—by Matthew Lindley
With this group, one thing has always remained true. As stated by then-Board President Jeremy Wright at the Cascadia Summit in 2011: “We only have one supporters group, and it’s called the Timbers Army.”
Let’s be honest: with a few shining exceptions, the last season and a half have been a struggle. More than half of the 10 seasons I’ve been watching this team have been a struggle. The ups are as obvious as the downs have been devastating. That said, one thing has always been true, and that is the Timbers Army. One collected singing voice, match after match, sending power pitchward and attempting to lift our boys in even the lowest of circumstances and celebrating with them our greatest triumphs.
Bearing that philosophy in mind, a few of us started to kick around the idea of one match where the entire North End could make a united statement, a show of force that we all are still one big Army. And there are no two better symbols to make that statement than the No Pity scarf and a sunflower.
I’ve always been a sucker for the concept of “homecoming” in college football being one of the more important days of any season. So this Sunday, August 6th, our next home match and the closest to "full strength" we will have been since damn near April, it’s a Day of Timbers Army Unity!
Basically, an old tradition and a new tradition melded into one.
The first being “Sunflower Day”, a tradition started by Eric Yinger to bring sunflowers to the match closest to the anniversary of the death of Timber Jim Serrill’s daughter Hannah. An annual showing of support and awareness in tribute to the TA's and the team’s spiritual leader since the days of the NASL. The idea is to bring sunflowers to the match and hold them up in the 80th minute when “Sunshine” is sung. Eric and his crew have amassed minimal donations to try and provide sunflowers for the match, but “BYOS” is HIGHLY encouraged.
Secondly, with full respect to the robust and creative merch culture that surrounds PTFC, there has always been one widely recognized symbol of the TA: the No Pity scarf. The origin story has been told many times, but nothing immediately represents a member of this community faster than those green and white bars and black letters around the neck of a supporter. So what we propose is bring your favorite NP, regardless of fringe color, and at the end of the National Anthem, raise them all high until the first kick—a sea of green and white flooding the North End as we all sing “Hey Portland Timbers, we salute you”. WE ARE THE TIFO.
So there it is, simple really. Bring your No Pity, bring a sunflower, hold ‘em up. Show the world who we are!
by Keith Palau
Dedication of Timbers Army-themed room, July 12th, 2017
It was joyful but also bittersweet to be part of the dedication of two family visitation rooms for foster children and families at Beaverton’s Department of Human Services offices this afternoon.
Core team members in the Timbers Army-themed Room
Furniture in the Thorns/Riveters-themed room; time to chill for a minute
The rooms have been in use for the past month, and are a big hit with foster kids and their families as they spend time together. THANK YOU to the hundreds of you who’ve been involved! You gave your money, your time, your energy, passion, creativity, talent and enthusiasm. You are making a difference not only in the lives of children in great need of extra love and support, but also showing the hard-working DHS staff that the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters care about them and support them in their efforts to serve and protect these often vulnerable members of our community. I am greatly honored to be part of your 107IST Community Outreach Team! I encourage you to continue finding ways to volunteer with your fellow Rose City Riveters and Timbers Army, or to dip your toe in the water if you’ve not yet done so. I’ve made amazing friends and been blessed beyond what I could have imagined by doing so myself. Thanks again!
C'mon, this photo HAD to get in here. ;-)
EDITOR'S NOTE: MLS announced today that Keith Palau is in the running for MLS Community MVP of the Year. If he wins, MLS will donate $25,000 to Embrace Oregon to support more projects like this one.
Read more about MLS Community MVP and vote for Keith here.
The GPSD O30 D2 and TAFC Division Championships were postponed last weekend for player safety due to the incredibly warm temperatures. We’ve rescheduled both matches for 7/6 at Providence Park, with the O30 D2 Championship kicking off at 6:30PM, and the TAFC Division Championship kicking off at 8:30PM.
Gates are at 6:15PM for fans, who should enter through Gate 1. No tickets are required for entry as this will not be a ticketed match. Limited concessions (beer, water, snacks) will be available for purchase, so no food/drink will be allowed to enter the stadium, but fans may leave/re-enter as needed.
Please plan to attend and cheer on your TAFC mates as they play for their respective championships!
Dear Friends of Jimmy Conway:
It has been 8 years now since Jimmy was first diagnosed with "Trauma Induced Dementia". Since that time, Jimmy’s path has been similar to others with dementia. While his physical condition has unfortunately gradually deteriorated, he remains strong in spirit. He always finds a smile for Noeleen and those who visit with him, and you can still catch a glimpse of that indomitable spirit and his infectious smile.
Jimmy’s legacy in soccer lives on. In the Pacific Northwest here in the US, his name is synonymous with the growth of soccer at every level of the game. He worked—tirelessly and oftentimes without great fanfare or compensation—playing, coaching and teaching the game he loved. I think it would be fair to say that most persons involved with soccer in the state of Oregon are 1-3 degrees removed from his influence.
Seeing how successful every level of the sport is today here in Oregon is a testament to Jimmy and many other 'pioneers’ in the modern era of the game (1970-present). Youth (boys and girls), high school, college, and amateur (adult) soccer have all greatly benefitted from Jimmy’s passion, commitment to, and knowledge of the game. He delivered his message with a fiery passion and an infectious smile. He enjoyed a joke with his players, pupils, friends, teammates and associates. He demanded the most out of everyone because he only knew one way of participating, and that was with every sinew of his being.
Over the past 8 years, our "Friends of Jimmy Conway" team has raised more than $80,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association to help with their research and support programs. We want to help bring about a "World without Alzheimer’s".
We hope, therefore, that you will support us by joining our "Friends of Jimmy Conway" walk team at Portland International Raceway on Sunday, September 10th to participate in the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual "Walk to End Alzheimer’s", and/or making a donation to our team.
You can sign up to walk at the event (free of charge) and/or make a donation at the following address:
You can donate in my name, or fundraise by encouraging family/friends/associates to donate in your name. Or, you can make donations directly to our team "Friends of Jimmy Conway" (button on page - under "My team - Friends of Jimmy Conway"). Whichever way you choose to donate, your donation will be included as part of our team’s efforts.
Thank you so much for your consideration of this request. We appreciate your support over the years and hope that, like us, you feel it is appropriate to show our respect and gratitude for the incredible body of work that Jimmy invested in the Pacific Northwest, in England, and in his native Ireland.
Friends of Jimmy Conway
As many of you may have heard, the staff of the multicultural festival in Northeast Portland, Good in the Hood (GITH), were recently the recipient of a very serious threat. Through our relationship with Portland United Against Hate (PUAH) — a coalition of local community organizations — the 107IST has been playing an active role in the response and have been working with the staffs of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN) and GITH to help assess their needs.
First and foremost, we are all invited to this three-day party to help make our presence known and show support for what we stand for. Even if you are unable to volunteer, help us get the word out about this really fun festival that celebrates so many great things about our community. We’re also donating Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters baskets to their silent auction, which benefits local youth pursuing secondary education. More info can be found on their website.
How can you help? The outpouring of support has resulted in many volunteers coming out to help, but they are still in need of road-closure monitors along the parade route on Saturday. Volunteers would need to check in around 9:30 at King School and go through the early afternoon. Volunteers will receive food vouchers — and it sounds like the eats will be really good. If you are able to volunteer, contact Stephan Lewis so we have a head count and can make sure you get the right size shirt.
With the recent growth of incidents involving hate in our community, one thing is growingly evident: This city will not stand for it, and we are coming together to Spread the Love in response. Come on out and join the fun! Let’s do this, Portland.
DONUT miss this! TAFC is proud to present Donut Derby Day on Saturday, August 12. This tournament is an all-day (8am-6pm) outdoor party with a beer garden and food cart and—yes, of course, DONUTS!—and you’re all invited to join us as we take over Buckman Field Park for the day! It’s a 7v7 half-field tourney with a three-game guarantee. We’ll have Men’s, Women’s, and Coed divisions. Only $250 per team registration, or $30 individual player fee.
Men’s – For men players only. If enough interest, we’ll split into Advanced and Recreational.
Coed – Each team MUST have a minimum of 4 men and 4 women on the roster and minimum of 3 men and 3 women on the field at all times.
Women’s – For women players only.
The winners of each division will have their team’s name placed on the epic DONUT DERBY DAY TROPHY.
Come on out and enjoy a day in the sun. Play some fast-paced, no-slide-tackle, no-offside-rule footy or just relax in the beer garden.
—by Ben Stern
I know why I stand here.
It was just last week, whilst watching highlights from Mexico and Germany, that I thought my biggest concern going into this Friday night’s game was whether or not I would listen to those behind me yelling “FLAG DOWN!!!” Don’t we all show up hours upon hours early so that we have the right to jump and clap and sing for the entire match? Isn’t that the point of being a supporter? I found myself feeling quite angsty and entitled that I should be able to support my soccer team as boisterously as possible.
...and then the tragic MAX incident occurred.
And I remembered all the times, whether on SCUSA or on Twitter or in the terraces, when people demanded that the 107IST and Timbers Army stand for soccer support, and NOTHING more. I think of the arguments over who is offended by which chants and who stood where first and why we don’t sing for players.
None of these things matter right now. The soccer doesn’t matter right now. I’m not even sure that it ever really did?
I stand with the Timbers Army because I know there are thousands of people who would do the exact same thing as Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, Rick Best, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher. I stand with the TA because we agree on love and the quality of human life. I stand with the TA because I know that this Friday night is not simply a chance for the Timbers to get revenge on San Jose… or gain 3 points in the table… or solve our depth issues or discipline or defense… all I can think about is getting into that stadium Friday night and telling complete strangers and vaguely familiar faces that I love them. All I can think about is being with those thousands of Portlanders who will also want to weep and break down and build each other back up. All I can think of is how WE need this experience of rooting on a soccer club so that we can somehow express our cries for compassion and equality and humanity and the loss of our local heroes.
Friday night’s game should be the loudest of the season. Regardless of how the Timbers play, we all need this healing experience with the thousands of friends who are also standing for the same things. From the capo stands through the 100s and into the upper 2’s, don’t settle by holding anything in. Use this amazing outlet that we’ve been given and let it all out.
What act of love will you bring to Friday night? Respect the refs a little more by NOT screaming “F-U-REF?” Buy someone a beer? Make a donation? Speak to and treat strangers with dignity and respect?
What if we all committed to one act of love for the man who loves us back? Diego Valeri envelops all the ideals of love and respect and equality that our club and supporters stand for. What if we ALL sang for the man who wishes he could sing for us? I’m not suggesting any one Valeri chant… but I am demanding that when you hear one, you pick it up and scream it at the top of your lungs. Remember why you stand in the Timbers Army. Valeri stands here too.
I’d encourage you to also consider signing up for and attending Saturday’s “Booked! Club” discussion on Nick Davidson’s FC St. Pauli book “Pirates, Punks & Politics: Falling in Love with a Radical Football Club,” as it will be relevant to what you’ve just read.
Nie Wieder Faschismus!
I really do love you all.
—by Travis Hefner, East Coast Platoon
Without question the best thing I get from liking soccer is the sense of community. In Montreal on Saturday, that sense was both reinforced and undermined in ways I have never seen before. I have never gone from such a high of enjoying what it means to be a supporter to such a low in the amount of time that I did last night.
This, of course, has nothing to do with the actual game played between eleven (well, for a little while, anyway) Portland Timbers and eleven Montreal Impact players. This has to do with what came after. Anyone who has ever been on an away trip knows that we are penned in at the end of the match by security. This presumably allows for the vast majority of the home team's fans to leave and for us to then leave without issue. Montreal was no different. What was different was the number of Impact fans who kept walking up to our section, shaking our hands, and giving us degrees of respect for our strong support. You know, things that a genial winner does after their team just blew your team's doors off. It went further, however. From a section over and down, the remaining members of the 1642 Montreal supporters group waved and called for us to come join them. We tried, but at first security would not allow it. A few more Montreal supporters came up to us and we begged and pleaded together with security to let us go join the other section. Security eventually allowed it and we flooded down to the supporters' section.
I've never experienced anything like what happened next. This small band of Timbers Army chanting back and forth with 1642 Montreal, laughing and joking in between songs, before finally culminating in telling our respective rivals to fuck off (because of course), with our new friends joining in.
Security let us have our fun, but it was time to get a move on. We mumbled some "Merci" to Montreal as they wished us safe travels home, and for a moment, the game was forgotten. It was, as an Impact fan said, "Le foot sans frontières," soccer without borders. The game, at that point, didn't matter. What did matter was two passionate fan bases sharing the joy and love they get from this sport.
Unfortunately, Charles Dickens wrote the goddamn script of this away day. Security, while superb in their handling of things inside the stadium, couldn't have been worse outside of it. Impact fans once again approached us as we walked toward the Metro to leave the stadium region. Ignoring attempts at de-escalation with handshakes and unresponsive to "Hey man, good game" (might have been a good tip-off, eh?) these Impact fans were allowed by security to get close enough to sucker-punch a Timbers supporter and steal a flag before running away shouting "Welcome to Montreal," like a 20-year-old Will Smith movie.
Montreal security's response? Big ol' shrug emoji. Our response? Mostly confusion.
Split lips heal, stolen flags get replaced, but that doesn't change the fact that this type of behavior undermines the vast majority of good support in MLS.
Over the past year or two there have been incidents with New York teams, Orlando, San Jose, and Montreal. It is a trend that must be snuffed out by supporters groups and front offices alike.
However, I choose to focus on the good. One of the most famous words in the French language is "fraternité," and that is what I will take from Montreal with me. The actions of a handful do not outweigh the many Montreal fans that sang and danced with us in the post game. That's what should be remembered every time, not the Montreal fans sucker-punching and stealing, but the camaraderie we all have supporting this stupid sport that we all take too seriously. We outnumber those who think violence is a way to support a team, and we will continue to do so.
—by Aaron Flynn; photos courtesy of East Coast Platoon
In the second part of my series on RSG histories, I reached out to Scott Brown of the East Coast Platoon to tell us about their group's origin.
In 2011, the ECP was first started by Brian Fiore-Silfvast on Facebook as a means to help supporters come together in a single place to build community around shared love of the Timbers and to help with coordination for trips to away stadiums.
The group now heads up all of the Eastern Conference away days, with the exception of Chicago and Columbus. When there’s a game in DC and NY, they have heavy involvement from the local groups, DC Federal Reserves and Gotham Company, but those groups still consider themselves to be under the umbrella of ECP.
ECP has produced some fantastic tifo over the years, from the “Always Sunshine in Chester” display in Philadelphia to the Fallout-themed tifo that New England didn’t allow them to take into the stadium. All of the tifo work is ad-hoc. Asked about away day capos, Scott said they are “really volunteer basis, but generally it falls on the shoulders of a few people” who love the team.
Scott reviews chant lyrics with another away day capo.
On the East Coast, the group tries to get together for watch parties, but it’s been tough. “People outside of Portland have no idea how uncommon it is for bars to have any sort of vibrant MLS viewing culture of a hometown team, not to mention that of a team from outside the area,” Scott lamented.
One of Scott’s favorite memories is of the rain delay chant-off with the Sons of Ben in Chester (Philadelphia) in 2013. At halftime, they announced a rain delay and the group was forced into the concourse that was shared with the Philly supporters. As the ECP was marched down, they began to sing “Let it rain, let it pour, let the Portland Timbers score,” and the Philly fans responded with “PHILADELPHIA!” Thus, the chant-off began. For about 20 minutes, the groups shouted chants back and forth. The result was a 0-0 draw, but the chant-off was a memory that no one in attendance would forget.
I asked Scott about the ECP’s traditions and what makes them special. He told me: “In addition to being the best-looking regional group (which isn’t really that unknown), we’re also the smartest.” He mentioned that the group likes to make swag that incorporates salty sayings from ex-members, such as “Some of you are alright.”
If you’re visiting an East Coast away day, Scott just encourages you to show up early, bring beer, and sing loud.
—by Aaron Flynn
As more regional supporters groups (RSGs) pop up, I’ve created a map to try and keep track of every group. The task is an ever-evolving one, and it’s something that can be time-consuming. As I created this map and talked to different people from across the country, I realized that each group has a different personality. I came up with this idea to record different histories of all of the RSGs possible and give everyone a chance to get to know them from afar.
Seeing as FC Dallas is our next away day, I decided to reach out to a group that’s close to my heart. I spoke with Jeremy Ballew about the Lone Star Brigade, based in Texas.
Jeremy told me that the Lone star Brigade (LSB) was founded in 2012 when a couple of guys in San Antonio, one of whom went to college with Jeremy, had a mutual interest in the Timbers. He had a friend living in Oklahoma at that time who also was following the Timbers. The group came to this realization through seeing Facebook posts boasting about the Timbers in MLS. So, the 4 of them began chatting about starting up something small where any random Timbers fans in Texas could have a place to discuss games. The group originally started with the name Texas Timbers. “We had no idea that it would turn into what it is today. Today, we now have 633 members on our Facebook page, and 2 of the 4 that helped get this started now live in Portland,” he said.
The LSB mainly focuses on away days in Houston and Dallas. I asked Jeremy about his favorite memories of a Texas away day. He managed to narrow it down to three:
Since you don’t ever forget your first, Jeremy recollects that his very first live Timbers match was down in Houston back in May of 2012, a 0-0 draw. There were about 15 people who met at Lucky’s Pub before the game, and that was his first chance to meet several folks from Portland. Not only that, it was also his first Timbers Army experience.
His second favorite was the US Open Cup in Dallas. It was June of 2013 and we managed to beat Dallas 3-2. “To this day," Jeremy points out, that Open Cup match is "the only Timbers match I have been to which we actually won.” For any Texan, beating Dallas in Dallas is just too sweet.
Lastly, I think for the majority of Lone Star Brigade, their favorite game was the MLS Western Conference Final. Without question this was the most memorable away day in Texas. It was rainy and cold, just as it would have been had the game been in Portland. There was a very strong contingent of PTFC faithful. Merritt Paulson even joined us at the tailgate. We had an FC Dallas scarf that someone had been gifted after a Dallas fan drunkenly stole one of our banners and managed to mail it back the next week after profusely apologizing. We threw the scarf on the wet concrete and would casually spill beer on it and walk on it throughout the day. MP joined in on the fun and stomped on it and did a little dance. Jeremy reminisces about victory beers in the parking lot afterwards. That moment would not be paralleled or beaten in Texas. The only better feeling was actually winning the MLS Cup.
Jeremy told me about the game day ops and how the group organizes watch parties. He mentioned that most venues won’t let you bring in large tifo for games, and some are strict about throwing streamers. In Dallas, you have to tear up your streamers and make confetti, because they fear it would hit a Dallas fan's head. In Houston, they’re more lax and allow you to throw streamers. Dallas lets you hang banners from the front of the section, while Houston will only let you hang them behind your section. The LSB has some great artists who create banners on their own time, and they use the LSB Facebook page for recommendations. On that page, we also verbalize the need for capos and ask for help in that area. Jeremy and several others have headed that up over the past few years.
As far as watch parties are concerned, supporters in the major cities in Texas (DFW, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, etc.) are quite vocal on the page, sharing where watch parties are happening in each city.
The Lone Star Brigade is pretty special. To them, it's not just 3-4 admins making every decision for the group. The LSB are a family. They like to incorporate as many active members as possible to make decisions, and they value everyone’s opinion. Jeremy’s favorite tradition is the signing of “the Family Tree,” which is a large rising sun banner with the state of Texas rising from the bottom of the banner. Any Timbers supporter who joins the Lone Star Brigade for an away day is encouraged to sign it. Jeremy says: “To this day, I still think that the way we came about, came together, by 4 dudes simply reading a couple of Facebook posts and saying, 'We should start a little support group here in Texas', still blows my mind.”
LSB loves to tailgate for matches when possible. You can find them always tailgating for the match in Dallas. You can find the Family Tree to sign it there. In Dallas, once the match has concluded, the group navigates to the team bus and waits for the players to exit so they can show their appreciation, win, lose, or draw. Jeremy encourages anyone who has an extra 30 minutes after the match to join them in thanking the players and coaches for all that they do.
I asked Jeremy for his best advice for a Timbers fan who is traveling to be at a game with the LSB. He wants to encourage everyone to buy streamers or confetti. If you don’t have a flag, don’t worry. We have one member who is basically the caretaker of all the flags, and they’re brought to every Texas match. There’s always one available for you to wave! Just as in Portland, the LSB chants the entire match. Jeremy wants everyone to be standing until halftime. Lastly, he encourages everyone to be respectful to the stadium officials and front office folks. Timbers Army carries a title of respect, so there are certain areas in which we are granted a bit more freedom since we usually carry a large number of supporters and we are respectful to the venue’s rules. Don’t violate this. It’s a liberty that not many SGs can enjoy, so try not to abuse it.