Photo by Darren Lloyd
Thanks to the members who came out to the Mission Theater for the 2018 107IST Annual General Meeting! Special thanks to board members Gabby Rosas and Drew Picard for organizing our Q&A and breakout discussion sessions this time, having learned how from our hired consultants last year.
As we do every year at this event, each committee shared their accomplishments from the previous season, plans for the current season, and current volunteer needs.
Here you can view some of last year's accomplishments in infographic form. As you can see, it was another great year. Click the image to view a larger version. You can also download the 107IST 2017 infographic as a PDF.
Infographic by Lindsey Moore
Once again we had the Cascadia Cup in the house for photo ops (shout out to Darren and Ray for the photo station), and thanks to the Thorns Front Office, the 2017 NWSL Championship trophy also made an appearance. :)
For those who weren't able to attend or who would like to look through the slides again, you can view or download the AGM presentation slides and notes as a PDF. Note that some sensitive financial data has been removed from this download, but the info is freely available to members by arrangement with the Treasurer.
This year, at our February board meeting, we also ran our first one-hour Virtual AGM for members outside of the Portland area. We recorded it so that those of you who were unable to attend either event can still watch:
Volunteer Signup Forms
Across the organization, we need all types of volunteers at all skill levels. Please read both the presentation slides and the following signup forms for details about the types of new members each committee is looking for. Committee chairs will be getting back to applicants within the next few weeks.
If you're looking to be notified of one-off volunteer opportunities rather than applying to join a standing committee, visit our Volunteer Opt-In Page.
We're looking forward to another great year!
Ever since that first magical Saturday at Rose City Futsal where 107ist paid for kids from the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) to play, we have dreamed of something greater: of seeing them play not on a court, not just amongst themselves, but in the green and gold at Providence Park.
This past Saturday, that dream came just a little bit closer to fruition. Using a small portion of the funds raised from Diego Valeri’s Lanus jersey raffle, the Timbers Army/107ist rented the beautiful new turf field at Lents Park for the kids on an unseasonably sunny afternoon. Timbers fan and Washington Timbers coach Reece Scragg lent his time to run the show, putting the kids through training drills before setting them loose on a full-field scrimmage. Most significantly, in attendance were Larry Sunderland, Timbers youth director, and Matt Dacey, US Soccer scout.
While it might be ambitious to expect a kid to get plucked straight from the city park into the Timbers system, we made some important connections and laid the groundwork for a longer-term vision of channeling our immigrant and refugee neighbors into youth soccer and, hopefully, to the Timbers academy. These kids arrive here with so much talent but face so many barriers, from being able to speak the language to navigating the complex club networks, filling out applications, and paying fees. We aim to establish a relationship with IRCO and some of the Timbers-affiliated club teams like Eastside and Washington Timbers. We will get them into official academy tryouts. We will help pay their expenses with the Gisele Currier Scholarship Fund. We’re even looking to build them their own futsal court on IRCO property, but that’s a blog post for another time.
Do you remember Handwalla Bwana, the 18-year-old phenom who scored the winning goal for S****le against us this preseason? His cousin works for IRCO and has told me all about him. Bwana was a refugee from Kenya. Spending six years in a refugee camp, he could do little else but kick a ball made from wadded-up socks or whatever else he could find. After his family was resettled in the fishing village up north, he was playing by himself in a park one day when a parent spotted him. Immediately seeing his talent, he asked him if he played for a youth team, which he did not. After speaking to his parents, this person paid for him to play on his kid’s team, then later for a competitive traveling team. He was recruited by the University of Washington, then signed as a homegrown player. All it took was one person seeing him play and giving him an opportunity. To be honest, I couldn’t be mad when Handwalla scored. That was a great moment for him and a realization for me of just how attainable this is.
For these immigrant youth who arrive in a new country with unfamiliar customs and a language most of them don't fully understand, it can be hard to find your way, to feel a part of a larger community. If there's one thing that can connect them to this city, it's our shared love of soccer. And I remain fully convinced that one day, a Timber will take the field who played as a child on a field that 107ist built or rented, wearing equipment that 107ist donated, having played for a youth team 107ist paid for. The Timbers Army coming together to help newcomers to our city play soccer with the ultimate goal of playing for the Timbers. I can think of no better example of "Team, Town, TA" than this. And we're just getting started.
I *LOVE* serving the 107IST. We do so much good, important work that I value. And so much of that work is only possible thanks to the generous support of members, who pay $25 each calendar year to support our vision and mission.
What are some of the reasons to join or renew? On Monday, I issued myself a challenge on social media to list these reasons:
Reminder: three weeks left to renew or sign up for @107ist membership! I never do this but for every ❤️ or ♻️this gets by the end of the work day I'll try to list a reason to join/benefit of membership/cool thing 107IST does. #RCTID #BAONPDX https://t.co/TyMF8rjiK0— sheba ⭐ (@shebainpdx) December 11, 2017
Reminder: three weeks left to renew or sign up for @107ist membership! I never do this but for every ❤️ or ♻️this gets by the end of the work day I'll try to list a reason to join/benefit of membership/cool thing 107IST does. #RCTID #BAONPDX https://t.co/TyMF8rjiK0
Well, I got a pretty hefty response. By the time I was able to catch up, I was on the hook for at least 67 reasons to join or renew! The first fifty or so were off the top of my head, the rest I remembered when I looked through weekly newsletters and monthly committee reports:
(1) World class tifo. @107IST member dollars pay for 100% of the costs of those amazing displays you see by both @timbersarmy and @PDXRivetersSG #RCTID #BAONPDX
(2) The fanladen, which serves as a physical meeting space for so much of the planning we do as an organization. in 2011 we were still meeting in the side rooms of bars on Sunday afternoons. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(3) Game day ticket exchange for @timbersarmy, in an attempt to keep the beautiful game affordable. @107IST provides the space, personnel, & infrastructure to make it happen every game day. #RCTID
(5) Coordination and necessary up front money for planning and carrying out travel for both @timbersarmy and @PDXRivetersSG, from the security calls to the ticket management to coordinating with local supporters in away venues #RCTID #BAONPDX
(6) Coordination with and support for our amazing regional supporter groups, whether it is to provide support for locally produced tifo for away games or a megaphone for local events for away supporters #RCTID #BAONPDX
(7) Support for @OPIPdx, a nonprofit that sprung directly from the roots of @107IST. Proceeds from TA ticket exchange go to support their work. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(8) Coordination of volunteering and donation drives for @oregonfoodbank at both the Portland and Beaverton locations #RCTID #BAONPDX
(9) Ongoing support for Oregon's foster children, both through renovating visitation rooms and through the "You Are Loved" scarf Buy One/Give One campaigns #RCTID #BAONPDX
(10) Support for immigrant and refugee youth & families through @IRCOnews donation drives and by paying for field space for soccer #RCTID #BAONPDX
(11) Support for the Gisele Currier Scholarship Fund, which this year distributed almost $20,000 in soccer scholarships of various kinds to youth soccer players in and around the Portland area #RCTID #BAONPDX
(12) Purchase of high school uniforms for high schools both in the Portland area and further away, including a high school in southern Oregon and another in southern Washington #RCTID #BAONPDX
(13) Advocacy with the front office on behalf of both @timbersarmy and @PDXRivetersSG. Some years don't have big issues on the table, others do. Either way, @107IST is at the table on behalf of supporter interests. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(14) Representation at the Independent Supporters Council, an organization that advocates for footy fans at all levels in North America and shares best practices across supporters from a variety of teams and leagues #RCTID #BAONPDX
(15) A strong stance in favor of human rights, whether it is a voice online or statements in the stands, advocating for basic human dignity for immigrants, refugees, people of color, LGBTQ, and other marginalized people #RCTID #BAONPDX
(16) Purchase, storage, care, and maintenance of game day flags and other small displays hung over rail banners. Say thank you to your local @107IST game day crew for the hard work they do on this one all year long #RCTID #BAONPDX
(17) Negotiating for the right to have smoke in the first place, as well as actually using @107IST funds to pay for and to manage smoke for goal celebrations #RCTID #BAONPDX
(18) A permanent warehouse space that allows us to have a base for merch operations, which also fund some of the aforementioned activities #RCTID #BAONPDX
(19) A permanent tifo preparation space close to the stadium, which supports the creation of world class stadium displays for both MLS and NWSL matches #BAONPDX #RCTID
(20) @107IST organizes blood drives every year. In the last five years alone these blood drives have resulted in 327 successful donations. #BAONPDX #RCTID
(21) Support for @PDXbookbank, both in the form of regular book drives and in book cleaning and repairing sessions, to get books into the hands of as many children as possible #RCTID #BAONPDX
(22) Support for @StreetSoccerUSA, which included sponsoring a team to go to Philadelphia to participate in the Philadelphia Cup #RCTID #BAONPDX
(23) @107IST organizes Buy Your Capo A Pint for @timbersarmy capos, which raises money each year for @CampMeadowood #RCTID
(24) Buy Your Capo A Pint for @PDXRivetersSG, which raises money for Rock and Roll Camp for Girls #BAONPDX
(25) Support for Oregon Volunteer Firefighters who fought the fires in the Columbia River Gorge; support came through a unique QR code tifo campaign #RCTID
(26) @107IST supports @TimbersArmyCPR, a volunteer initiative that has trained over 700 people in CPR/AED/basic life support for free #RCTID #BAONPDX
(27) @107IST supports @Booked107, both with physical space for a library and with the organizational space for amazing book talks with the likes of authors Gwen Oxenham and Nick Davidson #RCTID #BAONPDX
(28) @107IST supports @SOORstate, both financially and by participating in the Unified Soccer Match and the Polar Plunge #BAONPDX #RCTID
(29) This year, @107IST has stepped up its coordination with Portland United Against Hate and participated with Good in the Hood #RCTID #BAONPDX
(30) @107IST supplies MANY volunteers to work the Oregon Brewers Fest, which in turn donates money back to the organization to support the activities listed above #BAONPDX #RCTID
(31) @107IST participates in the Walk to End Alzheimers, supporting Friends of Jimmy Conway #RCTID
(32) The NoPo neighborhood scarves raised funds for the Paint Paul project, which allowed for restoration of the Paul Bunyan statue #RCTID
(33) One of this year's match day drives collected art supplies for Dreaming Zebra, a local nonprofit supplies art and music materials free of charge to schools and community centers both in and around Portland and beyond #RCTID #BAONPDX
(34) Another match day drive collected donations for Rafael House, a local shelter and service organization that supports victims of domestic violence #BAONPDX #RCTID
(35) Still another match day drive collected goods for the Good Neighbor Center in Tigard, a shelter and service center for homeless families #RCTID #BAONPDX
(36) ANOTHER match day drive collected coats, hats, gloves and blankets for SnowCap, a service organization that provides food, clothing, and advocacy for low income people on the east side of town #BAONPDX #RCTID
(37) @107IST purchases TA and RCR match day tickets and donates them as raffle prizes for schools and other nonprofits as fundraisers #RCTID #BAONPDX
(38) @107IST members actively participate in the Portland Pride Parade each year, in concert with our strong human rights stance #RCTID #BAONPDX
(39) @107IST donated money to support Off The Sideline, an Oregon nonprofit dedicated to promoting access for youth to team sports of all kinds #RCTID #BAONPDX
(40) @107IST donated money to support Alder Creek Middle School boys and girls, allowing for both teams to participate in indoor soccer this year #BAONPDX #RCTID
(41) In addition to adult community league play, @107IST organizes adult soccer tournaments, including the Donut Derby and the upcoming Winter Classic. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(42) Looking for other soccer to support? @107IST members have had prefunks at UP soccer games, along with designated GA sections at a discounted rate. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(43) You like other sports? @107IST peeps coordinate @timbersarmy Night at the Blazers, complete with scarf for those who are so inclined (Members, check the forums, this one is coming up again shortly!). #RCTID
(44) How about hockey? @107IST coordinates with @pdxwinterhawks for our Night at the Winterhawks. This year the Winterhawks are donating back $5 of every ticket to @107IST to support the things I've already listed above. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(45) Enlightened self interest is more your thing? Okay, let's talk partner discounts. @HOTLIPSpizza gives discounts on slices to @107IST members. On match days alone, my kids can make back the cost of their membership. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(46) How about those adidas passes? @107IST members regularly receive passes to the adidas employee store throughout the year. One pair of shoes will more than pay for your membership. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(47) Speaking of passes, you all know that if you sign up or renew before 1/1/18 you get a pass to the Nike employee store in January, right? Again, one visit will pay for the cost of your membership. #BAONPDX #RCTID
(48) But it isn't only about the partners, although they are awesome. It is also about the work we do together in the community. @107IST organizes work with @FriendsofTrees both preseason and post, planting trees in urban areas. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(49) This year @107IST also supported Street Roots through the Spread The Love scarf, sales of which raised money for the organization that provides both a voice and a means of support for Portland's homeless community. #BAONPDX #RCTID
(50) We also had a match day drive to support Janus, an organization who helps homeless youth. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(51) Working with Forest Grove senior Mya Kimberly, @107IST also ran match day drives to collect feminine hygiene products, both for Janus and for Portland Homeless Family Solutions. #BAONPDX #RCTID
(52) Nico Boskovic won a nat'l Odd Fellows essay contest to speak at the UN pilgrimage but was disinvited when they learned of his autism & communication disorder. @107ist hosted Nico & his family at a Timbers game. (Happy update, the nat'l org recanted & reinvited him) #RCTID
(53) @107ist provided both financial support and organizational guidance to Netrippers, a local LGBTQ friendly adult soccer org, as they made the leap into nonprofit status #RCTID #BAONPDX
(54) this year @107ist gave financial support to provide gear bags and coats for an elementary-school-aged soccer squad in Vancouver, WA #RCTID #BAONPDX
(55) @107ist supported @TimbersArmyCPR in participating in the American Heart Associations's Heart Walk, headed up by @107ist member @soccadad #RCTID #BAONPDX
(56) @107ist took donations of eclipse glasses to that Astronomers without Borders could redistribute them for use in viewing future eclipses in other countries. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(57) In addition to community soccer league play and tournaments, @107ist also supported open play nights for adults of all ability levels under the lights at Jefferson. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(58) @107ist volunteers in the photo pool volunteered their time, equipment, and expertise to provide for free, quality photo ops with some very special hardware for both @timbersarmy and @PDXRivetersSG. #RCTID #BAONPDX
(59) @107ist sponsored one of the coolest confluences of team/town/TA; we purchased futsal space for a friendly w/Minnesota supporters the weekend of the opening match, as well as for IRCO kids. The last 1/2 hour was a unified match w/TA, Loons, & refugee youth together #RCTID
(60) a Portland flag with messages of love and support traveled to Orlando this past preseason with a @107ist member who went east for a story about positive community action surrounding the Pulse nightclub tragedy #RCTID #BAONPDX
(61) we didn't just lend financial support to @OPIPdx. We also lent muscle at Westmoreland Park
(62) oh, did I mention that @107ist member @kpduck was the @MLS Community MVP of the year? This Community Outreach committee member & all around good human secured an additional $25k in support for Embrace Oregon & foster children. #BAONPDX #RCTID
(63) @107ist supported Outside In as well this year, an organization that provides services for homeless youth and other marginalized people in Portland #BAONPDX #RCTID
(64) @107ist match day drives for both Timbers and Thorns matches supported backpacks filled w/school supplies for homeless and transitional LGBTQXI teens served by The Living Room #RCTID #BAONPDX
(65) this one was under the radar: after a middle school student had racial slurs shouted at him while waiting for the bus, @107ist organized volunteer shifts to escort students at the school to and from city buses. No publicity, just the right thing to do #RCTID #BAONPDX
(66) @107ist fielded a team for the Oregon Humane Society's Doggie Dash; and @107ist partner @PortlandCider had a viewing party that collected pet supplies for the OHS as well.
(67) oh and of COURSE if you want to stand with the @timbersarmy at a Seattle or Vancouver away game, you really should buy a membership. First tickets to Cascadia Cup matches go to @107ist members, and when they're gone, they're gone. #RCTID
Those are a LOT of good things done with your $25 membership! If you haven't joined or renewed yet, you can do it right now! And if you have more reasons to join/renew that I haven't listed, please feel free to add them below.
Thank you, members, for all that you do for team, town, and Timbers Army/Rose City Riveters. As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve you.
He’s the Maestro. The greatest player we’ve ever had. And now, the MVP. But before he donned the green and gold, Diego Valeri wore the granate y blanco of Lanús.
Diego is beloved for his work on the field but perhaps even more so for his work off of it. Whether he’s donating and cleaning books, painting foster care rooms, or the countless other ways he gives back without even wanting recognition, his devotion to Portland extends far beyond the pitch. That’s why, when he heard the Timbers Army and 107ist was helping local immigrant and refugee children to play futsal during the rainy season, he wanted to get involved with that as well.
Diego has graciously donated an autographed, playoff game-worn Lanús jersey to be raffled off to help fund the kids’ playing time. For just $10 per ticket, or $25 for three, you can purchase an unlimited number of tickets. A winner will be chosen at this Friday’s TA holiday party.
You do not need to be at the party or even in Portland to win. If you can’t make the party, if you don’t live in Portland, even if you don’t live in the United States (we’re looking at you, Lanús fans), you are eligible to win. You can buy your tickets online and the jersey will be shipped to you if you win. You will also have the opportunity to buy tickets in person at the holiday party.
Don’t miss your chance to own this rare piece of history and help bring some sunshine to these kids’ winter months.
Purchase your raffle tickets here
Congratulations to our four newest 107IST Board members: Dawn Bauman, Zachary Freeman, Sara Nelson, and Gabby Rosas. Their term starts January 1, 2018 and ends December 31, 2020.
Here's the breakdown of votes:
Here's the breakdown of how many eligible members voted this year compared with years past:
Sincere thanks to all who ran. Also, thanks once again to the entire election committee for organizing.
Last night, I made a little Twitter thread with some thoughts about the upcoming election. I've Storify'd them here.
—by Travis Hefner
Author's note: A version of this piece was originally written for East Coast Platoon, but it applies equally to all TA.
Hello my road warriors, my champion hotel finders, my masters of brunch in cities up and down the coast. Hello my darlings, hello my East Coast Platoon.
What a year, wasn't it? I giggled in Columbus as we counted to twenty-seven as a group when the ball was kicked off. I was overjoyed to finally win in Chester and to sing the Union fans out of their stadium. I threw my hands up, laughing only because I'd cry otherwise, as Canada blew our doors off twice in Montreal and Toronto by a combined score of 8-2. I spent 10 wonderful days in my adopted Rose City. I finally took my first trip to the Fishing Village on an away day I won't soon forget (Hashtag GusBus). I ruined my voice in New York City trying to chant with no drum to guide us. None of these things I did alone. None of these things I ever want to do alone. All of them, I was with you. Always, I found joy.
So, I ask you, personally, where did you find joy in this season? Was it an incredible goal you saw? Was it a friend you weren't expecting to see? Was it new friends you made? Was it an effort the team put in that didn't end in three points, but still won you over?
I found joy in all of these places. Long live the 2017 Portland Timbers, the battered bastards of soccer, a patchwork team held together by the indomitable will of El Rey, Troesma, Diego Valeri.
First, the obvious. The soccer. I saw Darlington Nagbe embarrass Tim Howard on a beautiful summer night in Portland, Oregon. Top of the box, turn, chip, in. He celebrated like he'd done it a thousand times, cool as you like. The crowd was wild, myself included, hugging strangers, picking people up, almost falling over. Nothing can steal that beautiful moment of the beautiful game from me. Nothing can steal that joy.
We have such a unique situation here in our little group. We come from everywhere when we go to an away day. I'm privileged to have met so many of you (and as always, those I haven't met, please say hi some time if you're so inclined), so if you'll excuse a hackneyed Forrest Gump reference: you never know what you're going to get when you show up. It is a joy to see someone you haven't seen for a year or more. It is a joy to see someone you've only known through the mutual interest of the Portland Timbers on Facebook and Twitter. You are a joy.
Despite you friends, I'm of the mind that you can never have enough, and this season delivered once again. In Columbus, Ohio, a group of friends crammed themselves into a fraternity house turned AirBnB. In the process of drinking more and longer than the frat houses around us (Ohio State, ya soft!), I found myself in the company of two people who I had never met before. Three away days later, numerous conversations later, I consider them great friends. Friends who gave me confidence and put me at ease as my start in nursing school grew closer and closer. All because they wore green and gold clothing accented with axes. All because of PTFC. All because of shared joy.
It's not often I get be around fellow Timbers fans for extending periods of time, but I do highly recommend it. My privileged days in Portland, Oregon this year included meeting friends for drinks, for meals, strolls in the park, food bank volunteering, painting tifo, and pickup futsal. This, of course, goes beyond the pitch and eleven men. But, at the same time, it only exists because of them. Good thing about this, though? We're ECP, we're everywhere.
Even in my own backyard of Pittsburgh, I'm no longer the only one regularly watching the mighty PTFC in my village. And while the overall population of MLS supporters at my local has unfortunately blossomed (including a few too many Sounders fans calling my pub home), I love that I have a partner in crime for the Portland Timbers. No longer am I the incredibly loud person shouting in an otherwise quiet pub. Well... I mean, I'm still that, but it seems less weird now that I'm not the only one. You get the idea.
Finally, though, it is still the soccer. It is still the Portland Timbers. It is Roy Miller somehow being the hero of our backline, filling in admirably at center back while Liam Ridgewell fought through injury after injury. All of this when nobody wanted him on our side when he was signed. His injured Achilles, denying him another chance to rise to our aid, is a tragedy Shakespeare would nod approvingly at. It is Jeremy Ebobisse thrust into the spotlight in Vancouver at... what, 12 years old or something... and scoring a goal and adding an assist. One of many gutsy performances with lesser elevens on the road against our two bitter rivals. Gutsy performances that helped us win silverware. It is this whole ragtag group of players coming in and out of the lineup, too dumb or proud or something to know they shouldn't be doing this, and winning the goddamn Western Conference when they absolutely should not have. It was last night, too. It was a team trying to do whatever they could with their fourth center back, third striker, third defensive midfielder, first-choice wing playing on one foot and third-choice wing playing with a busted-up nose. I will always have respect for Sebastian Blanco after last night because of what he did for us. "Care like we do"? I have no problem saying that a man numbing his own foot for the chance to maybe play some minutes does.
The 2017 Portland Timbers had a great season and I will hear nothing to the contrary. We can ask, "What could have been?" all we want, but I choose to ask: "What has been?" Because what has been is a season of joy, perhaps not culminating in that ultimate joy, but one nonetheless.
So, I ask you, my darling East Coast Platoon: Where was your joy this season? Because it exists. And, don't fret too much my lovelies, it'll be preseason again before you know it. Before you know it, it'll be time to create new joys. I can't wait.
By a resounding percentage, "The Maestro" Diego Valeri is the 2017 Supporters' Player of the Year. His play this season has been nothing short of amazing.
Diego was presented with the SPOTY belt at the end of the match vs. Whitecaps FC on 10/22/17.
Close-up of the SPOTY belt:
Full poll results:
More images from the 10/22/17 match on the Timbers Army Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/timbersarmy/albums/72157687418461371/with/37613524260/
A statement on behalf of the 107IST Board of Directors
The 107IST Board of Directors is in solidarity with Crew supporters in opposing a proposed move of the Columbus Crew to Austin.
Columbus Crew SC was one of the ten original members of Major League Soccer. Lamar Hunt was the primary investor in the club and was a pioneer in founding Major League Soccer. Hunt was also behind the construction of Mapfre Stadium, one of the first soccer-specific stadiums in the United States and home to some of the USMNT's most memorable international matches. Rich in history, Columbus Crew's story is in many ways the story of the growth and development of Major League Soccer in the United States.
On Tuesday, current Crew owner Anthony Precourt announced that he is prepared to move the club to Austin, Texas in 2019 if he can't get a downtown stadium, in spite of the fact that there is local business and community interest in buying the club and keeping it as a civic asset. And now it appears that, while he was having conversations this year with the Columbus Partnership about plans and ideas for a new Columbus stadium, he had already been holding separate conversations with folks in Austin about a possible new stadium and team move to Texas.
The timing of the announcement could not have been worse. If ownership had a shred of decency, they would have dropped this bombshell before nonrefundable season ticket renewals were due; or at the very least they could have waited until AFTER the season, as the team is right in the middle of a good run of form heading into the playoffs.
It's impossible to say what Precourt's initial intentions were when he invested in the Crew in 2013, whether his decision to move the team is recent, or whether that was his plan all along, in order to avoid hefty expansion fees for a new MLS franchise. Either way, the move is wrongheaded.
If it can happen to a team as foundational to the origins and history of MLS as the Columbus Crew, it can happen anywhere.
Team owners, management, and front office staff people come and go, but supporters remain and persist. If Precourt wants to purchase a team elsewhere or invest in an expansion franchise he is welcome to do so; but he should leave the Crew out of his machinations. Columbus Crew as a team and institution belongs to the city of Columbus and to its supporters, and that is where it should remain.