“I learned all about life with a ball at my feet.” ~ Ronaldinho

It’s that time of year again.danny

I like to think I keep fairly busy: work, extra baby-sitting gigs, writing group, GSRWA and of course the basics like sleeping, eating and doing laundry. But from March through October, a full eight months out of the year soccer seems to squeeze out an extraordinary amount of time. 

Soccer (or football for my annoying European friends who will point out that it’s what the cool kids call it – you know who you are). 

For eight months there are home games, away game. Injury reports, interviews. New socks, old USL era shirts. MLS live, FS1. Western Conference, Eastern Conference. CONCACAF, Open Cup. Cascadia Cup.Supporter’s shield. MLS Cup. ECS. 

Although MLS is still rather new in Seattle (this is our 8th season), this Sounder schedule is nothing new for me. Since 1994 my schedule has revolved around this team. Clipping news paper articles (I only stopped a few years ago), road trips to Vancouver and collecting autographs like trophies of my dedication to the team. 

Now, on the morning of our season opener, I think of all the things I wanted to get done over the off-season – 90% didn’t happen, oops. But hey, there is always next off season, right?

Oh, and if you need me? You can find me at the stadium. Or call me in November.

C’mon boys, take ’em all!

“Soccer isn’t the same as Bach or Buddhism. But it is often more deeply felt than religion, and just as much a part of the community’s fabric, a repository of traditions” – Franklin Foer

Sounder love.

The Sounders have been part of my life since 1994. Twenty-one years spent laughing, crying, cheering, angry, elated, frustrated, thrilled, disappointed, overjoyed and well, fucking pissed (I mean, losing to Portland in the playoffs? For the love of…).

I was a shy kid growing up. Like, painfully shy. So when I saw kids getting autographs from my favorite players, the ones I wrote about in my 3rd grade journal in Mrs. Rivas’ class, I wanted autographs too. Only I wasn’t brave enough to ask. I remember my parents sending me over, but I would hang back and as things started to feel too chaotic, I would turn back and shrug. I could get an autograph the next time. Or the next time.

In 1997, I started saving everything Sounders. Programs, ticket stubs, newspaper articles. I would search every page of the sports section until I found the tiny article, usually on the back page and cut them out. I remember going to Denmark that summer and asking the petsitter to save the sports page every day so that I didn’t miss anything. A few articles with pictures went on my wall, the way other girls has posters of JTT (Jonathan Taylor Thomas – the other JT wasn’t famous yet). My favorite was an action shot of Wade Webber and his bleach blonde hair.

meandcraigIn 2002 my dad and I saw Coach Schmetzer at Quest during the very first game at the new stadium. My dad suggested we say hello. I was too nervous, but my dad marched up and said hello and told him all about my scrapbook full of old Sounders stuff. The whole thing was a blur to me, but ended with an invite to the team practice at Memorial Stadium to have it signed by the guys. Thinking back on it, I can still feel the excitement radiating through my body. Coach Schmetzer waved us over and said I could go right out onto the field. I took half a step onto the turf and froze. I was terrified. I remember he eventually walked me around to the different groups of guys, starting the conversation for me and the players took it from there. They asked about me, about being a fan of the sport/team, they looked through my stuff and were really kind to me.

I hugged my scrapbook to my chest the entire ride home.

I arrived early before the next game, waiting by the entrance with a carnation forzs1each of the guys, thanking them for signing my stuff. When they approached, they remembered my name, would chat for a minute, take a picture with me and suddenly I didn’t feel so invisible anymore.

After the game I would wait with the rest of the fans wanting an autograph and I remember Scott Jenkins taking the time to talk instead of signing my program and moving on to the next. Viet once ran to the locker room and grabbed a game worn jersey and an autographed ball. And Craig always had the biggest smile and a hug for me (and still does today, 13 years later).

zs2This is why I support not only this team, but these guys (playing or not) so many years later. None of this was required by the team, the coach. This was never about being a publicity stunt or trying to gain more fans. This was about being nice. They did something nice for someone just because. And it taught me that you never know how much your kindness can effect another person. Today. Tomorrow. Or 13 years from now.

Sports fans come and go, but when you’re ‘Sounders Til I Die’, there is no end. Not the end of the game. Not the end of the season. And certainly not the end of any one players career. #EBFG



Looking for the Mark Harmon post? Click here.

Looking for the Tornado post? Click here.

So while the main reason for my trip to OKC the past four years has been Mark Harmon, this year I lucked out by having TWO legit reasons to brave the heat, humidity and crazy southerners. Soccer!

As most of my friends know, I’m part of a new soccer podcast call the Soccer Talk Show (find us on facebook OR @soccertalkshow on twitter). We’re pretty much Sounders only, but I have always been of the belief that ‘once a sounder, always a sounder’ – except Shalrie Joseph. I hope he doesn’t see that.

Or maybe I do. Meh.

photo 3I met up with Philip Lund (2013 Sounder & fellow Dane- hollaback with the diggitydansk) at their Fri am practice for my first ever interview. I had zero clue as to what I was doing, and probably looked less than legit with just my iphone to record, but overall I think it went pretty well. Jay and I have some recording to do, but once the podcast is up, I’ll link to it here and on social media. We had a great chat for the podcast and an even better chat after I stopped recording and let loose a bit with my own pet peeves on how the team is run. I mean, most everyone knows that I’m #teamschmetzer – but it was nice to get more of an inside perspective.

Saturday after the cancelled baseball game, the weather picked up and I made my way to the Energy FC game. photo 4Nice to chat with Philip again, and meet a family who has spent some time living in Wa (and are also Sounders fans – small world). Funny to find those connections. I sat in the ‘fan zone’ – remember, I’m legit now with my Energy tee – complete with Philip’s name/number on the back in Zebra duct tape (because supplies are limited in OKC, apparently). It was fairly disorganized, but with a few ‘leaders’ in the group. I give them props for having some decent chants, though they rarely run through more than 1-2 times. It doesn’t give people much time to learn them and jump in. And at one point they were ragging on the east side for not cheering. Um, encourage, not discourage them to sing. But it’s only their first season – they’ll grow. Look at the ECS.

photo 1The game was good, but I was worried the first half. The Energy were much slower than Sacremento, but the biggest thing was size/force. Whenever it was 1 v 1, the other team almost always came away with it. They were much bigger size-wise, so OKC has to find a way to be faster and get in there and take the ball away.

But, I must’ve been decent luck, because they ended the game with a 2-0 win!

Funny to see Jimmy Nielsen as coach. I want to like him. He’s Danish and did very well in MLS. But totally still bitter about the Open Cup that Salazar handed them. Sorry, club over country. But I’m sure he’s nice?

After the game I met a  SKC fan and we talked about that game, and the fact that they were just kicked out by Portland (and then beat Portland a few days later in a regular season match.



<– me in my okc gear. which looks like sounders gear. I like.

Why I haven’t (and won’t) jump on the Seahawks bandwagon.

I don’t like football.

It’s a 60 minute game that takes half a day to watch. I don’t see the skill beyond basic catch, or body slamming someone to the ground. The sport produces so many brain injuries, that a player killed himself but did so in a way that doctors could still look at his brain because he KNEW he was so messed up from repeated hard tackles. These men are getting paid millions to sustain brain damage at the delight of millions. I don’t claim soccer to be an injury-less sport. People have dropped dead on the pitch mid-game (unchecked heart issue), left with broken bones, concussions, etc. But unlike football, it’s not a massive epidemic of brain injury. Image

But even all that aside… it just isn’t for me.

Maybe I’m still bitter about the lack of attention the Sounders/soccer has received over the years. Since joining the MLS we’ve gotten more coverage and actual color photos, but there still isn’t a ‘soccer page’ in the Seattle Times the way they have one for football or MLB. I was at QFC the other day and they have Seahawks flowers. A bouquet of flowers dyed blue and green with a small Seahawks balloon in the middle. Where are the Sounders balloons? We’ve made the playoffs the past 5 years. Actually, I used to make Sounder flowers. I’d buy a couple bouquets of white flowers and dye them blue the night before a soccer game. I’d arrive 2 hours before kick off and hand them out to the players (and coach Schmetzer) at memorial stadium as they arrived. 

I don’t hate the Seahawks, I don’t hope they lose. But I do find this bandwagon business amusing. Amusing because I’m an outsider. I know what it’s like to love a team through the hard times and then watch as THOUSANDS descend upon your team claiming to be ‘hard core’ (I’m looking at YOU non-USL sounder fans). It’s insulting  irritating.

And hey Starbucks, where’s my ‘full -90’ .90cent coffee in honor of the Sounders?