The Seattle Sounders play the Vancouver Whitecaps today. If they win or draw the game they will clinch the Cascadia Cup. The Cascadia Cup was made official in 2004 by the fans of the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps, but its history goes even further back.
Before the Cascadia teams were a part of Major League Soccer they played each other in the North American Soccer League and the United Soccer League. Even then, fans would drive the I-5 corridor to attend sell-out games with their banners and voices primed for cheering.
Today the two-foot-tall silver cup rests with the Portland Timbers; they finished last season with the best record between the three teams. The Seattle Sounders hope to bring the trophy back to Seattle this week. They currently have the most points amongst the three teams. If they do win, the trophy will be awarded not only to the team, but also the fans.
Supporter culture around soccer has been steadily growing in the recent years. Steve Clare, editor of Prost Amerika Soccer, says that the internet has become the driving force behind soccer in North America. Fans can congregate online to discuss the sport, plan events, build camaraderie and stir rivalry.
The Pacific Northwest has become an epicenter for the sport, according to Clare. Washington state has more youth players per head. When the Portland Timbers became an MLS team, it was a baseball team that had to give up the use of their stadium and make room for soccer.
Clare discussed the fan culture in the Northwest and the history of the Cascadia Cup with Marcie Sillman.
Produced by Amina al-Sadi.