Soccer culture in the United States has given birth to countless supporters groups. These organizations, created by the fans of soccer clubs, dominate life in the bleachers. Some of the country’s most famed supporters groups number in the thousands and have earned a reputation for their passion. From tailgating outside the stadium to chanting for 90 minutes without end, supporters groups are always finding new ways to express their love of the beautiful game. Enter Tropic Sound (the supporters group you’ve never heard of but wish you did). The Florida, Gulf states, Caribbean Islands-based organization has been filling my Twitter feed with both hilarious and, at times, slightly disturbing content. And that’s what they’re all about. The Emerald City Supporters (ECS) subgroup has grown in both membership and prominence thanks to their social media savvy-members. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Crist “Ceej” Jarrett the self-proclaimed “idiot in chief” and one of the original founders of Tropic Sound. His “partner in debauchery on the slow boat to hell” is Kayl “Special K” Parker. Together, the duo has traveled the country with their fellow Tropic Sounders watching the Seattle soccer scene grow exponentially over the past 15 years. My interview with Ceej gave me an opportunity to learn a little bit more about the not-so-orthodox ECS subgroup…
Nick: First things first, how do a bunch of Florida/Gulf State/Carribean Island supporters end up with the Seattle Sounders? What’s the story here?
Ceej: Tropic Sound actually goes back to the pre-MLS days. Personally, as a kid, witnessing the Seattle Seahawks play against the Miami Dolphins was always a good time. You can’t go wrong with blue and green, those were the sports jerseys of every kid’s dreams. I became a Seattle sports fanatic as the years went on. My friends and I, in 2002, made the trip to the first match ever in Seahawks Stadium. That game happened to be a Seattle Sounders match during their USL days. The Sounders won 4-1 during a derby game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. That was the real start of Tropic Sound as a group.
Honest answer: On a scale of 1 to Roger Levesque, how much do you hate the Portland Timbers? (Cooligans Timbers fans, prepare for some savagery.)
The Portland Timbers… I am not a fan at all. I wouldn’t say I hate them cause they’re just like our little brothers. The Timbers, and their fans, revolve around us. We don’t revolve around them. They can sing about us all they want, but we’re here for the boys. If I had a dream scenario though, it would be Roger Levesque and Clint Dempsey putting about 20 goals through Portland’s net (right in front of the Timbers Army of course).
Damn, that was rough. The rivalry is real. Tell me, why has soccer grown so much in the Pacific Northwest? Are the people in Cascadia secretly Europeans in disguise?
To be honest, soccer has been huge in the Pac-Northwest for a long time. It goes back long before the Sounders in 1974. Local teams have competed for decades in tournaments like the U.S. Open and won some pretty big games. Checkout @frankmSounders on Twitter. Frank is the original Sounders historian and he knows a lot about the game. He has a wealth of knowledge that is unmatched, and has personally witnessed the Sounders-Timbers rivalry since he was a kid in Washington.
Time for a curve ball. Who would win in a boxing match: Jordan Morris or Darlington Nagbe? How many rounds would that fight last.
Plain and simple, this fight would last exactly one round. Have you seen how jacked Jordan Morris? He’s got the baby face but he’s still a total assassin. Darlington Nagbe would box like he plays soccer: great outside the box but terrible inside. Morris would finish him.
With a growing soccer presence in Florida, why not support local teams like Orlando City Soccer Club or the Tampa Bay Rowdies?
The answer has more to do with our membership and their origins. The Sounders have a big connection with the Caribbean and have signed some top talent. Places like Cuba, Jamaica and Martinique have produced club favorites and that’s important to our group. We try to put a big emphasis on the Caribbean countries and other American Gulf states, not just Florida. We even have a subgroup that deals directly with Sounders fans in Cuba.
Last July, a multi-million dollar offer was made for Uruguayan international Nicolás Lodeiro. Since his signing, Lodeiro has scored seven crucial goals for the Sounders and led Seattle to their first cup. Is Lodeiro potentially Seattle’s best signing yet?
The Lodeiro signing coincided with a few different things. Sigi Schmid, although we loved him, had run his course as manager of Seattle. Brian Schmetzer came in and brought a breath of fresh air to the Sounders at a difficult time. He had been an assistant coach for a long time and the players respected him. When Nico Lodeiro came in, he brought a fire with him. He scored crucial goals in big games and helped the team click. Nico and Bryan, joining Seattle, is what helped the team win. They both played a big part in that. Lodeiro was a clutch signing but not sure if he is THE best. Time will tell for Nico and his time with the Sounders.
Ceej, this interview has been a blast. Last (serious) question from the Cooligans is the following: How hammered did your crew get after the Seattle Sounders won the MLS Cup? Describe the soccer madness to our readers.
Use capitals letters please. IT WAS LIT. It was a party. Our victory party was basically a DJ Khaled video, champagne bottles included. People were standing on top of tables, shirtless. WE were singing and drinking even though the rest of the bar had no idea why were were partying so hard. Tears were shed, and it wasn’t just because we were all hopelessly drunk. It was a magical evening for Tropic Sound.
Join the MLS banter and supporters shenanigans on social media! For more of Tropic Sound:
@TropicSounders (Tropic Sound Official Twitter)
@Ceejness (Crist “Ceej” Jarrett)
@darling_dearest (Kayl “Special K” Parker)
@TropicSoundCuba (Tropic Sound Cuba subgroup)
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