My name’s Anders and I’m an Englishman who’s decided to follow an MLS team. By day, I’m a Newcastle United fan, a career in itself. By night, I browse Reddit, read up on World Football and listen to far too many related podcasts. Maybe I’m just seeking some Club Football respite whilst Euro 2012 kicks into gear. Don’t get me wrong, I love International Tournament football (qualifiers, not so much)… but its Club Football that gets me going.
To be frank, I’m not sure why I’ve decided to embark on this journey. I’ve had a few one night stands with US Sports. I played Basketball as a kid, but I think it was my Michael Jordan shorts that I really fancied. And who didn’t love Space Jam? A childhood heirloom was recently found and presented to me by my Brothers at my wedding. It’s a Miami Dolphins jersey that my Uncle bought for me. Maybe I was just too young to transplant my heart from a game that actually uses your foot, to one that sparingly does. I more recently attempted to sow a love of Baseball after visiting Shea Stadium. Unfortunately, whilst I enjoyed the game-day experience, the flower didn’t blossom. Suffice to say, most of my life, I’ve been aching to find an American Sport I could relate to.
One thing that’s entrenched in my youth and upbringing, is an American influence. From Back to the Future, to McDonald’s, to Bruce Springsteen, to Saved by the Bell, to Converse, to Fender, to Disney… believe me, I often feel more influenced by America than I do my own country. However, there’s one influence that’s affected me more than anything. Football. Football’s in my blood, it’s my sport; it’s something very dear to me. I’ve pretty much based 95% of my friendships on it – watching and playing the beautiful game. In fact, it’s part of the reason me, my Father and Brothers are so close and have absolutely anything to talk about. We live in different areas of the country, and mainly reconvene at our Mecca, St. James’ Park, Newcastle.
Maybe the romantic notion I’ve attached to Football was my barrier to entry towards the MLS. In the past, I have certainly scoffed at the mere mention of those 3 letters – MLS. Maybe it’s the Americanisms entrenched in your commentary, the relatively confusing league structure (Conferences!? Wage caps?! Centralised League?!), the gulf in quality compared to our game, or the imported, veteran players deemed not good enough to play in the English Premier League. For someone who by birthright is entitled to support an English Premier League team, I have no business affiliating myself with Major League Soccer. I thought that, I believed that. Until I found the Portland Timbers.
I could take a day and tell you about the research I took before I chose to apply for citizenship of the No Pity City. I asked Reddit, and spoke to some passionate fans (KaiserMessa in particular). The only reason I needed though, was the Timber Army. I don’t want to sound conceited, I don’t feel a part of it yet. But I want to. This video was that 80’s Teen-flick moment where the geeky kid looks across the schoolyard at the hot, older girl. In one slow-motion scene, the whole of Portland let down their silky hair (or maybe beard) whilst my jaw dropped to the floor. The soundtrack is so befitting. Portland… I’m in love. #RCTID.