TacomaTideFC's Blog

May. 11, 2011 at 9:19am

The Stadium District and Semi-Pro Soccer

The perfect match of sport and pubs?

by Soccer Examiner David Falk

The Stadium District in Tacoma is home to scores of restaurants, pubs, coffee houses...all within marching distance of Stadium Bowl, the new home of Tacoma Tide FC.

When I did my recent preview of the 2011 PDL season in the Northwest Division I made the Tide venue move one to watch. It wasn't so long ago that Tacoma's soccer club was wondering if there would even be a 2011 season. The Tide made it public last summer that they needed more sponsors to continue. The sponsors have been slow to respond, but the Tide took matters into their own hands by moving to Tacoma proper, and disbanding the basketball side of the Tacoma Tide Sports Club operations to save money.


Progress at street level

Now Tide FC have sold more season tickets than in recent years, and there is a good buzz about the club being in Tacoma.

One of the bars that has become a Sounders fan hang-out, Doyle's, is just a few blocks march away from the Tide matches now. Russ Heaton, owner of Doyle's, is working with other local pubs such as the Parkway, the Harmon Hub & Tap Room, to build a group called the "Brown Bag Brigade." The BBB will be a chance for the local pubs to empty into the Stadium District streets at the same time and create Tacoma's very own "March to the Match" for Tide games. They are calling it the "Stroll to the Bowl."

This all has a chance to be something completely unique in the PDL. Imagine a 4th division soccer side planted in the city, on public transportation, and near so many pubs. It's a mini-version of what the Sounders can offer through their location in downtown Seattle.


The people will decide

As it should be with grass-roots, lower-division soccer...the people themselves will eventually decide whether or not the Tide's bold move to Stadium Bowl has captured their imaginations.

The Tide know how it could look with bigger crowds. They imagine scores of fans emptying out of Doyle's, The Hub, The Spar, Parkway...and into the streets. They dream of making their own mark, building on their own slice of soccer tradition in South Sound. Maybe even becoming the St. Pauli of the region. It could happen, but it will take Tacomans to make it so.

The Tide want to provide soccer entertainment and make the South Sound proud on nights the Sounders are not captivating the region. The move of the home opener to May 13 is proof positive: the Tide kick off had initially conflicted with a Sounders match. Now, Friday the 13th at Stadium Bowl the match v. the new (Everett) North Sound SeaWolves stands alone on the Puget Sound soccer calendar.


Is there room for Yellow?

The question remains as to whether or not there is room in South Sound soccer hearts for a bit of Yellow to go along with the Rave Green. The Sounders themselves seem interested in what is bubbling beneath the surface in Tacoma. Matt Gaschk recently came to a Tide practice to cover the trial of former Seattle Seahawk Michael Bumpus.

The Tacoma Sports Commission is talking with the Tide about a possible partnership later in the year.

Tacoma youth soccer clubs are following Tide pre-season news like never before.

There is a sense of rebirth and promise in the air for the six-year old soccer franchise. But where will it lead?

"It's kind of crazy to realize that we are the longest-operating club in Puget Sound,"Tide GM John Callaway noted to me in a recent chat. "We know that the Sounders ran from 1994-2008 in the USL. We also know that the new Seattle club was granted an MLS side in 2008. The Tide were founded in 2006. We are still around, and this is the year for people to make room for Yellow in their soccer lives."

What would success look like for the Tide in 2011? It's a combination of things, says Callaway.

"We want to entertain and compete on the pitch," he told me. "We also want to become more relevant to players, supporters, families, soccer fans and businesses right here in Tacoma."

In that regard 2011 is a very important year, Callaway believes. "The move to Stadium Bowl, and our renewed efforts to reach our community, need to pay off in tangible ways. We need bigger crowds, and we need a little love. What we can give back to Tacoma is a club they can rally around. We can help fill the streets of Stadium District with fans holding up Tacoma scarves...singing songs about Tacoma."






comments [14]  |  posted under Doyle's Public House, soccer, Stadium District, Tacoma Tide FC


by Dave_L on 5/11/2011 @ 12:17pm
"...but it will take Tacomans to make it so."
I hope Tacomans and Tacoma businesses regain that Tacoma soccer fever. Not just a scattering of fans, but strong support throughout the region, instead of indifference. It's being handed to us; we just have to show up and support it.

That was a decent spot on TV12's "City Line"

by TacomaTideFC on 5/11/2011 @ 1:43pm
Thanks for the reply, Dave.

As someone who is inside the Tide buildup to 2011, I can state without a doubt that we need walk-up crowds in the hundreds. From there local businesses will pay closer attention.

Do we think it can happen? Yes!

Would it help if the TNT gave us the time of day in print? Yes, but we are moving onwards with or without the Seattle-slanted TNT sports section.

Friday is supposed to be rain-free and 65 degrees. Get YELLOW, T-Town! :)

by L.S.Erhardt on 5/11/2011 @ 1:51pm
Helpful tip: to promote the Tide, stop talking so much about the Sounders.

You see, there is this thing called "the Seattle curse". It's a long running-trend that even us non-fans-of-pro sports have noticed.
With the exception of the Sonics in the 1970s and the Storm in the 90s (sadly a great many people consider the WNBA a joke), Seattle teams don't win championships, and very rarely get there to begin with. The Mariners losing 100+ games repeatedly and them not getting even close to the pennant race even when they did win 116 games is a classic example of the curse.

I think we'd be better served by carefully crafting a Tacoma Sports culture that avoids the Seattle Curse pitfall. Craft a sports culture of "the home team that can win", etc.

Long story short, don't touch a Seattle tam with a 39-1/2 foot pole.

by Dave_L on 5/11/2011 @ 3:03pm
Unfortunately, the News Tribune hasn't been Tacoma News Tribune for a long time. But at least the Tacoma Weekly is playing along (though the category seems odd).

by TacomaTideFC on 5/11/2011 @ 4:16pm
The Tide really appreciate Jeremy Helling and the Weekly coming out to a practice and getting that story in print. Hopefully we can work with them over the season and get a few more articles in.

Thorax, your "Seattle jinx" post is spot on! :)

The Tide are all about Tacoma...even if we have 7 former UW-Seattle players on the roster! There are at least NINE other Yellows that hale from South Sound.

Hopefully that will keep us in the clear! ;)

by inbloodyrise on 5/11/2011 @ 4:31pm
i agree with tot. but its not a curse. its a love of city and expression of that through support in a silly sports team. sure, there is further community engagement, but sports is a good start at polarizing for a home city.

also, put in a good word for buying into div 3 next year

by inbloodyrise on 5/11/2011 @ 4:46pm

by KevinFreitas on 5/11/2011 @ 5:04pm
I'm excited to see my first ever anything in Stadium Bowl this Friday in the Tacoma Tide's home opener! You can bet I'll be at one of the nearby pubs (hmm, bangers and mash and a beer at Doyle's sounds good...) before and likely after the match. Bring your noise maker's Tacoma and let's show YELLOW some love!

by inbloodyrise on 5/11/2011 @ 5:16pm
so jealous!

by TacomaTideFC on 5/12/2011 @ 5:49am
Stop the presses!


Tide made the TNT today...

by KevinFreitas on 5/12/2011 @ 6:47am
That's great! GO YELLOW!

@inbloodyrise: Are you not going to make it tomorrow night? :(

by KevinFreitas on 5/12/2011 @ 7:04am
Win two free tickets to tomorrow night's home opener courtesy FeedTacoma.com! Find out how here: twitter.com/#!/feedtacoma/status/6867744...

by inbloodyrise on 5/12/2011 @ 5:22pm
negative, sir. im away with the military for half of the season. i hope it goes swimmingly though and will cheer from NC through this amazing interweb youve created.

by inbloodyrise on 5/13/2011 @ 11:05pm
2-2 tied score is better than nothing. tacoma is rising, stadium is coming with the tide.