SEATTLE -- Today was more than a celebration of soccer in this city. Today was a much-needed celebration of our city: a celebration of civic pride – and, for a few hours at least, one unified purpose and cause.
MLS Cup 2019 wasn’t just the highest attended soccer match in this state’s history. It set an attendance record for any sporting event ever held at CenturyLink Field. It was a stadium bursting at the seams with people, with energy, with anticipation, and ultimately celebration. It was a small slice of the best that Seattle has to offer.
We’re less than a week removed from a contentious election, pitting the business community against local government and motorists against public transit commuters, with ramifications that go well beyond hurt feelings. But we weren’t talking about that today.
Instead, we were talking about a Sounders franchise that became the first to clinch a top-tiered professional sports league championship in front of its hometown fans in 15 years. It's a chance that, by my recollection, had only taken place three other times in this city’s history: when the Storm won a WNBA title at KeyArena in 2004, when the Sonics lost Game 7 at the Seattle Coliseum in 1978, and when the Seattle Metropolitans won a Stanley Cup at the Seattle Ice Arena in 1917.
This isn’t a night to debate soccer’s popularity. It’s a night to acknowledge its growth. And more importantly, to recognize how this city rallies around its own, regardless of team or sport.
Because I know for a fact that there were a bunch of youngsters in the stands today that will walk away from today’s match with the dream of one day playing for a championship on this same field – the same way Jordan Morris felt as a 14-year-old when he attended the Sounders first-ever MLS match in 2009. He dreamed of this moment – this opportunity – and in part, it's because of the way our city responds to moments like this.
And it will continue on Tuesday with a championship parade. In fact, I almost wish Monday Night Football was in Seattle instead of the Bay Area tomorrow so we could make it three days in a row.
If you were there today, you’ll remember it forever. If you’re there on Tuesday, you’ll do the same. It’s a championship to savor, to celebrate, to embrace – together, one that goes down in the annals of historic sports moments in this city.
In the end, today was the main reason I cover sports: Community. Purpose. Passion. And Belief. One city – one community – one passion – one belief. You don’t get that in many other places.
But we did today. And it’s something for which we can all be proud.