How do Major League Soccer supporters groups maintain a sense of community during the league’s 30-day suspension of matches with social distancing strongly suggested by health authorities during the coronavirus pandemic?
It’s a challenge Seattle Sounders supporters groups are meeting head on.
Mass gatherings were commonplace to Emerald City Supporters, Gorilla FC, Eastside Supporters and North End Faithful, whether its during matches at CenturyLink Field or the pre-game gatherings at local pubs.
At those same pubs, watch parties were planned for the Sounders road game against the Houston Dynamo, but those plans had to be scraped.
“There’s going to be an emptiness as we move forward,” Cameron Collins, president of Gorilla FC and the Sounders Alliance Council, told the Seattle Times. “Especially the camaraderie that you have with other fans and supporter groups. Some of that work goes on. We’re still going to have to figure out ways to connect with fans using the electronic means we have.”
One ECS member used the hashtag #onlinehappyhour asked fellow Sounders fans what they were eating and drinking and what songs they were listening to. Others were checking in with their fellow members, some of whom are especially vulnerable because of compromised immune systems.
Gorilla FC is looking into ways to volunteer to help those affected by other shutdowns and ECS still has a karaoke night planned for later this month.
“The right decision has been made, which is we shouldn’t have 30-40,000 people at a stadium at this point,” ECS co-president Tom Biro told the Seattle Times. “We support the Sounders any way we can and in this case it’s support by making sure that no one gets sick and we’re there when they’re ready to play in a few weeks or whenever it is.”