|Location||Portland, Oregon Membership = 5,000+|
The Timbers Army is an independent supporters group of Portland Timbers, a soccer club in Major League Soccer —the top tier of the United States soccer pyramid. Its members are known for their loud, enthusiastic support and the raucous atmosphere they create at Timbers games. Centered in section 107 of Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, the Army has grown steadily over the years to encompass much of the north end of the stadium.
The Timbers Army was founded in 2001 as the Cascade Rangers,a reference to the Cascade Range of mountains in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The group began with a group of eight people who decided to step up their support, and began congregating in section 107 (erroneously labeled on the stadium diagram to be behind the north goal) of the stadium then known as PGE Park to create a European-style rooting section for the club, complete with drumming, flags, scarves, smoke bombs and constant chanting and cheering. By 2002, the group had changed its name to the Timbers Army in order to lose any perception of partiality toward Scottish football club Rangers and because the Timbers uniforms at the time resembled those of Rangers rival Celtic. (although this perception has since changed).
As noted in a feature story on the front page of The Oregonian's Sports section in 2004,the Army had grown from a small group of dedicated fans to approximately 200 passionate supporters. By 2005, when the Army was the subject of a cover story by Willamette Week , its game day support was estimated at over 1,000.
In 2008, the group's lobbying was credited with helping to convince the Portland City Council to approve a deal to bring Major League Soccer to Portland in 2011.The Timbers Army were named the fifth most influential Oregon sports figure in 2010 by The Oregonian, two spots ahead of Timbers owner Merritt Paulson. In the piece, sports columnist John Canzano said of the Army:
Drumming, chanting, scarf-wearing soccer supporters transformed overnight from a band of PGE Park rowdies to an effective and influential political organization. Their political clout ends up greasing the wheels on the effort to bring Major League Soccer to Portland.
The supporters group gained national exposure in 2009 when they were featured in a two-page photo spread in the July 13–20 issue of Sports Illustrated which showed Army members celebrating after the Timbers scored against Seattle Sounders FC of MLS in the third round of the 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a game they lost 2–1. A tifo created by the Timbers Army for that game was in 2011 named one of the five best tifos in MLS history —it featured a giant Timber Jim chainsawing down Seattle's Space Needle—despite the Timbers having played in the USL at the time.
The Timbers Army has a strong history and culture of vocal support.The Timbers Army have utilized chants from all over the world (ex. "Guinness Boys", "Korobeiniki"), as well as having drums and trumpets to add to the noise in addition to the inclusion of pogoing, scarf waving, and dancing to add to the effect of various chants. Timbers Army traditions are to sing the song "Portland Boys" immediately after kickoff, "Rose City 'Til I Die" when a goal is scored against the Timbers, "You Are My Sunshine" in the 80th minute, and "Can't Help Falling In Love" in the 85th minute. Various other chants are drawn from Russian, Greek, Latin American, Italian, and Arabian origins, speaking to the diversity of the section.
The group engages in a number of charitable activities, including volunteering for the Portland-based nonprofit Friends of Treesand raising money for a trust fund established for Keiana Serrill, the granddaughter of Timber Jim, the team's lumberjack mascot. Timber Jim's daughter, Hannah, was killed in an automobile accident in 2004, and in her memory, the TA has made a tradition of singing "You Are My Sunshine." Timber Jim retired in 2008, but the tradition is carried on by Jim's successor, "Timber Joey."
In 2010, the Timbers Army established 107 Independent Supporters Trust, or 107ist, in order to plan tifo, bus trips to away matches, and charitable work.
In 2019, the Timbers Army made national news as they clashed with the MLS front office over the use of the Iron Front symbol on flags flown by Timbers supporters. MLS banned the anti-fascist symbol along with far-right regalia in a blanket ban of "political signage", which the Army contested, arguing in a statement that opposition to fascism, racism, and sexism was not political.A protracted public battle between the Army and MLS brass occurred, culminating in a protest during the August game against Seattle where the TA deliberately stayed silent for the first 33 minutes of the nationally-televised clash to commemorate 1933, the year that the Iron Front was disbanded in Nazi Germany.
After the protests by the Timbers Army gained media exposure, Major League Soccer officials announced they would meet with the Army and other supporter groups around the league. A month later, on September 24, 2019, the league announced it would be reversing the policy that prohibited the Iron Front, allowing Timbers supporters to use the symbol again.This was a rare instance in American sports (and one of the first in MLS) that a supporter group had directly taken on the league with an organized response and forced a change in policy.
After the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protests swelled nationwide and with national attention on Portland, the Army released a statement re-upping their support for marginalized people of color and protestors. Included in the official release, the supporter group stated that they "strongly oppose the systems of racism and injustice that have caused so many black deaths in our country and our communities. [We] continue to mourn the loss of black lives at the hands of police and others", as well as a general call for direct action.
The Army adopted a 1995 Chevrolet P30 van nicknamed the "No Pity Van" in 2010 that sells merchandise outside of Providence Park on gamedays.During the George Floyd protests, the No Pity Van had been active in providing water and medical supplies to protestors in downtown Portland. On the night of August 13, 2020, Portland Police Bureau officers slashed all four tires of the van despite the driver complying with police orders to vacate the area. This was the second instance of police vandalism to the van, after a federal officer fired munitions at the van on July 25, damaging the windshield.
In response, the Army released a statement saying they had not only repaired the van but pledged to double down on their support of the protests. The next night, the van was back out on the streets providing aid.
In an October 2021 report published by The Athletic , former Thorns coach Paul Riley was accused of sexual coercion and abusive behavior by two former Thorns players.The resulting fallout caused fissures in the fanbases of both the Thorns and Timbers, with many supporters calling for the removal of Gavin Wilkinson as GM. Owner Merritt Paulson released a statement shortly afterward stating that Wilkinson would no longer oversee Thorns decisions as an investigation commenced.
Through 2022, fan discontent continued; the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters met with ownership at the start of their respective seasons.The Timbers, one of MLS' attendance leaders and once owners of a lengthy season-ticket waitlist, only managed five sellouts through the regular season, thought to be at least in part due to the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but also anger from the NWSL scandal.
On October 3, 2022, an official report was released,particularly highlighting reported inaction by Paulson and Wilkinson as well as sexually inappropriate comments made by Thorns/Timbers president Mike Golub toward former Thorns coach and now-current United States Soccer Federation president Cindy Parlow Cone. On October 4, 2022, the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters formally demanded Wilkinson and Golub leave the club, and Paulson sell. Paulson released a statement declaring the three men would recuse themselves from Thorns duties, without mentioning the Timbers. On October 5, 2022, Wilkinson and Golub were fired from the club.
The Timbers Army is composed of several different subgroups. These subgroups are unique in their own fashion and consist of many different personalities. However, all subgroups fall under the Timbers Army umbrella. Many of the subgroups produce their own special apparel and other items while the proceeds go directly back to Timbers Army causes. Unlike many teams in Major League Soccer, the Timbers Army is the only recognized independent supporters group of the Portland Timbers, while many other clubs have several supporters groups. The subgroups of the Timbers Army rival the size of many other supporters groups in MLS.
The Timbers Army fields seven affiliated supporters teams that play in the Greater Portland Soccer District, a Portland area adult soccer league. All teams play a Spring and Fall season as well as participating in the Clive Charles Memorial North End Cup. This tournament is a point based competition between all teams with the winner going on to represent the Timbers Army against a Seattle Sounders FC Emerald City Supporters team in a supporters Cascadian Champions League. All players are required to be 107ist members, as well as each team performing service related to Timbers Army causes.
Timbers Army Affiliate Teams
The 107 Independent Supporters Trustis a member-based non-profit organization open to anyone who loves soccer. It serves to coordinate the activities of the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters. In addition to supporting the Timbers, the 107ists conduct a variety of community projects including free CPR training in English and Spanish, they manage a library of soccer books, support the Gisele Currier Scholarship Fund, build youth soccer fields and more.
The Rose City Riveters is the supporters group of Portland Thorns FC, Portland's National Women's Soccer League club.
Providence Park is an outdoor soccer venue located in the Goose Hollow neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. It has existed in rudimentary form since 1893, and as a complete stadium since 1926. Providence Park is currently the oldest facility to be configured as a soccer-specific stadium for use by a MLS team, and is one of the most historic grounds used by any United States professional soccer team.
Gavin Wilkinson is a former New Zealand footballer who served as general manager and President of Soccer for the Portland Timbers from 2009 to 2022.
The Cascadia Cup is the name of the trophy created in 2004 by supporters of the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, and Vancouver Whitecaps, which is awarded each season to the best soccer team in the Pacific Northwest. The cup is named for the Cascadia region. The Timbers, Sounders, and Whitecaps have roots dating to the days of the original North American Soccer League. It was first contested in 2004, and was claimed by the Whitecaps. In 2011 the competition continued with the now Major League Soccer (MLS) sides Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
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Henry Merritt Paulson III is an American businessman who is the minority owner of Peregrine Sports, LLC, which owns the operating rights to the Portland Timbers, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team, and the Portland Thorns FC, a National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team, both based in Portland, Oregon.
The Portland Timbers–Seattle Sounders rivalry is a soccer rivalry between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC, both based in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The rivalry originated in the North American Soccer League of the 1970s, with both cities reviving expansion teams, and has carried into lower-level leagues, including the A-League and USL First Division. The rivalry moved to Major League Soccer, the top division of soccer in the United States, in 2011, where it has grown into one of the largest in American soccer.
The Portland Timbers are an American professional men's soccer club based in Portland, Oregon. The Timbers compete in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member club of the league's Western Conference. The Timbers have played their home games at Providence Park since 2011, when the team began play as an expansion team in the league.
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The Portland Thorns FC is an American professional women's soccer team based in Portland, Oregon. Established in 2012, the team began play in 2013 in the then-eight-team National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), which receives support from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). The Portland franchise is owned by Peregrine Sports LLC, which also owns the Portland Timbers. Alongside the Thorns, the Houston Dash and Orlando Pride are other NWSL teams with Major League Soccer affiliations.
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