My Team & I: Seattle Sounders


By Kirsten Schlewitz

Twitter @7500_Kirsten


Why Seattle Sounders?

Despite spending many of my formative years in both California and Oregon, I always identified with Seattle, where my mother’s family is from and where I spent most summers. Although I’ve always loved soccer, it’s only been over the last few years that I’ve become committed to specific teams. I moved to Seattle from New Orleans just before the Sounders began their first MLS season, and I was immediately hooked. In addition to loving the team, I loved the absolute ruckus the city made over the team, draping the place in scarves, turning the Space Needle rave green and even hanging a giant banner at the city’s eastern entrances.

Favourite Player?

Osvaldo Alonso. Hands down. Ossie is the master of the midfield, the one who directs the play and determines the shape. When Alonso was out with injury last season, Seattle lost six of their seven games. In Ossie’s first full game back with the team, the Sounders won, 2-1, and proceeded to go 9-2-2 in games in which Alonso played. Fredy Montero might capture the headlines, but Alonso is the player most valuable to the club.

Oh, and he defected from Cuba to the United States and likes to dress in sparkling white suits with matching shiny shoes. Who can’t love that?

Favourite Game?

The 2009 semi-final match of the US Open Cup, against the Houston Dynamo. To set the scene: it’s mid-July, and we’re packed into the supporters area of the stands, having completely forgotten water bottles and unable to go find refreshment for fear of losing our spot. Smoke bombs are exploding, sweat is dripping off people’s faces and our throats parched from screaming at the top of our lungs. You see, Nate Jaqua had just equalized in the 89th minute for the Sounders, forcing extra time and, possibly, penalties. Those penalties never came to being, though, as Stephen King scored five minutes into added extra time. Much of that match passed in a blur, with only brief snippets remaining lodged in my memory: My sunglasses, crushed into bits on top of my head when my male friends, standing on either side of me, tried to hug me at once. The way my heart leapt into my throat when Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was issued a second yellow with ten minutes left to play. How much my legs ached after jumping up and down for what seemed like hours. But most of all, the adrenaline rush that came with realizing that the Sounders had made the finals of a tournament in their first year in the league.

Favourite Strip?

This one’s a bit tough, considering that, as a Major League Soccer franchise, the Seattle Sounders are only entering their third season, and quite honestly the NASL kits were not very pretty. I loved their away kit for the first two seasons, which unfortunately they did away with this season, changing to black instead. And don’t even talk to me about that “electricity” monstrosity, which at least looks better in person than it does on a tv screen.


Worst Thing About Being A Sounders Fan?

I liken it to being a fan of Manchester United, although obviously not as successful. Sounders fans are often immediately judged on their allegiance. As an Aston Villa fan, I’m almost never questioned – people don’t assume I’m a bandwagoner or someone who knows nothing about the game. But when others have found out I’m a Sounders fan, they’ve questioned everything from how long I’ve been a fan (apparently it’s not ok to have started paying attention just before the team began its inaugural MLS season) to my knowledge of Kasey Keller’s days on the U.S. National Team (considering I’m not a U.S. fan, these ones get difficult). In addition, there are so many people out there who hate Seattle simply for being Seattle. They hate the media attention, they hate the fact that the fan base gets so much air time on national television, and they hate the outspoken fans who believe their team can never do wrong.*

*For good reason – I rather hate these fans myself.

Funniest Moment?

For me, the funny moments have less to do with the actual team and much more to do with the crowd experience. One moment that sticks in my mind happened last season, when I took my mother to her very first soccer match. We stood on the edge of the Emerald City Supporters, the area where you’re expected to sing and chant. To my surprise, my mom sang her heart out, although she did skip over any lines about lining them up against the wall and shooting. But as the game spun out, two sets of supporters in front of us got into a nasty argument over something trivial. After just a few minutes of listening to them exchange insults, my mother stuck her head between the two and snarled, “Look, boys, there’s a game on here and I want to watch it. So BE QUIET.”

After about thirty seconds of silence, the “boys” (who were around 30 years old) looked down at their feet and mumbled, “Yes ma’am. Sorry ma’am.” From then on, it was just singing and chanting.

Favourite Moment?

Last year, First Kick against the newest MLS team, the Philadelphia Union. I went with two of my best friends to stand in the pouring rain, freezing my fingers off for the chance to see the Sounders win their first match of the season. Brad Evans put the home side ahead after just twelve minutes, but the goal of the night was scored by Fredy Montero. The diminutive striker dove forward to meet a pass from Alonso, sticking the header into the back of the net. My favourite people around me, my two favourite players combining to seal the win – there could be no better way to start the season.

I only wish that I could repeat the performance this season, as the Sounders host the LA Galaxy tonight. Alas, I am stuck down in Portland with the Timbers fans, inside the law library with my nose in a book.

One Response to “My Team & I: Seattle Sounders”

  1. […] first tie but the second leg will be played at the home of The Sounders and they’ll hope that their passionate fans can give them the edge. Sounders boss Brian Schmetzer has plenty of winning experience, so his […]

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