Christian Science Monitor

Posted by Garrett Staples on May 27, 2014. 0 Comments

I was recently contacted by a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor. This nice lady wants my perspective on the growth of Soccer in the USA. 
Here is my response:

"I did a little research. I assume that CSM is a abbreviation for Christian Science Monitor. I'm puzzled however. I'm wondering how I ended up on your radar. I'm a lifelong Methodist. =-)
So I'll try to address your questions here.
I do not have my finger on the pulse of Soccer elsewhere. I do however have some insight into the Soccer phenomenon that is the Portland Timbers and the Portland Thorns.
But before I dive into that. It needs to be said; Merritt Paulson. This guy made the current business model work. Merritt Paulson could have bought a house on a beach and raised his family in magnificent style. He dearly Loves his family and now Loves his teams. Merritt didn't have to do this. We, (every soccer lover in the USA) have benefitted from his commitment to our sport. The Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns are a complete model on how to build an organization.
The Timbers Army. The 107ist. Operation Pitch Invasion. The Stand Together Campaign. The Partnerships. The Sponsorship Group. These collective groups get it. I hope Merritt Paulson will write a book on just how this all came together. 
The youth soccer movement. Clive Charles. Jimmy Conway. Mick Hoban. John Bain. Bernie Fagan. Brian Gant. Ignacio Baez.Tony Betts. Bill Irwin. 
All these individuals, former Timbers, have dedicated their life's work toward the development of our kids. Not just in the beautiful game of Soccer, but in the Quality of Life of the girls and boys in our communities. 
We are known as Soccer City USA. I'm sure other cities will take exception to that claim but that's part of the passion of our sport. It is single individuals that have become part of the greater good. It is Soccer Moms and Dads who drive, coach, write a check for the latest gear and league play. It is recreation clubs that Love their friends and Love the game. It is those who give up some of their hard earned money to support their team. 
As for my part in all of this. I had a front row seat (sometimes a sideline view) of 4 decades of soccer here in Civic Stadium, PGE Park, Jeld Wen Field and now Providence Park. The names and faces have changed but the loyalty and passion is unparalleled. Our Goal Celebrations are Legendary. Singing at full voice for 90 minutes and beyond is a work out! But Win, Lose or Draw, it's a good kind of exhausted. To hear 20,000 beautiful souls sing at a match will raise hairs on your body. "Team, Town, Family" are the axiom of unity that built a youth soccer pitch named Bless Field and a All-Inclusive Park called Harpers Playground. My eyes well up just thinking about what has happened surrounding this crazy game. We are a "Spread The Love" type of town. No room for hate here. Love changes things. 
I hope this answers your questions."

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