Standing in the shadows of Qwest Field, Anna and I found ourselves surrounded in a sea of green and blue as people of the Northwest came together to cheer on their newest team, the Seattle Sounders FC. We could hear the 'Sound Wave' band before they came into view, rounding the corner on Occidental Ave., marching in unison to the tune of familiar pop songs — tunes from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Beyonce were of particular note. Fans were bobbing heads and clapping to the music and the entrance to the stadium was abuzz with heart-felt anticipation for a win against the San Jose Earthquakes. And fans weren't disappointed when the Sounders came away with a 2-1 victory over the 'Quakes.
Our spot for the green PEMCO van is right next to the Northwest entrance to the stadium and it gives us a chance to chat with folks as they enter the game. We hear from the familiar season-ticket holders, visitors to the Northwest and local rookie-attendees who are about to cheer on the Sounders for the first time. Soccer lovers of all ages sport Sounders gear with pride, though what's probably most noticeable, aside from the neon green hue of a Freddy Ljungberg jersey, is that Sounders FC fans -- young and old — have such great energy that it's nearly impossible to not clap and chant along with the pre-game crowd.
Amongst the excitement of chants and the rhythms of brass bands, groups stopped by the PEMCO van to get their photo snapped as the ''I Know I Am, I'm Sure I Am Sounders FC Fan.' Before every home game, PEMCO offers to print complimentary photos of fans and their families. Standing in line or waiting to receive their custom lanyards people would say things like 'I love the Northwest Profiles, I can totally relate.' Or, 'Hey! How do I get one of those PEMCO t-shirts?'
Everyone — including the blue mohawk-coiffed uber fan to the pair of dads treating their daughters to a Saturday night game -- who stopped by the booth for a quick photo left with a smile and seemed more energized than when they first arrived. Probably the most memorable moment for me came at the end as we were breaking down and getting ready to head home.
One man had this to say:
'God bless you guys and the work that you do, this was great, can I get you something to eat?' We turned down his offer, but I had a great time at the match and can't wait for the next one this Wednesday when the Sounders take on DC United. Go Sounders!