Why we root / nos racines de supporters (part 2/3)


We carry on with the story of Mike Schwartz, American FC Nantes fan. He deals with his second love : Portland Timbers soccer club and their fans known as the « Timbers Army ».

The Portland Timbers, my home club, were founded in 1975. The original North American Soccer League was already famous for players like Pélé and Beckenbauer ,and clubs like the New York Cosmos, when Portland was granted a team. The city supported their club, the Timbers, en masse with crowds of well over 30,000 at our small, historic stadium in the city centre.

America’s first capo, who would saw rounds of wood off a log when the Timbers scored.

The name derives from Oregon’s logging history, and at the time, crowds were lead by America’s first capo, a lumberjack called Jim Serrill, who would saw rounds of wood off a log when the Timbers scored. Portland called itself “Soccer City, USA”, and was known for raucous crowds. Unfortunately, the NASL failed, and so did the Timbers. There simply wasn’t enough money in football in America.

Portland Timbers logo

 

For almost 20 years, there was no professional soccer in Portland.

Then, in 2001, a lower league called United Soccer League (USL) granted Portland entry, and the Timbers, and Soccer City, were reborn. That year, a small group of ultras, known as the “Cascade Rangers”, for the nearby Cascade Range mountains, began standing in section 107, behind the North End goal. With the club’s colours of green, gold, and white, the club resembled Celtic, which made the name “Rangers” sound ridiculous. The group of ultras renamed themselves the « Timbers Army ».

Logo de la Timbers Army

Timbers Army’s logo

As a lover and supporter of the beautiful game, moving to Portland in 2010 was the best thing that could have happened to me. I like to say that I have found my people, my tribe, the passionate soccer crowd in America that has been hidden across the country my whole life. Nantes are jaune-et-vert, the Timbers are green-and-gold. In my heart, our colours are the same.

The Timbers joined Major League Soccer, America’s first division, in 2011.

Providence Park is not only « guichets-fermés » every match, there is a waiting list of over 10,000 people just to be able to buy tickets.

Today, the Timbers Army has it’s own tribune, the entire North End in our stadium, Providence Park. Every match, over 4,500 passionate “TA” fill the North End and sing uninterrupted from warm-ups through the end of the match. Providence Park is not only « guichets-fermés » every match, there is a waiting list of over 10,000 people just to be able to buy tickets. Portland is regarded throughout MLS and the United States as one of the best – if not the best – soccer atmosphere in North America. We travel to away days and fill opposing stadiums with our songs and banners. No days are more passionate than our two derbies, with Seattle (our Rennes) and Vancouver (our Bordeaux).

Matchday in Portland, however, is the best.

To be continued…

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Mike Schwartz
(Translate by Nicolas Moulins)

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