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.
—by John Nyen
We stand together perched on the precipice of the yawning void that is the playoffs. Every possibility is before this team, with glory and failure looking at each other in equal measure.
One game left.
This is a call for bedlam.
Let’s be honest with each other. It’s been a long season. At times it didn’t appear that the Timbers would bring us here. We’ve been through the warm summer days, the doldrums of June and July, and the midweek games that seemed to play out without much pomp and circumstance.
We’ve blooded our friends and family in the Timbers way. We’ve brought our neighbors, friends, and relatives to games over the past 8 months. We’ve spread the love from coast to coast with the Timbers diaspora scattered across the nation.
Now we must transform, all of us. We must become louder. We must become more engaged. We must become more passionate. We must become, again, the heaving, pulsating, breathing pulse of this club.
There is nothing for you to hold in reserve anymore. Every game from here on out should be given your all.
Vancouver doesn’t come here after knocking the Timbers out of the playoffs and the contention for them in 2016, 2010, and 2009 with the Cascadia Cup on the line and get a free pass. It’s time to make it difficult for them to play. It’s time to make it difficult for them to hear, to talk, and to simply exist on our field.
This isn’t 11 v 11 when they come into our city to play.
This is 11 v 21,144 in the stadium.
This is 11 v 639,244 in the city.
This is 11 v 2.4 million in the metroplex.
We outnumber them, and they will know this by the sound of our voices lifted as one. They will know this by our solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters in the North End that extends beyond the curve of the stadium. We will stand united and become more than ourselves to give our team everything that we can.
If you can’t stand, then sing.
If you can’t sing, then clap.
If you can’t clap, then believe.
Talk to your neighbors. Talk to your friends. Talk to strangers around you. No free rides this Sunday. This is the time of year everyone contributes. Get your neighbors louder, help them with chants, help them with songs, and get them a chant sheet if they need one. Wave flags, make banners, make two-sticks, listen to the drums, and listen to the capos. We are all in this together.
Grab an oar and row.
You are the capo of your seat, you are the leader of your row. It’s time to get everyone around you chanting, singing, and participating.
This thing belongs to all of us. Believe those words and live them.
This beautiful thing that we share belongs to each and every one of us and it is up to us to show our love for our city and our club.
Let’s get it.
Audio inspiration for this piece provided by Popcast_41_Dallas
—by Patch Perryman
It’s been quite a season for all of us in the Timbers Army. The capos, drummers and trumpeters thank everyone who joined us in the North End, on the road, and across the globe.But before the season ends, we have one more request of you (AKA #BYCAP).You may take it for granted that you’ll be at the next match, singing and chanting yourself hoarse. You’re from the North End and you’re there to make some noise, right?
Photo by Jody Taylor
But what if you couldn’t?
What if the joyful soundtrack of the Timbers Army was off limits to you?
You wouldn’t be alone.
Since 1964, Camp Meadowood Springs in Pendleton, Oregon has helped over 3,000 kids and young adults aged 6 to 16 overcome their unique social and learning challenges. Every summer, they offer a variety of instructive activities intermixed with intensive hearing and speech therapy for their 60-plus campers with communication challenges.
Photo by Ray Terrill
Here’s how you can help:
Instead of buying a pint, consider taking that spare change, that small bill, whatever you would consider to be the value of a “thank you beverage” and put that money into our pickle buckets, which you’ll see hanging off each nest along with one on the main stage.
We will turn that money into tuition breaks for those campers, because even though grants are essential to run Camp Meadowood Springs, the costs campers face are often the initial obstacle for them to overcome. Since the first BYCAP ask back in 2011, the Timbers Army has raised enough to pay outright for over a dozen campers—and we cannot be stopped from doing more.
Photo by Darren Lloyd
If you cannot be at the match on Sunday the 15th, you can donate via this link (select "TA BYCAP"). Every bit helps—no matter if it’s on the pitch, in the stands, or in our community. Thank you.
See you in the stands.
—The Timbers Army Capos, Drums and Trumpets Corps
By Coley Lehman
This is Daisy. Every year on her birthday her great-grandfather sends her a crisp $100 bill. Usually this money goes right into her college savings account.
This year Daisy had an idea for how to spend the money. She told her parents she wanted to buy presents for kids who didn’t get birthday presents. Her parents agreed to match her money 1:1, so after discussing a few options, Daisy decided to buy gifts for kids in foster care. Daisy and her family are big supporters of the Thorns and Timbers. Her parents were already familiar with Keith Palau’s work with 107ist to improve the waiting rooms for kids receiving DHS services. Keith was able to use his DHS contacts to get a wishlist. With a list in hand, Daisy and her family made a trip to Target and loaded up $200 of art supplies, jammies, and toys.
Even though she’s only 8 years old, Daisy was able to take something that would have only made a small difference in her life, and make a much bigger impact in the lives of people who need it a lot more.
—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.