David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Qwest Field: In search of a soccer identity

On March 19 a national TV audience on ESPN 2 will peek in on Sounders FC's debut when Seattle hosts the New York Red Bulls at 6:00 PM local time at Qwest Field.

As much as we have been anticipating the new club we've also been anticipating that first home match as a way of beginning to see what kind of crowd our ticket holders will be. In the end it is up to us to make Qwest Field a 'soccer stadium.' In the end it will be the fans who will be remembered and critiqued as much as the players.

So, to paraphrase the famous chant, "Who are WE?"

We've been building to this day for years. So has Qwest Field. Originally designed and sold as a "Football / Soccer" stadium, Qwest Field will finally enter the national sports spotlight in its true 'soccer' form. There will be european-styled 'box net' goals. There will be soccer-specific lines on a pristine green Field Turf pitch. There will be nearly as many Sounders FC banners and flags on the concourse as there are Seahawks ones. There will be 27,000 fans in the stands.

Those 27,000 fans were assured this last week when the home opener sold out before tickets could even go on sale to the general public. In-house the Sounders offered extra tickets to season 'members,' who grabbed up that offering for family and friends. Sounders ticket sales have been creating buzz in recent days.

21,000 and counting full season members will enter Qwest Field on March 19 using a specially-designed club scarf with their ticket attached to it. They will be encouraged to hold those scarves high for the TV cameras as a declaration of the arrival of Sounders FC and of Qwest Field as an 'intimate soccer facility.'

Right now the upper deck seats at Qwest are being covered with giant tarps. One side will be rave green with soccer player outlines, the other side blue.

Below in the lower deck where the fans will hold sway, only one section promises a growing identity in advance.

The Emerald City Supporters have grown their numbers to over 400 and will stand in the south end with their other general admission brothers and sisters. This is the end expected to generate the most noise, color and passion.

In generally the same area and looking for a cohesive working arrangement with supporters will be the Sound Wave, Sounders FC's marching band.

Opposite to them in the north (that's where I'll be) fans will hang out almost over the goal on the cool 'porch' seats beneath the Hawk's nest. They'll have the closest look at the Sounders defense and also the opposing goalkeeper.

Along the sidelines are the largest number of fans, nearly 20,000 strong. No one is sure yet how this largest segment of Sounders fandom will react on match days. Will some stand? Will there be flags? Color? Will they join in with the ECS on chants?

Opening night March 19 should be a sea of rave green and scarves. Qwest Field should look its very best. The talk should all be of Seattle, soccer and our new club.

The very next day Major League Soccer followers from around the country will start having their say: Are Seattle's crowds going to put Qwest Field on the world soccer map?

Will Qwest Field and the public address announcer(s) strike just the right chord of giving information but letting the fans create the atmosphere? If they do, are the fans going to unite and do so?

Qwest Field is in search of its own identity as a true soccer venue. Seattle's soccer fans will be the deciding factor on whether that search eventually ends in success.

Talk about Sounders match day in our special forum for this topic.


  1. I have not heard anywhere else that the whole 27,000 seats have been sold. Only that single season seats go on sale Monday. Where did you hear this?

  2. From a friend with season tickets who (on Friday) tried to get 2 more for the opener."Only scattered singles remain, and those will be gone later today" said the FO.

    So, if you want *one* ticket, you might get it. More than one next to each other: nope.

    Unless they were just talking general admission...

  3. 400 supporters wow. I'm impressed by the turn out for season tickets but I'm an S.O.B. and we have close to 3500 and a year to go. Time to expand that group. Will be watching Seattle.

  4. I was upset when Seattle got a team before St. Louis, but I realize now that the city really deserves it. Sounders fans, your support is impressive. Keep it up!

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