Vancouver Southsiders Elect New President and Vice President

Vancouver –  Last night the newly elected Southsiders Board of Directors voted in Brett Graham to serve as the Southsiders President effective immediately.  Brett Bird was elected Southsiders Vice President.

Brett Graham has been a Southsider since the Swangard days in 2004.  He has served on the Southsiders Board of Directors for all three previous years and has been Vice-President for the last two terms.  On Saturday he was elected to the 2013 Board of Directors as the Director of External Communications.

Brett Bird was last years Southsiders Ombudsman and was extremely involved with the Southsiders Charitable Causes Committee (CCC) .  He organized much of that group’s 2012 fundraising efforts on behalf of the Vancouver Street Soccer League (VSSL), an organization providing healthy recreation opportunities for vulnerable residents of downtown Vancouver and neighbouring communities facing issues like homelessness, poverty and substance abuse. Bird was elected to the position of Director of Stadium Operations on Saturday at the Southsiders AGM.

In another vote the Southsiders Board of Directors appointed Brett Graham and Brett Bird as Delegates to the Independent Supporters Council of the United States and Canada (ISC). They will both travel to Kansas City next month for the ISC AGM where they will meet with other supporter leadership groups and league officials.

Both the Southsiders Charitable Causes Committee and Athletic Recreation were approved for another year. In addition a new committee was created. The Southsiders Information Technology Committee will be headed by Southsiders Secretary, Peter Czimmermann, and will be tasked with improving the technical aspects of the group’s website, membership database and store.

For more information, please contact External Communications director Brett Graham (details below).

The Southsiders is a supporters group for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Its members, The Southsiders, stand, sing and above all else support the players on the field.

The Vancouver Southsiders hold firm in their belief that when it comes to football, their city and their nation are out of step with the rest of the world. They refuse to conform to Vancouver’s inherently quiet and reserved nature. They are fierce in their support for their football club, and they shall fearlessly lead newcomers by example. They will welcome all who wish to join them, and they will extend to them the same friendship and camaraderie that has been the foundation of this organization from its humble beginnings. The Southsiders are not to be confused with Ultras or hooligans, as they are vehemently against violence and racism.

ISC – The Independent Supporters Council of the United States and Canada was founded in 2009 to advocate for the fair treatment of home and away supporters, promote supporter culture, and oppose racism and bias in the stadium. Its members now include twenty-nine Supporter Groups from MLS, NASL, USL-Pro and PDL clubs.


Contact: Brett Graham
Phone: 604.379.0437

Vancouver Southsiders AGM and Election Results

VANCOUVER – The city’s loudest and proudest sports fans have elected new leadership to oversee their affairs for Major League Soccer’s 2013 season.

Founded in 1999, the Vancouver Southsiders are Canada’s oldest and largest supporters club, boasting just shy of 1,100 members. Members held their annual general meeting at The Cellar nightclub on December 1, electing the following individuals to lead the way in the new year:

* Club Secretary – Peter Czimmermann;
* Treasurer – Kris Hetherington;
* Director of Away Travel – Rebecca Contant;
* Director of External Communication – Brett Graham;
* Director of Internal Communication – Paul Sabourin-Hertzog;
* Director of Membership & Recruiting – Dan Olson;
* Director of Merchandise – Chris Withers;
* Director of Social Events – Wendy Turnbull;
* Director of Stadium Operation – Brett Bird;
* Ombudsman – Scott Misfeldt.

The Southsiders are believed to be the first supporters group in Canada to elect not just one, but two women to senior leadership positions. The newly-elected board of directors will appoint a president and vice-president by secret ballot at their first meeting of 2013.

Some of the largest applause of the evening followed a report from the Charitable Causes Committee (CCC) on the results of its 2012 fundraising efforts on behalf of the Vancouver Street Soccer League (VSSL), an organization providing healthy recreation opportunities for vulnerable residents of downtown Vancouver and neighbouring communities facing issues like homelessness, poverty and substance abuse.

CCC chairman John Knox announced that the Southsiders, in conjunction with their partners at the Soccer Express sports retail chain, were supplying the VSSL with a sizeable purchasing budget to outfit all nine teams with much-needed training equipment. The CCC also secured more than 200 used uniforms from United FC, ensuring all players in the VSSL have access to jerseys and shorts for games, practice or personal use. Knox also announced that proceeds from a recent silent auction of Whitecaps memorabilia would be used to offset the travel costs incurred by Vancouver athletes who recently traveled to Mexico to represent Canada at the Homeless World Cup.

During the AGM members also approved a proposition amending the group’s bylaws to increase the number of board positions from seven to nine. The change was necessary to address the expansive needs of a rapidly growing membership base, including a strong desire for away travel, Southsiders merchandise, sports recreation programs and social events away from the pitch.

For more information, please contact External Communications director Brett Graham (details below).

The Southsiders is a supporters group for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. It’s members, The Southsiders, stand, sing and above all else support the players on the field.
The Vancouver Southsiders hold firm in their belief that when it comes to football, their city and their nation are out of step with the rest of the world. They refuse to conform to Vancouver’s inherently quiet and reserved nature. They are fierce in their support for their football club, and they shall fearlessly lead newcomers by example. They will welcome all who wish to join them, and they will extend to them the same friendship and camaraderie that has been the foundation of this organization from its humble beginnings. The Southsiders are not to be confused with Ultras or Hooligans, as they are vehemently against violence and racism


Southsiders Survive “The Trip That Never Was”

Vancouver Supporters “Keep Calm & Carry On” In The Face Of Adversity
-by Johnnie Monster, Southsiders co-founder & road trip survivor

A wise green ogre once said, “It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey that counts.”

OK, disclaimer: I have no Idea if Shrek actually said that, but somebody did (it might have been an employee of Air Canada or Canada Post dealing with an irate customer). The point is, these words have never rang as true as they do when speaking of my recent trip with the Southsiders to see the Whitecaps play an away match in Seattle… or should I say, “The Trip That Never Was.”

My day started off bright and early at 4:30 am, or as I like to call it, the crack of “holy crap, why am I doing this?” After pulling myself together with some of Timmy’s finest high-octane, I made my way down to the Skytrain station just in time for the first train out of Surrey towards downtown Vancouver.

Upon arriving at Burrard Station I was met with a wonderful sight that I have come to enjoy so many times before: scores of sleepy looking Southsiders and Whitecaps fans, all decked in scarves and kits, milling about the Hyatt Regency while waiting for the charter bus to roll up. I suppose that warm feeling can best be explained by how a pyromaniac feels when gazing upon a pack of matches – you see what’s in front of you, and you know there’s great potential for an immense amount of fun and mischief.

As I surveyed this particular set of travelers I was struck by how many first-timers we had in our midst. This is always a good thing, because it means the Southsiders are doing a good job with outreach to newcomers. So how can you tell the rookies from the veterans? Easy: The veterans have brought coolers full of ice along for the trip.

A Southsiders bus trip – whether it be to Seattle or to Portland – always includes a quick stop at the Cost Cutters grocery store in Blaine. If Doolin’s is our home pub, Cost Cutters must surely be our official supermarket.

I am always stunned by how inexpensive the snacks and bevvies are, particularly the beers and ciders. This week’s flyer advertises a six pack of Henry Weinhard’s bottles for $5.99. Or, if you lost your tastebuds in a house fire, you can buy and 18-pack of Budweiser for $13.99. That’s right folks, American alcohol is cheaper than Canadian soda pop and bottled water.

It was with great merriment (and a few yawns) that our group set off on our adventure. We always book with Charter Bus Lines, because the service is both affordable and excellent. Our driver Chris greeted us with a knowing smile, for he too is a veteran of the phenomenon that is #CapsOnTour.

Our hosts for this journey were Southsiders VP Brett Graham and Southsiders Club Secretary Peter Czimmermann. Peter got on the microphone and laid out the house rules for the journey:

“Rule #1 – Do not slam the bathroom door or it will lock. Rule #2 – Do not do number two in the bathroom. Rule #3 – Do not use the bathroom!”

It was all mostly in jest, but the fact is NOBODY wants to be stuck on a bus with a smelly washroom. Word to the wise – please do not load up on McDonald’s coffee and breakfast products (I really hesitate to call it “food”) before coming aboard. We thank you in advance.

Within a minute or two we passed by Doolin’s, and a few friendly songs rang out on the bus in praise of their pulled pork poutine and beautiful kilted servers. This is something you will come to love about our trips – there’s as much singing on board our buses as there is at an actual match. Soon we were barreling down Highway 99 towards the Campbell River Store, where we stopped to pick up a few more of our fellow travelers in the parking lot. Next up: the US truck crossing… and the longest border wait I have ever experienced.

The thing with planning these trips is that there is absolutely nothing you can do to work around the border waits. Buses are required to go through a special line, and passengers usually have to disembark for a quick passport check at the US Customs office. Sometimes you luck out, and you’ll be through the border in less than 90 minutes. Our personal best was a trip to Portland where the wait was only five minutes. This, however, was something beyond comprehension: Four and a half fucking hours.

Spirits on board were high for the first hour. That’s when news broke on Twitter about MLS’ incomprehensible decision to suspend Barry Robson on the day of the match. We had loads to bitch about amongst ourselves, and the time passed relatively quickly.

Hour two: Somewhere behind us was the Whitecaps / Uniglobe bus with special host Carl Valentine. Well, he somehow caught wind of the fact we were in the line up in front of him, and he popped on board for some high fives and well wishes. What a class act this guy is – not only is he beloved to many of us as a Whitecaps player, but he really is an authentically wonderful man who is as passionate about his club as we are. Carl remembers the good old days of the NASL, and he knows what a big deal it is for fans making this journey. We serenaded him with a round of “Oh My Darling Valentine,” and he introduced us to George Nanchoff, father of Michael “Nano” Nanchoff. Great stuff. If you ask me, signing Carl as the Whitecaps ambassador was one of the best moves the club could ever have possibly made.

Hour three: We hadn’t moved a freakin’ inch since Carl was aboard. We were starting to get thirsty, and the thought of all that cheap, cold beer waiting for us just a few kilometers away had some of our travelers contemplating the logistics of making some jailhouse wine in the bus bathroom. Stomachs squirmed from hunger. Throats were parched. Two of our travelers actually jumped off our bus to cross the border in another vehicle in the Nexus lane. We were running out of time, with kickoff in Seattle looming ever so closer. This was an emergency, and there had to be a response.

That response was the first ever (and hopefully last ever) Cost Cutters Crisis Expedition Team. Brett and four other brave souls crossed the border on foot and marched to the grocery store in Blaine. Their mission – to shop on behalf of the ENTIRE bus (56 people!) so that when we eventually did make it through the border, we would not incur further delays by stopping for alcoholic “road sodas.”

When the Crisis Team left the bus, we weren’t sure if they were going to be successful in getting over the border on foot or not. About an hour or so passed without word. Would they? Wouldn’t they? Would they end up like a Canadian version of the Donner Party and turn to cannibalism to survive?

To be honest, it was a bit like waiting to see if the Mars Curiosity Rover had landed safely. Finally, a tweet from Brett confirmed our hopes and aspirations:

I shared the news with our bus, and cheers rang out… and as if by some cosmic coincidence, the bus started rolling into the US Customs processing area.

The processing centre was mercifully quick. Most of us were waved through by border guards with a nod. A few needed some extra visa papers sorted out, but nothing too time consuming. Southside drummer Gordie was questioned about some of the band patches on his jean vest. Apparently he rocks too hard for Uncle Sam’s liking.

We were soon back on the bus and rolling… but by this time, it was about 12:00. Kickoff in Seattle was scheduled for 1 pm.

“Lightspeed, Chewie!” yelled one hopelessly optimistic Southsider. Unfortunately, and with all due respect to the good folks at Charter Bus Lines, their buses are rarely equipped with the same kind of horsepower as the Millennium Falcon.

We rolled onward to Blaine, and five minutes later we were reunited with the five heroes from the expedition team:

I’m not kidding, they were waiting at the side of the road with shopping carts brimming with delicious goodness. Our plentiful bounty: 240 beers, 48 ciders and 60 pieces of fried chicken. Total cost: $472.29.

The bus was soon alive with a symphony of carbonated drinks, clinking bottles and ravenous lips smacking down on greasy, crispy chicken. If ever there was a such a thing as a rolling public awareness campaign for diabetes, alcoholism and heart disease, this was surely it.

One of the best exchanges of the day:

Southsider: “Hey I only ordered 12 beers and you gave me 18!”

Brett: “That’s because it was only 50 cents more for the 18!”

God Bless America!

Just when things were starting to look up, the bus we returned to the highway and we found ourselves at the back end of a massive traffic jam with no end in sight. Fawwwk.

This, it would seem, was the final nail in the coffin. Our chances of reaching Seattle on time for kickoff officially died on the I-5 at 12:15 pm Pacific Time, about five hours after our departure from downtown Vancouver.

Our bus hosts led a quick discussion of our options. A vote was held whether to continue onward to Seattle in the hopes of catching the second half of the match in person, or whether to quickly find a pub that would be willing to show the match on TV.

The vote was unanimous: “Fuck Seattle. We’re going to Ferndale.”

Ferndale is just 25 km from the border. Five hours on board, and this was all the distance we could manage. We contacted Bob’s Burgers to inquire if they could host us, and as it turned out, they had a private banquet room with a bar just waiting for us. We filed up the stairs and were soon seated with pitchers a-plenty just in time for kickoff.

And then – disaster struck. Again.

We’d seen the first 15 minutes of the match when one of our travelers was caught drinking store-bought beers at his table inside the restaurant. This is a very serious violation of state liquor laws, and it’s the kind of offence that can cause a restaurant to lose its licenses and permits.

The person in question was asked to leave. The only problem was that the other 55 of us were forced to leave too.

I won’t dwell on this particular incident except to say that this is a perfect example of how one person’s selfishness and stupidity can ruin things for all their travel mates. It takes just one bad apple to royally fuck things up, and the worst place to do that sort of thing is on foreign soil.

Southsiders road trips are awesome good fun, and yes they can be major piss-ups. This however does not give anyone the right to break the law, disrespect their hosts or put the enjoyment and safety of other travelers at risk. The guy did apologize on the bus later, but this was a truly senseless and stupid act that heaped on added misery to a day which was already very difficult. We were all warned several times over by the staff that breaking this particular rule would get us tossed. This person ignored those warnings and screwed us all over in the process. Thanks dude, don’t bother coming back.

As we spilled out into the street, I noticed something new about our travel group. I could see that the looks of disappointment were being replaced by a somewhat dogged and feisty spirit of determination. The whole day had been a complete shit-show to this point, but it was clear to me that this particular group of Whitecaps fans were still ready to fight for their right to party.

We marched a few blocks towards “beautiful, historic downtown Ferndale” and found ourselves at the Main Street Bar and Grill. Imagine it as a cross between Moe’s Tavern from the Simpsons, and… nope, that just about sums it up perfectly.

Lo and behold, not only did they put the match on for us, but they also bestowed upon us many wonderful gifts – namely $2.50 pints and $6.75 pitchers. It was an overtaxed Canadian’s paradise. If the ATM machine had been working, I am quite sure we would have put the bartender’s kids through college at Harvard.

We watched the tail end of the first half, shot some pool, and then sang our hearts out as the Caps got stuffed by the Green Scum in the second half. We sssss-boomed for Joe Cannon, serenaded Seattle’s keeper with “You Fat Bastard” and may have delved into a song about packets of sweets and cheeky smiles a couple of times. The handful of locals sitting at the bar teased us with calls of “Soooounders,” to which we merrily responded with a few rounds of “We love you Ferndale, we do!”

The match result was rotten, but I’m proud to report that the Southside spirit does not know when to lay down and say die. Our bus had gone on without us to Seattle to drop off a few travelers who had made overnight arrangements. By the time the match was over, we had a three hour wait before the bus would be back to retrieve us in Ferndale. The pitchers continued flowing, and great philosophical discussions were had about the EPL’s opening match day and the sorry state of Scottish football. We cheered as Gordie air-guitared to some jukebox Metallica. Our pal “Safety Sarah” donned some Top Gun aviator Ray Bans and led us in a sing-along of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” We drank the place dry and it was awesome.

Our small town invasion did unfortunately result in at least one unforeseen casualty. One fellow slipped on the pavement just up the street from the pub, and he unfortunately suffered a broken nose, chipped teeth and some gnarly road rash on his face. Several of us leapt into action. I rounded up some paper towels and bottled water from local businesses while others tended to his immediate care. We were very fortunate to have a nurse travelling with us, and she did an outstanding job of getting the bleeding under control and assessing the severity of the goose-egg forming on his noggin.

To our fallen comrade, whom we dropped off at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on the way back home, we wish you a speedy recovery.

To Erica, our very own Florence Nightingale, we sincerely thank you for your assistance. We wish you well on your upcoming interview at Surrey Memorial.

To everyone else who helped out, the Southsiders thank you too.

To Canada, we thank you for our health care system.

There’s not much more that can be said about the fateful events of August 18, 2012. Time and time again we were sideswiped by soul-crushing adversity, but we refused to lay down and give up. We pulled together. We took care of each other. We laughed off the horrible result and had the EXCELLENT time we had all hoped to have in Seattle.

It’s not just me who feels that way… here’s a couple of great tweets from my fellow travelers that I came across searching the #CapsOnTour hashtag on Twitter:

@7semiao: As far as I’m concerned I paid $75 cover for a party with the cheapest drinks ever and a Whitecaps game in the middle. Not bad. #CapsOnTour

@scotth26: Downtown #Ferndale experience = success thanks to $6.75 pitchers of beer #godblessamerica. Who needs Seattle when you got that! #CapsOnTour

I think we can all agree that if there was a prevailing theme for the day, it was this:

This is the first time in Southsiders history that one of our buses has ever missed a match. Everyone on board were great sports about it, and together we had an awesome time. By the power of Grayskull, we WILL make it to Portland on Saturday!!!

And if we don’t… J

Follow Johnnie on Twitter at @johnniemonster

[Special thank to all whose photos are featured in this piece.]

A Note On Away Support

Many of us are about to embark on an epic trip across the continent visiting several grounds, and tons more are going to enjoy the 2 remaining Cascadia away games. Please read the following and take it to heart.

When you wear the colours of our team in a different town, you are the face of the Southsiders and of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. 99.9% of the time we will be having a great time and nothing will go wrong, but there is the 0.1% just waiting to happen. Please don’t let that be you.

By all means party, but know your limits. Don’t be the person that gets refused entry or tossed because you can’t stand on your own, or gets hurt by bailing hard in the stands/stairwells. If you see someone in rough shape, help them out or make a point of finding a tour host/director so we might help them.

Most people you meet will be awesome, and understand that away fans are a barometer of the MLS’ success, but you will encounter hostile idiots. Don’t sink to their level! If you can, diffuse the situation. If not, walk away. Please don’t lower yourself and respond in kind and escalate a confrontation. This goes for away fans here as well: they should be considered valued guests. By all means give them a ribbing, but do so in good humour, and always extend hospitality. At the end of the day we want them to go home sad their team lost, but glad they came and enjoyed our city and our friendship.

If that last bit is at all unclear: The Southsiders are not hooligans or Ultras. We do not want to see fear or violence at all, especially if it’s related to football. We stand with our brother and sister supporter groups in solidarity and friendship. We have rivals, not enemies.

At all times consider your personal reputation, and that of the Southsiders, our team and city. Consider your personal safety and that of the rest of your fellow supporters, no matter who they cheer for. Remember that the MLS and many in the various front offices look at us as a powder keg, and while they are loving the atmosphere we bring, they are waiting for the ignition point. Keep in mind that they can and will hamper our ability to enjoy these trips given half a reason. Don’t be the one who supplies that reason.

Know that if you are involved in a situation that casts the Southsiders or Vancouver Supporters and Whitecaps FC in a negative light, there will be repercussions. We will, as a group, co-operate with MLS and its agents, security and law enforcement. You will face sanctions, such as being refused further tour opportunities with the group, or outright expulsion from our ranks. Absolutely no one wants to see this happen, so please, take personal responsibility for keeping our party fun and drama free.

Thank you.
Brett Bird

Don’t be a Bundy – Support Local Soccer

Don’t be a Bundy – Support Local Soccer

By: Slamo

It was late in the second half, mere minutes to go in a 1-1 match; all that was on the line was a trip to the World Cup for Canada. Our keeper snags a weak cross from a Costa Rican winger and switches the field with an underarm tossed to my feet just outside the 18. I head up pitch with the sounds of 40 000 Canadians cheering the squad on. A quick heal touch and spin beats the high defending forward and finds me in space. I push forward unmarked to the mid line before a quick give and go puts me in more space with only the Tico back line between me and glory. Coming down the left side my mind is already made up – the backs are cheating to the runs being made leaving me one on one with the right back. He tries to close me down but the old go to works – a right footed step over and a left footed flick gives me the space I need to curl the ball into the far corner behind the helpless Costa Rican keeper and send Canada to the World Cup.


This was my dream as an 11 year old, as I grew older the dream adapted to something a bit more realistic – a header off a corner or maybe a drive from just outside the box after a nice layoff, but whatever the case it always ended up with me scoring the goal to bring us to the World Cup. Unfortunately the closest I got to this was scoring the winning goal in the District U-17 final against Royals FC – it was a step over and a flick followed by an inside right footed dipping ball that dropped just under the crossbar. My memory won’t let me recall how I got the ball 22 yards from goal but I sure remember striking the ball and looking at the keepers face knowing it was going to find the netting. As a left back I didn’t often get the goal scoring glory.
Anyway, my Al Bundy moment aside, my role in soccer has evolved to supporter and spectator and it is a role I take on with full gusto. For me, I never heard the voice of my Father from the sideline – it just wasn’t that type of supportive family I grew up in. But I remember how much it meant to me when someone else’s Father yelled out my name – or even better one of the guy’s older sister! But again I digress. Now for obvious reasons (at least I hope they are obvious) I can’t take on the role of the older sister but, I am someone else’s Father and if I can play any role in supporting our future generation of not only soccer players but adults I’ll give my all.

Recently on the Southsider’s Forum there was some discussion on what it is to be a supporter and it got me to thinking about this in a general way. A big part of the discussion evolved around the residency team playing at home the same time as the Men’s team on the road and the lack of support the kids receive. Several things cross my mind on this matter not the least of which is how far we have to go to reach any sort of cultural impact soccer has on us as a nation. If the Whitecap Residency team was its hockey counterpart the team would have folded or moved to Hope or something for its lack of support. But, that’s a discussion on soccer versus hockey which can be for another day.

When I go to watch the U18 team play I can’t help but make comparison to my Al Bundy moments – first off; we’ve come a long way in developing soccer players in this country and I look forward to the days when the discussions on player selection for the national team doesn’t revolve around one or two players availability and the steep drop off if said player isn’t available, but instead the discussion around which one of our 5 left backs will have the biggest impact. Not in my fanciest memories do I recall my old youth squad playing at such a skilled level, despite our four District Championships and trips to the USA Cup and the Ontario Cup – “four touchdowns, baby”, and the size and power of the boys is impressive to say the least.

We all watch the news and I am sure it is generation upon generation that says, “the kids of today….” in some sort of “what’s wrong with this generation” tone – it’s just not safe out there anymore. Well, the kids are all right. They’re out there playing the sport I love and doing it better than I ever did and loving it, probably, as much as I do and they are going to grow up and be good men. Some of them will be professional players and most of them not. Some are enjoying the greatest sporting moments of their lives right now and to them I say bravo – no really – I go watch them play and I cheer them on. I know they hear me because they come over and say thanks. Thanks for supporting me. Well, I am grateful and honoured to have the opportunity to be a part of it.


Alex Rowley- U18 Residency Midfielder from Maple Ridge

They’ll go to University or get jobs and many of them will have soccer playing kids and they’ll coach soccer and some of them will remember the games they played when they were 17 and 18 and think how great it was to hear someone yell out good job Ben or Alex or Jason or… and maybe that support will mean more to some than others and maybe the power of positive psychology or the theory of paying it forward or whatever aura one believes in will take hold in one player and that player will become a great person or at least a better person than he will otherwise have been or maybe that player will really give that 115% and become a better player than he would have otherwise been or maybe none of that will happen and I will have just had a good time watching some good soccer and cheering on some great kids.

All I really know is it feels good when someone supports you, whether it’s at work or home or really anywhere in life – doesn’t it feel good, no matter how cool you may be or whatever life you’re leading doesn’t it feel good to have someone say good job or well done? It’s great to give that feeling to someone too – it’s free…I mean it’s really free – the matches are free and it certainly cost you nothing to yell out your support.

Some of the boys are on the verge of professional soccer careers, they have given everything to reach the level they are at like all of the boys but they just have that little something extra, that little flair, that little extra reserve of determination that separates them from the rest of us – physical ability not withstanding of course. Only they themselves know what motivates them, but I am sure cheering them on and letting them know how much we appreciate their effort and hard work, at very least, doesn’t hurt. Maybe Al Bundy really could have been someone if we were there to say “keep it up Al” and let him know how much we support him.

Support can be magic. It can be the difference between failure and success and often is. We see the USA crowds with their high school and University sports and we see greatness come from those fields and we Canadians fail to see a connection between the two or we choose to ignore it or we just don’t care – or we support for ourselves. Yeah, it feels good to support, but support is a selfless act or it fails to be support. We support for others – we are there for them or at least we should be.

Deep in my heart I still dream of that match winning goal only now it’s not me scoring it. But I hope I am there when it happens and I hope that person who scores it knows how much I appreciate the work they’ve put in towards making that goal happen. We tend to be a nation of Peggy’s, why is that? Al is out there giving it his all everyday – let’s cheer him on while there is a chance to make a difference.

I don’t have hard facts or evidence to back up how much support means to performance but I know I appreciate it myself and I am pretty confident that I am just a normal everyday guy who is doing all right – so I’d guess that most people enjoy a little support. So why wait?

Canadians love their heroes, but we tend to wait until they are heroes to love them. Let’s be a little proactive let’s cheer on the heroes of the future and see if we can’t help them become just a little bit better than they would otherwise be. Let’s get that goal – let’s win that match. Support the future generation – support the advancement of our nation – support the evolution of the human race – support local soccer!

Soccer Doors and Whitecaps Sidewalks: We’re Gonna Win

By: Slamo

The thing with the human race is that we tend to notice the spectacular or the inadequate, yet it is usually the banal and mundane that makes life work. A smooth sidewalk is nothing compared to a beautiful west coast sunrise or sunset. Most of us don’t open a door and then take a moment to reflect on the beauty of the mechanics of the door. The hinges that are perfectly aligned, the door knob at just the right height so we can instinctually reach for it and twist it without a thought, the smooth weight distribution that makes for the level swinging of the door, the sturdy frame and on and on it goes – such a marvel of our days that go completely ignored – until the effing thing doesn’t work, yes? Stupid door. Or how about that crack in the sidewalk that causes the stumble. Didn’t notice that sidewalk much the last million stumble free steps, but that last one!!
Early in the first half of the first game of the season against Montreal, I believe “Boundary Road” was still being sung by the Southsiders, a ball was played forward by a Whitecap player from the backline that tried to bypass the midfield and lead to an early attack – I’d think based on the goal a couple of minutes later, that was also a long ball to a forward, that this was actually a planned play which is another marvel in itself – imagine the club coming onto the pitch with a plan in place. Anyway, in this earlier play, the Montreal midfield cut off the forward ball and sent Nyassi on a counter. The back line formed in the half second available, Jun Marques Davidson filled the hole behind the back line,Martin Bonjour positioned himself to force Nyassi to move to his right – and a closing in Jay DeMerit – or to his left foot. Nyassi chose his left foot and rolled a harmless ball into Joe Cannon. My reaction to the original pass was – “oh oh”.

Joe smoothers the ball, Jay takes a deep breath, the back line turns up field as does JMD, but then JMD turns back towards Joe and holds his hands up in a gesture that gives me a great deal of confidence in this team. This was almost a carbon copy of the play against Sporting Kansas City last year at the end of the first half that led to Bad Bunbury’s (as opposed to Alex) goal and in retrospect cemented our season in cracked sidewalks and broken doors. It was exciting for sure the comeback against SKC was a thrill but in a chaotic way the same way a roller coaster is exciting.

The gesture was simple – “that’s over” it said. The sidewalk is smooth and the doors are working we just need to keep taking steps and walking through the openings. No one to blame for shoddy workmanship – it’s just one of those things that happen sometimes. Every once in a while we stumble and we look back at the sidewalk behind us to see nothing…no crack, no sticks or roots – just a simple stumble.

That the Caps attempted a similar play 20 seconds later before finally allowing us a glimpse of the spectacular sunrise with the LeToux goal a minute or so later on, yet another long ball attempt, showed the appreciation they had for a smooth sidewalk and working doors. Sidewalks only get smooth with hard work and a good plan. Doors only work with craftsmanship and look good with artistry. Camilo’s sunset goal was a result of opening the field and laying the sidewalk foundation – the ball stayed on the carpet and space became available because of the mundane, the banal, and the calmness of the squad. The door opened by the smoothness of a handy carpenter and Camilo added the French stained windows with the artistry.

In between, Sunrise and Sunset was all that happens in a day but goes without fanfare. Justin Mapp had a free chance on his strong foot when Gersh got caught ball watching – he sent it high when Bonjour, Rochat and Davidson closed down and pressured him a bit, but look to the right of goal. Dede tracked back to take away the right wing option – even though after the attempt on goal he makes a bit of a gesture obviously wondering how he was the last man back in that situation. He was the last man back.

Bonjour gets turned and Arnaud should have scored – no yelling no pointing – no “what the hell-ing”…Nyassi with another chance – no big deal…YP clears a header off the line. That’s what he is supposed to do. This is how we act when we walk down a smooth sidewalk or walk through an open door – we act like things are the way they are supposed to be.

So a week after first kick we walk on down the road to LA to play an away game against a bad Chivas team. A team made worse by injury and inspired only by the 400 college students who were given free tickets to attend the match – to give their proverbial 110% in a cracking soccer atmosphere with whatever pride a man can muster playing for the “Goats”.

The game was there for the losing, or drawing, from the get go. Wet, tall grass slowed the game and took away any skill advantage the Caps may have had. The previous week’s victory was a perfect opportunity to settle for a sleepy away point and wax poetic on the difficulty of earning away points and the importance of any road result.

Sometimes in life we wake up and we’re sleepy and don’t really feel like going to work or school or wherever we have to go. But, we just start to move and we open doors leaving the bedroom, going to the bathroom, leaving the house, we walk down sidewalks and we end up getting to where we are going despite how we might feel about the day. We complete all our task and the day ends. We develop a confidence that we never consider – the confidence that no matter how sleepy or cranky or however bad you may feel that the doors will work and the sidewalk will be smooth enough to walk on without stumbling and breaking an arm.

The victory was the type of victory a good team earns without obvious effort. It was a good road win. Sure there was some good goal keeping that kept us in the match – but that’s what is supposed to happen. The smoothest sidewalks are made by people with great skill in sidewalk making who go through life uncelebrated. They are just doing their job. The game was by no stretch of perception a pretty game – definitely not a sunrise nor a sunset. But if you take a moment and look you can see the sidewalk was smooth and the doors were working. Everyone did the little thing that needed to be done that no one off the field saw – and that is what builds a winning team’s identity. When each man can look in the other man’s eye and just know.

This is the subtle confidence that makes way for all other greatness to strive. The confidence of a parents love and support allows for a child to reach greatness. Without that base confidence all other confidence is fragile – the confidence of great talent is based only on that talent and strives on the moment previous; for greatness to be truly great – there needs to be the foundational confidence that is shown when a man is proud of being the best sidewalk builder or the best door maker because he knows underneath that he is still great.

A crack will show in a long season and a door will creak. That’s just the way it is. Greatness is a positive reaction to failure. Sort of like winning a game on the road that you didn’t really deserve to win with nothing on the line and no reason to fight. Greatness is the confidence that failure is impossible and victory is inevitable. Confidence is supported by an air that is carried by an individual or group and is understood only by that individual or group and presents itself to outsiders as luck. Luck aids preparation and preparation breeds confidence – we’re going to win a lot of games this season. I just know it.

Show Racism The Red Card

Vancouver – This weekend the Vancouver Southsiders will be joining fellow Independent Supporters Council (ISC) members across the league from the United States and Canada in stance against racism, in recognition of The International Day For the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21).

On March 24, at the Vancouver Whitecaps v DC United match, after the National Anthem, we will raise red cards to show unity against racism and homophobia in soccer around world and here in Canada. We are hoping all Whitecaps supporters and fans will join to recognize this International Day and take a stand against Racism. The Independent Supporters Council are working with all its member groups to ensure that the same Tifo is displayed in stadiums across the entire league.

Prior to kickoff we will be distributing red cards to those in sections 248-254 of BC Place. We hope that fans in other sections will bring their own red cards if they do not sit in one of those areas. Just after the anthem we ask all fans to raise them in the air and hold them until first kick, to ‘Show Racism The Red Card’.

Soccer in North America has a dynamic and rich history that is multiracial, and embraces the strength that comes with its diversity. The history of soccer here is unique from other parts of the world, in that a philosophy of inclusiveness has always been apparent in all of its aspects, including players, supporters, and management.

As soccer continues to grow in the North American continent, it is imperative that each of us take responsibility in ensuring the diverse heritage and culture of the sport continues. There are many recent examples in Europe and some in the United States where racism and homophobia have reared its ugly head.

Show Racism the Red Card works to increase players, management, and supporters’ understanding of the inclusive heritage and diverse culture of soccer in North America. To promote young people’s participation as active and responsible citizens in a growing multi-racial and diverse society. Provide tools and resources for management, supporters, and players to respond to bigotry in positive ways. Harness the high profile of top soccer players as role models to grab the interests of and educate the larger community on issues of inclusion and opportunity. Involvement of the leagues and/or teams to adopt anti-racism measures and inclusion of policies and practices, both on the field and in the stands. Providing team and league management the tools and framework to be able to swiftly deal with incidents of racist abuse and insults in a uniform manner. Showcase the unique strength of soccer in North America due in part to its diversity.

ISC- The Independent Supporters Council of the United States and Canada was founded in 2009 to advocate for the fair treatment of home and away supporters, promote supporter culture, and oppose racism and bias in the stadium. It now members now include twenty-nine Supporter Groups from MLS, NASL, USL-Pro and PDL clubs.

The Vancouver Southsiders are the largest independent supporters group for the Major League Soccer Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The Southsiders stand, sing, and above all else, have support the players on the field since their founding in 1999.


ISC Releases Open Letter to Don Garber regarding sanctions imposed on Houston Fans after the MLS Cup Final

Commissioner Garber,

We are writing on behalf of the Independent Supporters Council, a group made up of twenty-seven American and Canadian supporters groups, including supporters from almost every team in Major League Soccer. Our mission is to advocate for fair treatment of home and away supporters at all levels of American and Canadian soccer.

Our members and supporters across the league are alarmed by the recent punishment handed down by the league office to supporters groups of the Houston Dynamo, including ISC member the Texian Army. We, representing supporters from across the league, support the Texian Army’s official response to this matter and ask that the league meet with the Texian Army and the other Houston supporters’ groups to review this unnecessarily harsh action.

We have no issue with the league taking individual action against individual fans who violate stadium policy at any league stadium. As we understand it, there have already been individual bans issued to some Dynamo supporters responsible for the problems at the MLS Cup. We do not take issue with the individual bans. But we object to the league taking retaliatory action that serves only to harm supporters’ culture in Houston. The statement from MLS read “As of March 1, Dynamo traveling supporters will not be permitted to utilize items listed as Supporter Group Exemptions in the MLS Prohibited Items policy (e.g. flags, banners, confetti, drums).”

Banning flags and drums will not stop individual fans from smuggling smoke into the stadium or throwing prohibited items on the field. Cutting off safe, legal avenues of support does not punish the flashlight throwers. Instead it punishes supporters who spend their own time and money making flags and banners, and creating the atmosphere that the league loves to promote. Such broad-based punishments do not address the troublemakers. All this action does is punish the majority of supporters who show the passion and dedication you claim to value.

Furthermore, the Houston away supporters’ section at the 2011 MLS Cup was a supporters’ section in name only; it was a mixed group of fans, including both members of supporters groups and unaffiliated fans. It is one thing to ask the supporters to police themselves; it is not reasonable to ask them to police every Dynamo fan, especially on a trip where they were not given the opportunity to organize or screen the attendees.

We ask that the League:

1) Does not hold supporters groups responsible for the actions of unaffiliated fans. Hold the individuals who behaved poorly accountable without punishing good supporters groups.

2) When supporters do travel, take attacks on them as seriously as you do incidents involving them. Traveling fans are regularly treated to racist chants and thrown items, not from other supporters’ groups, but from other fans in the stadium. They do not receive support or follow-up from security or the front office at these stadiums. This does more to contribute to ugly incidents like we saw at the MLS Cup than any number of flags or banners.

3)If the league intends to punish supporters for incidents at games, work directly with the leadership of the affected supporters’ group first and give them an opportunity to appeal, rather than simply announcing an open-ended ban.

Banning flags, banners, and drums will do nothing to further the goal we both share: creating the best possible atmosphere in every American and Canadian stadium. No amount of heavy-handed bans and restrictive security measures will stop someone from throwing something on the field. That is an element that we must work together to eliminate. Work with us, not against us. Only by working with your supporters, instead of against them, will we build a relationship of mutual trust & respect and accomplish our common goals.


The Independent Supporters Council

cc: Evan Dabby, Jon Radke, Brent Delgado, Art Castro, Christoph Schoenbeck

ISC Contact: Jimi Butler, ISC liaison to MLS – 202-549-6123 –

Soccer Supporters Unite

PORTLAND, Oregon – Soccer rivalries are known for their intensity, but leadership of soccer supporters groups from across the US and Canada set aside their rivalries last weekend in Portland, Oregon for the Independent Supporters Council (ISC) conference.

The ISC works to promote supporters’ culture in North America, and defend the rights of soccer supporters. Over the weekend, representatives of supporters of 16 of the 19 teams in Major League Soccer discussed issues facing supporters, and revised and ratified the Independent Supporters Council Charter, including the Supporters Bill of Rights.

“By speaking with a singular voice for all recognized supporters groups regarding issues that may be specific to one group, but that affect all, ISC can effectively use the collective leverage of all groups to protect the interests of each individual group,” said Jason Corliss board member of Red Bull New York’s Viking Army SC.

“MLS is beginning to appreciate the role of supporters, and aren’t just marketing the game to soccer moms any longer. It’s a step in the right direction, but we want to make certain all supporters can safely and passionately follow their team wherever they travel,” said Abram Goldman-Armstrong, a founding member of the ISC and board member of the Timbers Army 107 Independent Supporters Trust, which hosted the conference in Portland.

ISC initiatives include:

  • Coordinating an annual ISC conference open to delegations of supporters from all clubs in the United States and Canada, including in MLS, lower-league levels and women’s soccer.
  • Tracking incidents and advocating for stadium security trained to understand supporter culture.
  • Developing clear, consistent guidelines and fair ticket allocations for traveling supporters.
  • Organizing the administration and funding of a new MLS Supporters’ Shield trophy.
  • Advocating for an MLS schedule that is favorable to traveling fans, especially rivalry games.
  • Working for the adoption of a league-wide Supporters’ Bill of Rights.

Media contacts:

Brett Graham, Vice-President, Vancouver Southsiders

Jimi Butler, ISC liaison to MLS

The Independent Supporters Council was founded in 2009 to advocate for the fair treatment of home and away supporters, promote supporter culture, and oppose racism and bias in the stadium.

The Vancouver Southsiders are founding members of the ISC. They are dedicated to increasing the voice of supporters and fans and supporting the growth of soccer in Vancouver and Canada.

Cascadia Cup 2012 Format

Cascadia supporters groups announce 2012 Cascadia Cup rules, call
for balanced schedule.

The supporters groups from the three Cascadia MLS clubs have agreed on new rules
for the Cascadia Cup after MLS moved to an unbalanced schedule in 2012.

The Emerald City Supporters, Southsiders and Timbers Army agreed that all
matches will count towards the Cascadia Cup, even though the new unbalanced MLS
schedule means each team will play a different number of home games against their
Cascadia rivals this season.

“We all agreed that this was the simplest format, one that all fans will find easiest to
follow,” says Brenton Walters, Southsiders spokesperson.

Portland Timbers will host both Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps twice,
Vancouver will see Portland once and Seattle twice at home, and Seattle will only
host each team once.

Despite this imbalance, the three supporters groups agreed to count all matches
equally in order to keep the 2012 Cascadia Cup format simple.

“It’s unfortunate that the league didn’t work out a balanced schedule for the
Cascadia teams,” says Garrett Dittfurth of the Timbers Army. “We think the league
should fix this for next season so that no team has an unfair advantage in Cup

The Cascadia Cup will be awarded to the team with the most points after all matches
have been played or when there is a clear winner. In the event of a tie, the Cup will
be awarded to the team with the best goal differential.

Should the MLS schedule remain unbalanced in 2013, the Emerald City Supporters,
Southsiders and Timbers Army insist that it should allow for a fair distribution of
the home and away matches amongst the Cascadia clubs.

“Cascadia is home to the oldest and strongest rivalry in North American soccer,
and the value that the supporters put on the Cascadia Cup reflects that,” says Greg
Mockos of the Emerald City Supporters. “The league should pay attention.”

The Cascadia Cup was created in 2004 by supporters groups of the three Cascadia teams, and is awarded annually to the best team in the Cascadia region. Seattle and Vancouver have each won it three times, Portland has won it twice.

2012 Cascadia Cup schedule:
With the unbalanced 2012 MLS schedule, Portland plays four home and two away matches, Vancouver plays three home and three away matches and Seattle plays two home and four away matches.

  • May 19: Vancouver Whitecaps v. Seattle Sounders
  • May 25: Portland Timbers v. Vancouver Whitecaps
  • June 24: Portland Timbers v. Seattle Sounders
  • August 18: Seattle Sounders v. Vancouver Whitecaps
  • August 25: Portland Timbers v. Vancouver Whitecaps
  • September 15: Portland Timbers v. Seattle Sounders
  • September 29: Vancouver Whitecaps v. Seattle Sounders
  • October 7: Seattle Sounders v. Portland Timbers
  • October 20: Vancouver Whitecaps v. Portland Timbers

(Home team listed first.)

Full Cascadia Cup criteria:

  1. Greater number of points earned in matches between the teams concerned
  2. Greater goal difference in matches between the teams concerned
  3. Greater number of goals scored in matches between the teams concerned
  4. Reapply first three criteria if two or more teams are still tied
  5. Greater goal difference in all cup matches
  6. Greater number of goals scored in all cup matches
  7. Smaller number of disciplinary points in all cup matches (yellow = 1 point, red = 2 points)