Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers

Written by Arsinio Walker

“P-T! (clap, clap!) F-C! (clap, clap), P-T! (clap, clap!) F-C! (clap, clap)…”

Feel the fever of the crowd inside Providence Park. Listen to the roar of the faithful Timbers Army – this is the Portland Timbers Football Club.

Known as “Soccer City USA,” Portland has become the number one soccer hub in America. Last year, it hosted the Major League Soccer All-Star Game versus the German giant Bayern Munchen, who had won all major trophies in Europe prior to arriving in America. I was there to witness David slay Goliath in Portland as the MLS All-Stars came out victorious with a 2-1 win against Bayern.

With the continuous growth of soccer in the U.S., we have started to see new teams, famous players and better styles of play in the MLS. I’m proud to say that the team I love most, the Portland Timbers, has contributed to this rise in popularity of the sport. However, I don’t claim for them to be the best soccer club in the U.S. for just any reason. The Portland Timbers have some of the best fans across the face of the earth, resulting in the most exciting game-day atmosphere one could ever experience in a lifetime. Not to mention they have some of the most elite players that can be found anywhere!

Have you ever been part of an experience where an entire stadium full of people hold their breath? Or have you ever been a part of a community that shares a common goal: hating Seattle? I have, and if you answer no to any of these questions, then there is a chance for you to join our community: the Timbers Army (TA).

 

Located in the north end of the stadium, sections 101-108 and 201-208, the rowdiest set of fans can be found. Like myself, they are very passionate about their team. We speak a common language and that language is soccer. Many of my American friends would argue that soccer is “just a game,” but to me and everyone else in the TA, it is much more than that. This is about heroes and tribes, loyalty and devotion. It’s our battle and belief, our commitment and passion – this is our faith.

“P-T! (clap, clap!) F-C! (clap, clap), P-T! (clap, clap!) F-C! (clap, clap)…”

Chanting with fellow supporters for the full 90 minutes of the game, I can feel the energetic fire in the atmosphere (fittingly timber burns at 600 degrees Fahrenheit). This combustion cannot be quenched by any other team; once it begins to blaze, all hell breaks loose! We are the best fans around, hands down. TA tickets cost anywhere between $25- $100, depending on how early they are purchased before games. I always try to get my tickets two weeks in advance to avoid the rising prices, so I would suggest you should!

Adding excitement in the venue, there is my favorite, rugged Timber Joey – the Portland Timber’s beloved mascot. After every Portland goal, his chainsaw buzzes to the ear of patrons as he slices off slabs from the log behind the goal at the north end of the stadium. A slice is cut for each respective goal-scorer and awarded to them as souvenirs. Sometimes I wish he would give me a chance to play with such a dangerous machine. With a beard like that of a ginger-Chewbacca, only Nat Boucher, the recently acquired Timbers center back, comes close to giving Timber Joey a challenge for the meanest beard around. Boucher joined the team from Real Salt Lake prior to the start of this season. The main difference between Timber Joey’s and Nat Boucher’s beard is the sawdust that infests the mascot’s from all that logging.

When I go to a game, my eyes are drawn to Argentine midfielder Diego Valeri because of his quick feet and skill-oriented style of play. He is arguably one of the best players in the MLS. Most of all, I admire his high work rate on the field and how clinical he is at scoring crucial goals for his team. In 2013, he was a runner-up for the MLS MVP title. However, my favorite player would have to be the pacey Darlington Nagbe. His dribbling technique resembles that of the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, with similar effectiveness. I have one word to describe Nagbe: magisterial. I could talk about several other players who have made a significant impact on the Portland Timbers team. For instance, the fearsome goal-scoring machine Fernando Adi – a player I constantly compare myself to because I believe our playing styles are similar [yes I am a former collegiate player] – , Will Johnson the skipper [captain], Diego Chara and the list continues.

 

These awe-inspiring personalities. along with the die-hard fans who bleed green and white. are what makes this club so prominent. The Portland Timbers have been around since 1975 as an expansion club in the original North American Soccer League (NASL). In 2011, they were promoted to top-flight soccer in the MLS and have been impressing supporters with beautiful soccer ever since. Chanting “Rose City ‘til I die” along with fellow supporters is what makes the team so special to me. To some the Portland Timbers represent a soccer franchise, but to me, this is where home is.