Four years ago, the word “tifo” wasn’t a part of the lexicon in Major League Soccer. Thanks in part to Seattle and Portland, however, supporters’ huge, choreographed displays are becoming more comment, getting more recognition, and are even starting to become a greater presence at U.S. Men’s National Team matches. The Pacific Northwest didn’t invent tifo, but it seems to have raised the art’s profile within Major League Soccer.
The part we don’t see: The effort behind the product. When you see a huge display cover an entire flank of a soccer stadium, you instinctively know it took a lot of work. But until you see just how much time, effort, imagination, coordination and material goes into the task, it’s hard to have a true appreciation for what goes into a display.
Having never created one, I probably I have little idea the dedication that’s needed. What little I know confirms what we see as they’re rolled out. Regardless of the message, each display that manages to cover the north end at JELD-WEN or south stands at CenturyLink is an achievement – the culmination of a daunting effort fans give in support of their club.
Now, thanks to a new short film from MLSSoccer.com, fans across the country can get a better idea of the effort behind the displays, though “Tifo: Inside the Timbers Army” isn’t solely about the art. Near 15 minutes in length, the film gives fans unfamiliar with the area some idea about Cascadia’s broader MLS culture.
But “Tifo” (embedded, above) isn’t the only recent MLS-related film out of the Pacific Northwest. Last month Levy Films aired their Sounders documentary to a sold-out theater of Seattle soccer fans (here’s a taste).
Just as they challenge each other on the field and in the stands, Cascadia’s siblings have found a way to rival each other in film – much to our viewing pleasure.