peek at Fuel of one of our new t-shirts that'll be available this spring and summer, pre-match, after 3:30PM.
These shirts will be available in limited sizes in person for $15 to current ECS members.
Columbus tickets now available
Looking for a general admission ticket for our upcoming match vs. Columbus later this month? They're on sale now at the ECS shop, in limited quantities for current ECS members, so make sure you've purchased or renewed your 2016 kit!
Reminder: Founders Club Refunds
A quick reminder to fill out the form that linked in the email sent to any ECS member who purchased an S2 / Founders Club / SCT membership through ECS in 2014. Almost everyone has responded, and we'd like to start processing those refunds ASAP. Didn't receive your email? Message us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll resend it to you ASAP.
Additionally, any requests for store credit were emailed on Friday, 4/15, and confirmed checks will be going out via US Mail the week of 4/18.
Listen, good teams find ways to grind out results, even when they're not playing their best. Were we at our best today? Probably not. Did we get a great result? Yes. So let's build off that.
See you on the terraces!
Emerald City Supporters