Jeremiah O'Sullivan Shirt

From the Stands: Despite his distance from the Portland Timbers, Jeremiah O'Sullivan never misses a game

Editor's Note: Portland Timbers supporters, long a loud and frenzied presence at games in Providence Park, can also be found across the country and around the world. In this web series, Timbers.com will take a look at how these fans--often hundreds or thousands of miles away from the Rose City--follow their favorite team and support from afar. Are you a Timbers supporter in away territory or the frontier? Let us know in the comments.
 
-----------
 
There are very few circumstances that can stop Jeremiah O'Sullivan from watching his beloved Portland Timbers.
 
For O'Sullivan, who currently resides with his wife and children some 7,000 odd miles from Portland, almost nothing can stop him from following his favorite club: not time, not distance, not even the frequent power outages at his home in Katmandu, Nepal.
 
"No matter what it means I have to go through, I've watched every single match since I've been over here," O'Sullivan said.
 
"I stalk all the blogs. I go to Reddit Timbers. My Twitter feed is just strictly Timbers. It's all social media, all news sites," he added. "I feel like living abroad makes me pay more attention to the Timbers than if I was living locally."
 
O'Sullivan's fanaticism for the Timbers began in 2007, when he first began playing organized hurling—an ancient Gaelic game similar to field hockey—at Columbia Red Branch, the Irish athletic club in Portland. It was there that two friends, both massive Timbers fans, first introduced O'Sullivan to the club.
 
"They were some huge Timbers Army fans and this was a couple years before [the Timbers] joined MLS," he recalled. "I kept hearing about the Timbers, that they'd go to all the matches, and I kind of got into it."

But just two years after first discovering the team, O'Sullivan and his wife, both educators at an American international school, moved abroad to work in Taiwan. Ever since, the Gresham, Ore. native O'Sullivan says, he's followed the team as closely as possible in an effort to maintain a connection to his hometown.
"Other than my family, the Timbers have been my connection to Portland living abroad."
 
Yet despite the distance between his new and old homes, and despite the considerable time difference (Nepal is 12 hours and 45 minutes ahead of Portland), O'Sullivan continues to watch the team every week. Along with a colleague, he's even made each match into a weekend ritual.
 
"I have one friend who has never liked soccer, who's from Nebraska, and he's hooked on the Timbers this year," he said. "He'll come over for the 4:45 AM games. We'll make Timbers breakfast. We'll get into it."
 
Still, it's not all early wake-up calls, satellite television and internet focus.
 
When O'Sullivan and his family travel back to Portland during their summer breaks, O'Sullivan tries to attend every match at Providence Park that he can.
 
"When I come back home, I make it my plan to make it home for that first match if I can," he said. "If my school [in Nepal] starts August 4 and there's a match August 2, I make my flight out August 3. I try to go to all the home matches while I'm home and I try to make it to at least one away match when I'm home also."
 
He considers himself fortunate enough to have been at Providence Park in 2013 to watch the stoppage time goal and victory against the LA Galaxy.
 
"I still show people that highlight [that goal] to show them I was at that game and just the experience of MLS and just how pumped up people can be at a match."
 
As big a fan as O'Sullivan is, his young children Teigen and Liam are well on their way to full-blown Timbers mania.
 
"When my daughter [Teigen] and I watch the game—she's been to three Thorns games—every time she goes: 'Daddy, when we go back home [to Portland], I'll go to Boys Thorns games.' She wants to see the Timbers play."
 
At his school in Nepal, O'Sullivan often encounters students and colleagues who haven’t heard of the Timbers or MLS but he's always proud to represent his hometown team.
 
"Not everybody knows I'm a Timbers fan, but if there's soccer fans at school, that's my identity: MLS supporter, advocate, Timbers."
 
O'Sullivan says, though, that he's not alone. He's communicated with other Timbers fans who live in Taiwan, Spain, and England.
 
"We're all on little islands. We want to be connected to where our home is or to the team that we like."
 
Topics: