By Evan Ream

From left to right: Doug Jotzke, Raphael and USMNT super-fan Tanya Keith. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

MLS Road Trip met up with USMNT super-fan Tanya Keith, her husband Doug Jotzke and their five-year-old son Raphael at O’Donovan’s in Chicago (our plans to go to the Globe fell through) to watch Spain play France in Euro 2012. During the game, she recounted a story that was too good to not share.

Doug, who was a US Soccer referee for ten years, forgot to block the day of his available games for their tenth wedding anniversary in 2005. On their anniversary, Doug was scheduled to ref a Portland Timbers game — they live in Iowa.

They decided to make a weekend out of it, so Tanya went to the game and sat with the Timbers Army, the supporters group for the then-minor league Portland Timbers.

Tanya told me that some Timbers Army members asked her what she was doing at the game in their section. She told them that the man in yellow on the field was her husband. Doug interjected, telling me that he wasn’t wearing yellow, rather, he was wearing blue. He remembers because Tanya led the Timbers Army in a “blue bastard” chant towards her husband. Tanya responded by saying “if you don’t block your tenth wedding anniversary, then you are a blue bastard.”

Soccer and family: two things that go hand in hand.

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Posted: June 23, 2012 in chicago, evan ream, super-fan
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By Jake Coburn

CenturyLink Field, the home of the Seattle Sounders. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

As we walked towards Fuel Bar to meet up with the co-president of Emerald City Supporters (ECS), we looked around to see the city full of Sounders FC jerseys as people prepared for the game against Sporting Kansas City.

The Seattle Sounders have one of the largest followings in Major League Soccer (MLS), and this is evident within their supporters groups. The biggest supporters group for the Sounders is the ECS, which was founded in 2005.

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By Evan Ream

Civ the Gorilla in all his glory. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

Only in Seattle, can a grown man dressed up in a Gorilla suit hug you upon introduction in the middle of an Irish pub, tell you that he “pretty much exists on sexiness alone” and not seem out of place. Civ the Gorilla can be found pre-game at Fado in downtown Seattle talking, laughing, and scaring MLS Road Trip journalists from behind while they’re trying to take notes. Gorilla FC is a group so obscure with a name so obscure that their official website doesn’t even explain why they’re actually called “Gorilla FC.”

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By Evan Ream

MLS Road Trip crew and friends with Golazo employees. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

It is impossible to be a soccer fan in the Pacific Northwest and not know what Golazo Energy is. Golazo, which means “beautiful goal” in Spanish is the self-proclaimed, “passion brand for soccer,” a two-year-old company that makes and distributes all-natural energy and hydration drinks in the Cascadia region.
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By Jake Coburn

Seattle on a rare sunny day. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

While covering the fan support in Seattle, the team took some time to check out the city, which landed them in the middle of Pike Place Public Market located right off the Elliott Bay waterfront.

Pike Place Public Market in downtown Seattle. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

After a quick walk through the market, the crew stopped to eat at a small restaurant nearby called Pike Place Bar and Grill. After a few laughs, some beer and a rather large amount of Belgian Waffles consumed by one member, the team returned to Pike Place to see one of the more famous attractions in the market: the tossing of a fish.

As the team stood in front of the fish market waiting for someone to purchase a fish, we were surrounded by people hoping to see the same thing. A small group began to chant, “Throw that fish, throw that fish,” as one of the workers jokingly responded, “Be quiet!” as he walked by laughing.

After a few minutes of standing around, a customer finally purchased a fish and the moment everyone had been waiting for was about to happen. Little kids pushed their way to the front hoping to get a glimpse of the action.

The worker took his position on the other side of the counter holding the three-foot long halibut, ready to toss it. After a perfect throw and catch, the spectators let out a cheer as the noise level of the market rose. The workers continued with their job along with the MLS Road Trip crew, as they left for their next destination: Golazo Energy.

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By Jake Coburn

Jeld-Wen Field, the home of the Portland Timbers, hosted MLS Road Trip for a private tour. Jake Coburn/mlsroadtrip.com

As the crew headed north to our next stop in Seattle, part of the team branched off to spend a few hours in Portland to check out the Timbers stadium, Jeld-Wen Field.While looking over the field at Jeld-Wen, you could feel the presence of the fans and the support this city has for its football club despite the stadium being completely deserted.

The crew continued to walk around the field enjoying the experience of seeing where one of the loudest supporters groups sits. Dark clouds began to cover the stadium; the rain started to fall like a typical Portland afternoon.

The stands where some of MLS’s loudest fans live. Jake Coburn/mlsroadtrip.com

As the sound of the rain hitting the empty seats continued, the team headed out to leave for Seattle after a quick stop at the team store located just inside of Jeld-Wen. According to a Timbers employee, the Timbers are rumored to get another new third kit along with their new kits next year.A special thanks to Timbers FC for letting the MLS Road Trip crew hang you with in Jeld-Wen. (Saw Danny Mwanga!)

Editor’s note: Don’t worry, Portland. MLS Road Trip will be back later this summer. The whole team will be attending the Aug. 5 match between the Timbers and FC Dallas.

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By Evan Ream

The Davis Graduate is the prime spot to watch big-time soccer matches, such as Euro 2012, in Davis, Calif. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

Between our games in Los Angeles and our upcoming game in Seattle, MLS Road Trip stopped in my hometown: Davis, Calif.

We watched the Euro 2012 games at the Davis Graduate, one of the sports bars that was made famous by this video of fans reacting to Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria (seen at 2:08 and 4:40).

Even though I moved to Oregon, “The Grad” is still my favorite place to watch a game; I have yet to come across a bar in Northern California that is more accommodating to soccer fans.

Soccer & Lifestyle is the only place to buy professional soccer gear in Davis, Calif. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

After the game, we visited Soccer & Lifestyle, the only shop in Davis devoted exclusively to selling soccer gear. Ever since Davis’ own Jalil Anibaba turned pro, Soccer & Lifestyle has been selling a large number of Chicago Fire jerseys.

If you are ever in Davis, I recommend checking out both of these places. Join us tomorrow as Jake recaps his stadium tour of JELD-WEN Field.

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By Evan Ream

The Angel City Brigade cheers on their Galaxy. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

Sometimes, things don’t turn out as you plan them. Sometimes, people go above and beyond to help others out of the kindness of their hearts. Yesterday, we experienced both.

The plan was to for me to go to the Angel City Brigade tailgate and sit with them during the game. At the same time, Jake Coburn was going to go to the Timbers Army tailgate then sit with them during the game.

We arrived about an hour and a half before game time to find that the Timbers Army were not situated in Lot 11 at the Home Depot Center as we had thought they were going to be. Instead, they were having a joint tailgate with the Angel City Brigade. Perfect.

I found Jason “Pox” Crosson, one of ACB’s capos. For the Angel City Brigade, support is about city first, club second. “I hate Chivas from the bottom of my heart but we want to bring a supporters’ culture to L.A.” Crosson said. Read the rest of this entry »

By Evan Ream

Black Army 1850 Drummer John Sandate giving Evan a scarf. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

I received a call yesterday from John Sandate, one of the drummers I mentioned and the co-host of “What the Flock” podcast. John called me because he wanted to give me a Black Army scarf. We met up shortly before the L.A. Galaxy/Portland Timbers game yesterday in a 7/11 parking lot next to the stadium. John opened his trunk and had a scarf for not only me, but for our photographer Dan as well. While we were leaving to go to the game, a panhandler on a bike came up to John, who had just gotten into his white 2008 Honda Accord EX-L. John got out and handed the man some money. Black Army 1850: class acts all around.

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By Evan Ream

Black Army 1850 during the game, waving a rainbow-colored flag to promote it accepts any fan to join their ranks.

Black Army 1850 during the game, waving a rainbow-colored flag to promote that it accepts any fan to join their ranks. Dan Perlea/mlsroadtrip.com

To the tune of Yankee Doodle:

“Come on Chivas score a goal it’s really fucking simple,

Put the ball into the net and we’ll go fucking mental!

Dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah…”

Unfortunately, Chivas USA did not do this Saturday. But it was not because of a lack of support from Black Army 1850.

“We’re like the three stooges of supporters groups,” said John Sandate, Black Army drummer extraordinaire and co-host of the Chivas USA-themed podcast “What the Flock,” which is “serious about not being serious.”

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