The following MLSsoccer.com Q&A is an interview with a member of the Emerald City Supporters (ECS) leadership, who chose to remain anonymous. Build the mystery!
Why the Sounders? Why MLS?
I'm from Seattle. Seattle Sounders FC is my club. Where else in the world do you have the chance to be at the beginning of a club’s history? We look around the world and supporters for big clubs always love to look back at the old guard that “started it all.” In MLS and in Seattle with the ECS you have the chance to be those that “started it all."
What are some of the top moments you've had with the ECS?
There have been many top moments thankfully, due to our excellent club. But the top two moments are each of the USOC finals. Support on those days whether home or away was top notch, reminiscent of Europe. There was also good tifo in the two finals at home. Those were games where everyone you knew in your supporter group, whether new folks or long timers, come out all at the same time and supported to the fullest. Another top moment was the deployment of our "Decades of Dominance" tifo. It was mind boggling to see that level of tifo in MLS at this stage in its existence.
What makes that tifo so special?
No other moment captures the expression of our group's passion than the "Decades of Dominance" tifo displayed in 2011 at the home derby with Portland. This tifo was not the most original, but its sheer size and message are what make it a standout. This display showed understanding of history, the importance of the match, and great organizational capabilities as the display required 60 people to pull off. It was a tifo masterpiece that caught league-wide and worldwide attention.
We wanted to honor our continued dominance over the Timbers by looking at players that had dominated the Portland Timbers in the past and call on players that are still on the team to continue that domination in the present and future. The size of the display was to show the significance of the match to our team and fans. As a result they were inspired to say the least.
How does your group come up with the ideas for tifo and chants?
We have a collection of members that are artists and graphic designers that sit down with the leadership team and discuss ideas. Several concepts are developed and then the leaders of the group choose the winners. The goals of a tifo display typically are: inspire your team and players, inspire the home fan base, and take a dig at the opposing team. The concept that best captures those three points with the desired graphics typically gets chosen.
Sounds like there are a lot of moving parts within ECS. How do you balance it all and the other things in your life?
Managing tasks and volunteers is a difficult and time-consuming task, but it’s worth it if you are working towards a goal, and more importantly a vision. We all are aware that our vision may come true long after our terms with the group are done and long after we hand over the reigns of the group to the newer, younger generations to follow. This is the primary motivator for over 200 volunteers in the ECS. We have achieved great things since 2005, but we have bigger plans for the future. The balancing act is all about compartmentalizing tasks and assigning responsibility. If those responsible for a task fail, they realize they fail the group and possibly limit the group from achieving its goals and end vision. That is a huge deterrent to failure.