If you’re here at WUFC, I’m hoping you’ve seen the #WomenLoveSoccer hashtag. It shows a whole world of women soccer fans! After browsing the hashtag myself, I felt compelled to get some of those women’s stories out there. We all have our own journeys into the sport, and they all deserve to be shared to inspire more fans. Connect with us #WomenLoveSoccer to share or have your own story told!
This is Lindsay’s story. Lindsay’s dog’s name is Edison Corgvani, and that’s all she says you need to know about her. But you should also probably know that she’s a Timbers Army member, believes strongly in a cause called Charity Ball, and loves traveling to support her team. Let’s get to know her a bit more.
(editor’s interlude – I love Charity Ball, Lindsay! For those who don’t know… It was started in 2010 by Ethan King, who was 10 years old and inspired by a visit to Mozambique with his father. While his dad worked on water wells, Ethan played soccer with the local children. Ethan wanted to do more. The tally (approx) to date? 5,000 soccer balls hand-delivered to 28 countries. The project keeps growing…)
Q: Tell us about your very first soccer game.
A: I played soccer growing up, from kindergarten recreational to club to varsity in high school. I played basketball too but eventually narrowed down to a single sport, soccer being my favorite and my focus. The first game I attended as a fan was the Portland Timbers vs Crystal Palace Baltimore in 2010. I had seats in the west stand, looking across the way at the part-baseball/part-soccer field. I remember Ryan Pore scored and Bright Dike had a brace. I found Timber Joey in the concourse and was excited to get a picture with him and learn about the log slices.* But just as much as the awesome 3-0 win going on, I was watching the Timbers Army. They were waving flags, smoke billowing, and passing around banners and flags in the stands. I was hooked. I got season tickets for the next year in the TA.
Q: What team(s) do you follow, and what leagues are they in?
A: I follow the Timbers in MLS and the Portland Thorns in NWSL. I love soccer culture in our city and feel the closest connection with teams at the local level. Next would be the USMNT and USWNT. I love watching the Yanks and traveling to see them too. I live for the World Cup. I also follow Everton in the EPL and chose to in 2010 as well. Napoli is my Serie A team and I chose them based on the influence of my badass friend Kirsten Schlewitz and the beautiful trio of Cavani-Lavezzi-Hamsik before PSG got 2/3 of it. Last but not least I love Barcelona and their style of play. I will basically watch any league and I always have soccer on.
Q: What about the game hooked you?
A: I was living, breathing, and playing soccer when the USWNT won the World Cup in 1999. My high school boyfriend bleached his hair like Landon Donovan and did the black sports bra goal celebration like Brandi Chastain — haha! I lost track of the game while I went through college but eventually got hooked again during the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The time difference made it really fun and my sister and I would wake up at 5am, drink coffee, and watch all the games. The Landon goal vs Algeria is still one of my favorite memories as a fan of the game. That penguin dive and Ian Darke’s “go go USA.”
Q: Tell us more about watching the 2010 World Cup.
A: My sis and I watched at home… I just remember being super dedicated together, setting an alarm every night because the time difference from South Africa to the west coast was crazy. We’d get up like soccer zombies at 5am and have coffee and watch all teams. That’s when I knew we were going to be super into it, when we weren’t just into the US games but all of them. The LD goal against Algeria though is the most vivid memory I have of the whole tournament though. Partly because my sister and I went crazy, jumping around and hugging each other, and partly because I’ve watched the YouTube four thousand times.
Q: With whom in your life do you share soccer?
A: My sister has been the person I’ve shared soccer with the most. It was funny to me how dedicated she was to the early WC wake-up times because she wasn’t that into playing it growing up. We had season tickets together when the Timbers joined MLS but we commuted from Eugene, a 4 hour round trip, for every home match. We’ve shared a lot of memories, goals, pics “behind the tifo,” and most recently me wearing her son, my 3 month old nephew, at a match. I also attend games with my boyfriend, friends, and have brought my mom for special games once or twice a year and she loves the game too. But the way I love the game is obsessive. I have no problem enjoying it solo, as I did on a trip I took to Vancouver by bus where I stayed in a hostel. Once you meet up with fellow supporters, you’re never alone.
Q: Have you traveled to any away games for your team? Where did you go and what was the experience like?
A: I love traveling for games. I’ve been to LA for In N Out Away, Seattle Away, and Vancouver (Poutine Away/Japadog Away) all multiple times. My favorite in Seattle was the first leg of 2013 playoffs when we won 2-1. I love the echo of our chants while we march down all the ramps, win or lose. Vancouver is my favorite away day and I’ve had nothing but a blast with their fans who are great hosts. Also, eating all the poutine, Japadog, and ramen possible. I’ve been to Sporting Park for a World Cup Qualifier. I met Alexi Lalas, Taylor Twellman, and Ian Darke at the bar the night before and it was really fun. I don’t think I was there even a full 48 hours but I squeezed in Arthur Bryant’s at least 3 times. Can’t beat a bbq away day.
Q: Do you have any personal soccer-related traditions?
A: I don’t have a lot of traditions but I like to have soccer-ish accessories. I have log slab earrings for Timbers games, rose earrings and rose TOMS for Thorns. I like festive nails for the occasion and was pretty proud of my Cascadia flag ones I did for a derby.
Q: What is the impact soccer has had on your life?
A: I’d wanted to live in Portland for a long time but my season tickets for the Timbers are what finally pushed me to move here. Love of “Team, Town, TA” is what I feel I’ve gained the most from getting back in the game. The sense of belonging I feel with other fans at the stadium, on social media, and in the community is something I’m really grateful for.
Q: If you could tell everyone in the world one thing about soccer, what would it be?
A: I would say that soccer is a universal language. You can relate to people all over the globe just because of a ball.
Q: What do you mean, because of a ball?
A: My love for the game deepened when I saw it played in a developing nation. I’ve been on a medical mission to Guatemala four times as a nurse, and every year saw how soccer is part of daily life and culture. We would be on bus rides and I’d always see pick-up games going on out my window. I went on a trip to a black sand beach and saw kids playing barefoot on a dirt street. I went to a village and on our hike there saw kids playing on a bluff above a creek, next to a cow. I saw kids playing in a courtyard, using rocks to mark the goal. I saw kids playing on a field that drops off into Lake Atitlan with volcanoes in the background. I saw the military guards of our campus playing at night in their camo. Every different setting soccer is being played in feels like it’s straight out of the movie Pelada.
They play with deflated regular soccer balls or with small, thin plastic ones (like an oversized ping pong ball). I played 2 on 1 with two young boys, beat them, and they wore their Messi jerseys the next day. I ended up buying them a ball and they considered it such a prized possession that they went to hide it with their mom. I had to tell them “let’s play with it!” Their gratitude and love for that ball led me to bring back 10 more the next year through the donation of a project called Charity Ball. I presented them to a school and was held in a higher regard than Santa Claus himself. Seeing the kids run with our bus and wave us off as we left is something I’ll never forget. And the experience with Charity Ball was one of the most rewarding ones of my life.