Seattle Sounders: My Night With The Emerald City Supporters


When I was 13 years old, my Dad and I drove up to Tempe, AZ from Tucson to see our Arizona Wildcats face their arch-rivals Arizona State in the final game of the football season.  The Wildcats only had two wins on the season but on this day they traveled into the home of the enemy and pulled off the upset.

When the game ended, a brawl erupted on the field between the two teams.  The ASU fans began to chant “A – S – U” in support of their defeated team.  My dad and I did what only two Wildcats could do surround by a bunch of Sundevils, we added “Sucks” to the end of their chant.

A few years later when I traveled to Salt Lake City to see my beloved Phoenix Suns take on the Utah Jazz the Suns dominated the game. I was so thrilled as the game progressed that I couldn’t bring myself to sit my butt down in the seat; I stood the majority of the game.

The large man sitting behind me was not too happy with my antics and eventually contacted security who asked me to either sit down or exit the arena.

More from MLS

A couple of weeks back I wrote an article about my journey to becoming a fan of MLS and specifically the Seattle Sounders.  After I published the article, it was read by a handful of people including Aaron Reed, one of the Co-Presidents of the Sounders most rowdy supporters group the Emerald City Supporters.

Aaron invited me to join him for the Sounder’s first playoff match and sit with amongst the ECS. As you may have figured out from my stories above, I have always been one who believed that sports should be enjoyed standing up and cheering, with plenty of craziness mixed in.

Monday night the Sounders took on FC Dallas in the second leg of the MLS Playoffs first round.

The match didn’t begin until 7:30 pm, but for Aaron and many of the other ECS members, the festivities began hours earlier.  I met up with Aaron around 5:00 at Merchants Café, a bar in downtown Seattle.  After introducing myself, Aaron’s first suggestion was that I go and make love to the Supporters Shield, the trophy the Sounders had won for finishing with the best record in the regular season.

I don’t think I went as far as making love with the trophy, but I got my picture taken with this 40 plus pound piece of hardware.

Next we grabbed a bite to eat and made stops at a few of the other bars where other ECS fans were gathered.

As I talked with Aaron and others they recounted stories from their travels around the country and even as far away as El Salvador to support the Rave Green. The life of an ECS member is more than just going to matches at Century Link Field, fans journey all around the country on their own dime to sing the songs of the Sounders.

Being an ECS member is a full-time job, but a job that doesn’t pay and instead requires the sacrifice of your own money and time. But for the most devoted members of the group it is a price they are willing to pay to cheer on their team.

But don’t think that they get nothing in return.  As was evident during our conversations, they are paid in good times and memories they will carry with them for a lifetime.

Sports are not simply about wins and losses. Many of my greatest memories growing up are centered around going to sporting events or simply watching games on TV with my Dad. This is the reason I am already trying to get my own son, even though he is just four months old, interested in sports.

March to the Match

At 6:30 pm, it was time for the “March to the Match”.  Hundreds and possibly thousands of Sounders fans met at Occidental Park in downtown Seattle to make the half mile walk to the stadium. Fans waved their blue and green scarves in the air and sang hymns of worship to their beloved football club.

As we arrived at the stadium it was time to find a seat in general admission sections.  Sections 121, 122, and 123 are devoted the Emerald City Supporters.  As you enter the sections, signs are posted for all to see that if you plan to sit in there, it is expected that you stand the entire 90 minutes and participate in cheering and singing.

Sounders matches are meant to be enjoyed whilst on your own two feet.  Not a single person is sitting in the entire lower bowl of the stadium.  But even though the other sections may be loud, nothing compares to the three ECS devoted sections.  From the time we entered the stadium 30 minutes before kickoff until the time the final whistle blew and several minutes beyond, ECS members were singing, jumping around and waving flags.

If your goal in attending a sporting event to closely watch the action and analyze the play of men on the field, then this section is not for you.  Flags waving all around made it difficult at times to see the action down on the pitch.  But if you believe that you as a fan have a direct impact on the performance of your team, then there is nowhere else you would rather be than amongst the ECS.

Live Feed

Léo Chú's Red Card Costs Seattle Sounders in Controversial Draw with Portland Timbers
Léo Chú's Red Card Costs Seattle Sounders in Controversial Draw with Portland Timbers /

MLS Multiplex

  • MLS Elevates International Standing with September Call-UpsMLS Multiplex
  • Check out the games for this MLS comebackMLS Multiplex
  • Paul Rothrock: Meteoric Rise of a Local Promise to Stardom in the Seattle SoundersMLS Multiplex
  • Clint Dempsey: The Indelible Legacy at the Seattle SoundersMLS Multiplex
  • Unique Vibes: The Intense Passion of Seattle Sounders FansMLS Multiplex
  • Maybe it has to do with the sporting culture in Seattle, but fans truly believe that they have as much impact on the outcome of the game as the players do.  And nowhere is that more apparent than at Seattle Seahawks games when the loudness of the 12th man causes opposing offenses to make mistakes they would not have made at their home field.

    Seattle Sounders matches are no different.  Fans that are so passionate about their team that they sacrifice a clean view of the action in order to cheer on the players in hopes of giving them the extra push they need win the match.

    I had never yelled more or felt more involved in a sporting event in my life.  I didn’t even know the people sitting on either side of me before the match began.  But as the final whistle blew and the Sounders had escaped to the next round of the playoffs, we had all become friends and could feel exactly what the other person was feeling, a mix of excitement and relief.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the Seattle Sounders have what it takes to win the MLS Cup this season.  But there is also no doubt that the supporters play a vital role in their success.  And the stats prove it.  On the road this season the Sounders have a goal difference of zero, but at home that goal difference is +15.

    Thanks to Aaron Reed and all the other Emerald City Supporters, I had an experience I will never forget.  But in the end, that’s what sports is all about, creating memories and experiences that can last a lifetime. Oh yeah, and winning, sports is definitely about winning.  So how about it Sounders:

    Take ‘em all, Take ‘em all,

    Put ‘em up against a wall and shoot ‘em,

    Short n tall, watch ‘em fall,

    Come on boys, take ‘em all