Jack Jewsbury: Timbers Fans Are Key to Soccer Team’s Success
Sunday, September 14, 2014
bookstore, see the Rose Gardens, grab a box of Voodoo Doughnuts, eat lunch at the food carts, and right there, among the best the city has to offer. is “attend a Portland Timbers match.”
Why? The fans!
As much as pro athletes’ egos get involved and we like to think everyone in the stands is there to see us play this beautiful game, the reality is that in Soccercity USA there are a lot of people who may attend a Timbers game just to experience the atmosphere that is created.
I know this deflates our oversized heads, but it’s true.
Whether you’re a soccer fan or not, you can appreciate the intimate confines of Providence Park and the energy that spreads throughout a match.
Our fans, which include the famous Timbers Army, have gotten national and international recognition for creating one of the best atmospheres in the world.
That’s right – our fortress is up there with the likes of Old Trafford and Camp Nou on the list of 21 soccer stadiums you should watch a game in before you die.
That just goes to show you that the passion and atmosphere we encounter every week is something special and one we are fortunate to call our home.
And it is this that's breeding a soccer culture in our country and growing the brand of MLS.
While what is created in Portland is much different than many stadiums across the league, one thing is for sure - it HAS translated to a winning formula on the field.
Success on the field
How much success? Around four times out of five that we stepped out on our home field we've ended with a win or a tie (I know, I know -- too many ties, but still impressive)!
Now I realize that there are many other factors that go into getting results, but there is one constant that hasn't changed, and that is our supporters. Professional players, coaches, and support staff are always in and out, but during my four years here in Portland, which has been full of on-field ups and downs, the fans have helped us to be a consistent force here at Jeld-Wen/Providence Park.
It may seem like a simple equation: Sold-out stadium + passionate fans = success.
But it's not that simple.
Visiting teams get a boost
excitement that they bring to every game fuels our team, it’s also a feeling that most visiting teams rarely experience other than when they are at our stadium, thus creating a buzz amongst the competition, also.
For the fans, this only makes for the most entertaining games week in and week out.
In the end, the excitement our spectators bring to the game helps our squad, because we get the best from every side that comes into our stadium.
Aside from results, another positive which stems from our fans is that they also play a huge role in the acquisition of players domestically and internationally. One of the big topics amongst players inside and outside the league is what cities/organizations most desire to be a part of.
Without a doubt, and in large part because of our supporters, we sit atop the majority of players' lists of most attractive teams to play for.
This is huge, as the transition after being acquired from abroad, drafted, or traded can be a very difficult one.
Personally, being traded in March 2011 from Kansas City to Portland was a tough move. We had family 2 1/2 hours away and had made KC our home. Even though we all know that is just a part of the business, moving your family away can be difficult; but seeing the excitement and the buzz within Portland made things a lot easier.
I will never forget the home opener of the MLS-era Timbers against the Chicago Fire. From the national anthem sung by only our fans, which gave me goosebumps, to our first-ever victory lap, it was a special day and one that will forever be etched in my mind.
However, not all of my fond memories were after success.
Skip ahead to November 2013, and the MLS cup playoffs after a disappointing series loss to Salt Lake. At a time when all of us players were down and out, our fans were able to bring us all together with a PTFC chant that I will never forget - I just stood there proudly and soaked it in, as it was absolutely deafening.
In the end, sometimes our performances don't always reflect how much we appreciate the support, but I can promise you this - we are forever grateful for being able to put a Timbers jersey on and represent this club, city, and especially our fans!
To many more victory laps in the future (and fewer TIES)!!!
Jack Jewsbury plays for the Portland Timbers