These days supporters keeping us all informed about the rivalry between Seattle, Portland and Vancouver are doing a pretty nice job. Of course, they have the media push that comes from being in MLS that we didn’t when the cup was founded back in 2004.
by David Falk
Looking back at my involvement with getting the Cascadia Cup off the ground, it seems now like longer than eight years ago. So much has changed in our regional soccer landscape. The Sounders, Timbers and Whitecaps are all in Major League Soccer now, drawing 5-digit crowds and big TV ratings.
In 2004 the Sounders were in their second season playing at the then-called “Qwest Field,” drawing very little attention and crowds of around 3,000. The early version of the Emerald City Supporters worked with the Timbers Army and Vancouver Southsiders to raise enough money to buy a trophy from Italy and have a plaque made for the base of it. Then the cup went on a tour of the cities, debuting before the fans of each team at their first home cup match.
The Seattle Sounders went to the USL finals in both 2004 (loss at Montreal) and 2005 (Championship win over Richmond), but it was the Vancouver Whitecaps who took the first two Cascadia Cups. It only seems fair then that in 2006 when the Sounders failed to repeat as USL Champions that they would take their first Cascadia Cup while the Whitecaps—you guessed it—switched places and won the league.
Seattle Supporters bussed it up to Vancouver and claimed the trophy near the end of the season. The Southsiders and Emerald City Supporters met for a peaceful hand-off of the cup.
I have to admit I sort of have an out of body experience these days when I see all three clubs promote this derby cup, along with MLS, ESPN and local and national media. There was a time when the clubs didn’t “get” what we were trying to do. I still remember the battle to get the Sounders to print the words “Cascadia Cup Match” above tickets to Qwest Field. They did do it for us one year, anyway. Now the cup is another part of local tradition. The clubs are all “up,” and I am no longer actively involved with any of the organized supporters groups.
A lot of things have changed in just a few years, but that is good. There was a lot of catching up to do to get us all back to the spirit of the North American Soccer League days. Who could have known then that we’d surpass those old days by leaps and bounds, just a little more than a decade after the cup was launched?