In a coincidence of timing, the Seahawks will be wearing Action Green jerseys on Thursday night, but we’ll call them Rave Green, an unintended tribute to their CenturyLink brethren on an MLS Championship. (In fact, the endzones will be painted bright green as well…)
And that’s appropriate, given the incredible accomplishment by the Sounders FC.
Of the six professional sports league championships in Seattle’s history, this will go down as the most unlikely. The most unexpected. And for the passionate supporters who made the trek to Toronto, who filled the local bars in Seattle, and who give their full 90 every match at CenturyLink Field, the most gratifying as well.
“I think the relationship between the fans and players is what makes this club so special. And so I’m happy for them,” Schmetzer said after the match.
No one understands that better than Schmetzer. And whether you’re a soccer die-hard, a casual fan, or don’t want anything to do with the sport, there’s no avoiding that this team – this franchise, and everything it represents – is part of the fabric of Seattle. The last eight years established that. This championship sets it in stone.
And because sports is ultimately about the stories of those we cover, consider Schmetzer, the Nathan Hale alum whose ties to the Sounders go back 26 years when he played for the NASL version of the team. From player... to assistant coach... to an interim coach placed in an almost unwinnable situation... to the full-time head coach of the Major League Soccer champions in his hometown? Find me a better story than that.
Or find me a better retirement gift for Zach Scott, a lifelong Sounder who devoted 15 years to this city – from the USL to the MLS – clearly never for the money but for the love of the game – and a commitment to one team. “Mr. Sounder” is now a champion as well.
And then there’s co-owner Adrian Hanauer, whose vision to bring the MLS to Seattle and whose commitment to this franchise is unmatched. You won’t find a man more emotionally invested in one team – in one direction – that carries the same feelings as the most passionate supporter.
Add the homegrown player and Mercer Island-native, Jordan Morris, the MLS Rookie of the Year, to that list and it’s perfectly clear: This championship was so undeniably Seattle.
Just like you don’t have to like rain or grunge music or coffee or Suburus or IPA Beer or flannel to accept them as Seattle staples, you don’t have to like soccer to appreciate this team or their championship moment. To acknowledge their unanticipated run from last to first, and to welcome what an MLS Cup means to not just their supporters, but to this city as a whole.
So when you watch that parade on Tuesday afternoon, keep that in mind. Keep in mind what that championship means to the players, the coaches, and their rabid supporters.
But also keep in mind what a proud moment it is for this city as a whole.