Portland has some crazy fans. As the Sixth Man for the Trailblazers, there is no court in the NBA that can touch the Rose Garden for sheer fan power. But across the river, there is another set of fans that controls a different venue and sport.
Portland has some crazy fans. As the Sixth Man for the Trailblazers, there is no court in the NBA that can touch the Rose Garden for sheer fan power. But across the river, there is another set of fans that controls a different venue and sport. Welcome to the Timbers Army, the outrageous fans of Portland’s soccer team the Timbers at PGE Park.
To be a member of the Timbers Army, a fan has to love the color green, stand the entire match screaming and yelling, know every chant that is bellowed through the primary fan zones in sections 105–107, and of course love soccer. The chants are funny, rhyme most of the time, and have a few colorful words mixed in.
“The chants make me laugh because they’re ridiculous in the best kind of way, but it really is the way they bring together strangers for a couple hours of energetic fun that makes it worth anyone’s time,” said Tom Daufel, a die-hard fan since 2007.
The Timbers also have mascot Timber Joey to lead some of these chants. He is definitely hard to miss with his suspenders, hardhat and chainsaw. Chainsaw? No, this isn’t a segue into a horror movie. Timber Joey uses the chainsaw primarily to cut thick slices from a tree that sits between the fans and the goal for every time the Timbers score. Although the mascot has been a part of the Timbers since 1978, Timber Joey only recently took over the job from Timber Jim when he retired in 2008.
The pre-match festivities start at the Bitter End Pub, located a block from PGE Park. The place gets packed early, so plan ahead. Gates open an hour before the match and the mad dash for prime seats in the Timbers Army sections begins.
Once seated, beer and food are consumed at a rate that should be clocked on a timer. Flags, streamers, balloons, smoke bombs and all sorts of noisy merchandise are readied as the national anthem is being sung with an audience participation that would shame other sports. As the final notes are sung, a sea of colors, sounds and smells are unleashed and envelope even the newest fan like a drug.
Mark Williams, who is originally from New Orleans, attended his first Timbers game on Saturday. “I’m definitely planning on coming back. What I enjoyed the most was sitting amongst the Timbers Army. They represent what I’ve always enjoyed about soccer: the good-natured passion that the fans bring.”
Saturday’s sold-out season opener was exciting from beginning to end with shots attempted from both teams. It wasn’t until about the 85-minute mark that midfielder Ryan Pore scored the only goal of the game on a penalty kick. The team did a lap in front of the Timbers Army at the end of the game with the tree slice from Timber Joey held up high.
This is the last year the Timbers will be playing as members of the United Soccer League’s First Division. They will become members of Major League Soccer starting in 2011.
Cassandra Raglione, a long-time Timbers fan, believes that her team deserves the promotion to the biggest soccer league in the country.
“The fans will follow regardless of what league the Timbers are a part of, because they love them and the sport. But it is definitely exciting and fulfilling to watch this team graduate to a well-deserved level that doesn’t happen very often.”
The next home game will be on Thursday, April 22 at 7 p.m. against AC St. Louis. Their full schedule can be viewed at www.portlandtimbers.com/schedule/current/ and they have fan pages on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube.