Vancouver’s expansion Major League Soccer team has seen the future — and it’s a horde of pea-green, towel-waving lunatics about four hours down the I-5.
About 60 fans, Whitecaps staff and reporters boarded a pair of buses Thursday afternoon to take part in the “loud-and-proud” party of a Sounders FC match in Seattle.
“They’ve got a great atmosphere,” said Whitecaps CEO Paul Barber. “They’ve got fantastic support … and it sets a benchmark for the rest of us to live up to and hopefully to surpass.”
Seattle has 30,000-plus season ticket holders and the atmosphere is impressive to behold.
An hour before match, about a thousand fans gather in a park to listen to a raucous brass band, Sound Wave.
Then as a group, they march down brick-lined Occidental Avenue toward Qwest Field, waving their scarves and chanting fight songs.
“Everyone is just in a riot the whole time,” said Seattle fan Michael Lange. “When you’re surrounded with other people that love soccer as much as you do, you really get a sense of community. You can all just go crazy and no one will care.”
During the game, no one sits. In the south end, they dance, chant, heckle visiting D.C. United, wave their scarves and cheer and cheer.
“I have no doubt, ” said John Knox, president of the Southsiders fan club, “that whatever Seattle has done to capture that magic, Vancouver’s going to do the same, if not better.”