Soccer Culture

19 July 3:42 pm

Last weekend, my wife dragged me out to a massive—and I mean MASSIVE—antique show in North Portland. Two full expo center halls plus and outdoor soccer pitch’s worth of tents filled with sellers of all manner of knick-knacks, furniture, vintage toys, prints and the like.

While I was on the hunt for nothing in particular, I found myself drawn to tables with old postcards and photographs. It was here that I began to uncover fun little elements of soccer history.

At one table, the merchant had three-ring binders of old photos. In one overflowing tome simply labeled, “Sports,” were random photos of soccer clubs from Prague in the 1930s.

I was particularly drawn to a collection of six photos labeled, “Sparta ABA vs. Heidelberg SC, National Cup, 1936.” Underneath each club is “Chicago” for Sparta and “Pitsburg, PA” (sic) for Heidelberg.  A few Google clicks later revealed that Sparta ABA stood for Sparta Athletic and Benevolent Association. Wikipedia tells us that Sparta ABA, aka Chicago Sparta was founded by Czech immigrants in 1917.

The National Cup referred to in the photos is, in fact, the now more commonly known Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Wikipedia gets a bit vague here, but best I can make out, the pictures are from the Western Division National Cup semi-finals which Heidelberg won 2-1. Wikipedia lists a Sparta Garden City of Chicago playing Heidelberg but given the photo, I’m inclined to believe Wikipedia meant Sparta ABA.

My score of the day, however, came just as the whole show was finishing up. Tucked behind some old Muppets pint classes and other plastic toys was an early-year MLS soccer ball from at least 1997. Adorned with numerous now defunct logos of Miami Fusion FC, San Jose Clash, Tampa Bay Mutiny, and old skool New York/New Jersey MetroStars, I talked the guy down to $10.

While I expected to find old baseball mitts, balls and bats—and I did—it’s clear there’s a rich historical soccer memorabilia world out there. eBay is full of vintage goodies. For Father’s Day, my family got me an NASL Portland Timbers pennant off of eBay. Surprisingly when I opened it, however, it turned out the seller made a switcheroo mistake. I opened a triangular shaped box to find a pennant for the Edmonton Drillers. Presumably, there was an equally confused father opening his present in Alberta.

Want to find other random bits of soccer lore? Soccer blog KCKRS.com has a whole feature dedicated to it called “Treasures of eBay.” From Pink Floyd soccer kits, to a signed 1979 Minnesota Kicks ball, to a team autographed USWNT baseball, it’s all here.

What random bit of soccer history do you cherish? Let us know in the comments below or email us a pic at thebackcut(at)portlandtimbers.com.
 

10 July 11:02 am

Photo: Portland Timbers

You are the definition of RCTID. You’re there at the game in the rain. In the sun. In the cold. In the heat. Win lose or draw you cheer your heart out.

You understand the unique relationship between team and city.

And yet somehow, you don’t have season tickets.

This is your chance. With over thousands of people still on the waiting list trying to get season tickets, this is your opportunity to jump to the front.

All you have to do is submit a photo via our special Facebook tab that shows just how RCTID you are. Add the axe cleverly. Then get your friends to vote for you.

The photo with the most votes by July 16, 5pm PT wins two 2013 season tickets. That’s TWO tickets that gets you in to all the MLS games at JELD-WEN Field next season.

So get your cameras out and get snapping. Time is running out.

Are you RCTID?

03 July 11:18 am

All this week, MLSsoccer.com is taking a look at "food and its relationship to the beautiful game." Some of it delves into how nutrition is making an impact on players' on-field performance, like this article, and others take a look at some of the unique aspects of food culture and soccer.

Considered among the best press box food in league, MLSsoccer.com interviewed JELD-WEN Field Executive Chef Bob Bumbraugh on how he prepared the food for the big match against Seattle Sounders and a little insight into the delicious "Timbers Bacon."

29 June 10:37 am

You like soccer. You like going to pubs. You like playing pool. But how do you combine them into the best time AND potentially win a trip to the 2012 MLS Cup?

The Budweiser PoolBall Tournament has the answers.

What’s PoolBall?  This:
 

So now that you’re intrigued, you want to play. While the PoolBall field will be set up at numerous upcoming pub partner viewing parties and home matches for all to play, we have four slots available in a special tournament bracket culminating in a Timbers Army championship match at the Timbers Army Barbeque.

 Photo: Budweiser

Just to up the stakes a bit more, the winner of the Timbers Army tournament will then go on to battle the champion of the Seattle Sounders’ Emerald City Supporters group. The winner of that showdown then goes to MLS Cup and will have $2,500 donated to the supporters group of their choice—in this case, the Timbers Army.

Numerous smaller prizes and goodies are available along the way with great swag, scarves, autographed items and more. All you have to do is be 21 and over as of June 30, grab a friend (teams are made up of two players each) and register here. A random drawing of entries will then determine the four slots we have available. The Timbers Army also has a selection of slots available to play here.

Dates of early round bracket play are as follows:

6/30: @ On Deck - Timbers @ Colorado Rapids
7/3: vs. San Jose - @ JELD-WEN Field
7/7: @ Thirsty Lion - Timbers @ Real Salt Lake
7/14: vs. LA - @ JELD-WEN Field
7/21: @ Maher’s Irish Pub - Timbers @ FC Dallas
7/24: vs. Aston Villa - @ JELD-WEN Field

All are welcome to play on the above dates but to be part of the tournament, you must register for the drawing.

Channel your inner Minnesota Fats-Pele love child and sign up!
 

28 June 2:10 pm

With the Timbers looking ahead to Saturday's match with Colorado Rapids (6pm PT, KPDX TV, Timbers Television Network; 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940), many corners of the media are still talking about the incredible environment on display last Sunday in Portland's 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC.

The Portland Business Journal took a look at how MLS worked to promote the game on a national scale and how they're looking to further expand rivalries across the league.

 Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer

Today, The Guardian in England published a great examination of the constant game of tifo one-upsmanship between the Timbers Army and Seattle's Emerald City Supporters. With the Timbers Army's massive banner fresh in Portland fan's minds, Graham Parker writes,

[As] the latest banner was raised, and the latest visual gauntlet laid down, it was hard not to respect the sheer dedication and commitment the Timbers Army had put in to honoring one of their club legends [Clive Charles] this Sunday, whatever the origins of the art form in the US. Multiple hundreds of hours of labor go into producing an image that may appear only momentarily, but that has the potential to leave an indelible memory. 

Speaking of the hundreds of hours of work put into creating the tifo, be sure to watch this Friday's June 29 Timbers in 30 (6:30pm PT, Fox 12 Oregon) as they'll have a special behind-the-scenes look into how the latest banner was constructed.

The Sporting News sent ace soccer writer Brian Straus here on Sunday to cover the Cascadia Cup battle. Calling the rivalry "among the most intense in American sport," Straus goes in-depth to try to figure out why our corner of the country has bred such an undying competition between the two communities. Comparing the Portland-Seattle clash to other rivalries from around the world doesn't quite work as its roots lie in a different area.

The Glasgow neighbors are divided by religion -- the Protestants support Rangers and the Catholics back Celtic. Elsewhere around the world, great (and occasionally violent) soccer rivalries revolve around politics, economics or geography. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s about civic identity.

Want to know more about how that civic identity operates within the larger ideal of what the very term "Cascadia" means? Portland Monthly's Martin Patail goes behind the deeper concept of the term and how "The Doug"--the green-white-blue flag with the massive Doug Fir emblazoned in the center that can be seen flying at all matches between Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver--is really part of a bigger discussion about a region's "independent state of mind."

It's clear the Cascadia ideal and rivalry therein--be it on the field or off--is stronger than ever.

25 June 12:10 pm

The lunch hour is upon us. That means time for a sandwich. And with a sandwich you need bread. What's that you say? Franz bakes organic bread with special Timbers collectible cards?

Sandwiches just got even more exciting.

Starting today, Franz launched a special set of Timbers collectible cards that can be found in their Friday Harbor Organic Great Grain, Willamette Valley Organic Great Seed, Big Horn Valley Organic Whole Wheat, and San Juan Organic 9 Grain loaves.

Each package comes with one card and the complete set numbers 12 in all: John Spencer, Eric Alexander, Kalif Alhassan, Kris Boyd, Eric Brunner, Diego Chara, Jake Gleeson, Jack Jewsbury, Darlington Nagbe, Troy Perkins, Brent Richards and Franck Songo'o.

Who knows? Perhaps your new card will inspire you to create a newly named sandwich concoction. Happy hunting!

 

 

Update: Fox 12 Oregon went to Franz Bakery's headquarters in NE Portland to see the unveiling of the cards along with Timber Joey. 
 

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.

19 June 9:25 am

 Image: ESPN

As some of you may have begun to notice, there's a growing buzz about this upcoming match for the Timbers this weekend. Seattle Sounders FC is coming to town and that means Rivalry. That mean Intensity. That means Cascadia Cup. 

Though the Vancouver Whitecaps FC sit atop the Cascadia standings on two points having drawn both Seattle and Portland earlier in the season, Sunday's game is the first 2012 meeting between the Timbers and Sounders (2:00pm PT, ESPN, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940).

We'll be rolling out all kinds of special Cascadia coverage throughout the week with a look back at memorable moments, stories from supporters, and more. Take a look at Monday's flashback to a classic NASL Portland-Seattle battle to get you started.

ESPN is getting into the act as well. They partnered up with MLS and us to make some unique posters that you may see popping up in many of our local watering holes and pubs. The posters take a particular "angle" on the match (see right).

Moreover, there's a brand new promo that was created to whet your appetite as well:

Are you ready?

11 June 3:28 pm

The 2012 FIFA European Championships got off to a rousing start late last week with group play. Poland's Robert Lewandowski got things started with the first goal of the tournament. The celebration of over 100,000 people in Warsaw's central square was not to be missed.

While MLS has only one player in the mix this year--LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane is the captain of Ireland--there are a number of players who Portland fans may have come across via recent international friendlies with the Timbers. Will it help you pick your side? Who knows, but take a look:

Joe Hart for Manchester City at UP - Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer 

England
Roy Hodgson - The current England manager most recently was the head man for West Bromwich Albion when they came through Portland in 2011 and helped lead them to a 3-2 win. Euro 2012 marks Hodgson's first tournament with the Three Lions
Joe Hart - The current England starter in net was also the starting goalkeeper in Manchester City's 3-0 win over the USL-era Timbers in 2010 at the University of Portland.
Joleon Lescott - Part of the Manchester City travel roster in 2010, Lescott came on in the second half against the Timbers at UP. More recently, he started and scored England's only goal in their opening Euro 2012 1-1 draw with France on Monday.

Holland
Gregory van der Wiel - The young Dutch defender came to Portland last season as part of Ajax's U.S. trip and played the full 90 picking up an assist in their 2-0 exhibition win over the Timbers. Van der Wiel also started in Holland's 1-1 draw with Denmark last week.

Ireland
Simon Cox - Though English-born, Cox qualifies for Ireland from his grandmother's side. The West Bromwich Albion striker came on as a second half sub against the Timbers last July. He was also a 62nd minute addition for Ireland in their 3-1 loss to Croatia.
Shay Given - Part of the travel roster with Manchester City in 2010 when they played the USL-era Timbers at University of Portland, Given was held out of the match. He is currently the starting goalkeeper for the Irish and leads the squad witn 123 caps.

Sweden
Jonas Olsson - Another member of the West Brom squad who played here last season, the veteran Olsson was an unused sub in Sweden's 2-1 loss to Ukraine earlier today.

Looking to learn more about the Euros? Check out KickTV's coverage of the tournament. Former U.S. international and MLS defender Jimmy Conrad has been traveling about Poland and Ukraine taking in the sites, training, and the matches. It's a must watch if you want to get a feel for the pure fun that is the European tournament. As a sampler, take a look at his talking his way into the Spain-Italy match on Sunday:
 

07 June 3:41 pm

 The likeness is uncanny.

Our friends at Turner Construction--the builders behind the renovation of JELD-WEN Field--have been putting their construction know-how, support of the Timbers, and outreach in the community all to good use in the latest edition of Canstruction. Canstruction is a national organization working to end hunger having contributed over 17.5 million pounds of food to community food banks across the country since 1992.

They do it it by gathering donated cans of food and then letting teams utilze those cans in elaborate and creative artistic sculptures. Turner Construction created a massive Timbers crest out of hundreds of cans of donated food and their project is in the running for the Canstruction People's Choice Award. Simply head to their Facebook photo album and give them a like. You can also see the behemoth in person at Pioneer Place in downtown Portland. Voting runs through Sunday. VOTE!

 

01 June 12:22 pm

Uruwa Red Diamonds of Asia, Wydad of Africa, Galatasaray of Europe, Boca Juniors of South America.

These are some of the best supported clubs in the world with incredible fans, tifo, and atmosphere. Jimmy Conrad of KickTV took a look at each continent--sorry Australia and Antarctica--to pick one club that has the best of the best.

His selection for the best supporters of North America? The Timbers Army.

Saying, "Nothing compares to Portland on the day of a game," Conrad goes on to explain why Portland is one of the best on the planet.
 

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.