While the Timbers soccer team started in the middle 70s I was not aware of their existence until I moved back to Portland and even then I didn’t see a game until the end of last year. I am noob when it comes to Portland Timbers Football Club, though not a noob to soccer in general. I was at the LA Galaxy’s first game in their new stadium and about 15 others while living in Southern California. I saw the Men’s National Team play in the Rose Bowl and the Home Depot center but it wasn’t until this year and the Timbers, that I truly experienced a great soccer game. My friend Jesse and I got season tickets and plugged right in to the Timbers Army volunteering at the stadium and in the neighborhood. We helped with tifo, and I was there laying out the flags a couple hours before the games from June until the last home game this past Friday night.
It has been an amazing experience being part of the inaugural season in the MLS for the Timbers and having tickets to every game where we sat in the same seats, around the same group of people for 20 games. We got the learn and celebrate the history of this club and the supporters that sustain it, while being part of the next chapter. We met great people and grew close through beautiful goals and horrendous officiating and shared passion for a team and a city that we loved. While this season has been a roller coaster watching a young team exceed expectations early only to fall back to earth and break our hearts down the stretch, with 2 games left there is still an outside chance we can make the playoffs. Is there more you could ask of a first year team?
While the atmosphere and excitement of the first team games is unsurpassed, I have loved going to the Reserve games with my boys and seeing them fall in love with the game. They have seen the Timbers come back and win 3 times this year and they think that Bright Dike is the greatest soccer player in the world. I have been in the locker room on a tour, sat in the fancy seats of the Key Club, had my picture taken with a few of the players, and sat and listen to a talk from the Coach John Spencer. But the best experience of all happened after the final whistle of a disappointing lose at the last home game of the season. It was then that I got to go onto the field and hand the players the banners the Timbers Army had made to celebrate the team. Each banner had a players number and the miles away from their home town. These were displayed just before the game, through out the Timbers Army, with a large sign that read “Many Origins – One PTFC”. As a thank you for volunteering all year to set out the flags, I was one of 6 people handing out the individual banners and a King of Clubs shirt. I spoke spanish with Jorge Perlazza, talked to Rodrigo Lopez about Santa Barbara, got a beanie from Rodney Wallace when i gave him his banner, and had to hunt down Chris Taylor, Brian Umony, and Steve Purdy. A lot of the players I had were reserve guys and it was great to tell them how much I had loved watching them play, and how my boys look up to them.
An amazing experience to be infront of the Army and hear them sing “Bury me In Timbers Green” to the team, thanking them for a great year. It was the giant cherry on top of a whole season of sundaes, and it was an experience I will cherish for a long time. We have renewed our season tickets for next year, and will be driving the 700 miles to Salt Lake City for the last game of the year in an effort to make it last as long as possible.