Hours after clinching its first MLS Cup, Seattle Sounders FC returned to the Northwest on Sunday afternoon, greeted by a sea of blue-and-rave-green-clad fans at King County International Airport/Boeing Field.
Nearly 1,000 diehard Sounder faithful squeezed into the terminal’s parking lot area and waited with anticipation and excitement in the cold for the team’s return from Canada, where it had edged Toronto FC in dramatic fashion to capture its first league championship.
For nearly an hour and a half, the crowd chanted and sang many of the same verses typically heard on the pitch. A few people waved the team’s flag. Some held signs, including one woman whose board read: “I’m Proud of My Boys!”
Finally, the team’s plane touched down shortly before 4 p.m. One after another, the players stepped down onto the tarmac, as members of the media snapped pictures and reported live from the scene.
As the players entered the terminal and conducted a handful of media interviews, the crowd outside could sense the club’s presence and a palpable excitement grew. One side chanted “Seattle!” while the other chanted “Sounders!” The club’s official ensemble band, SoundWave, boomed and crashed their instruments together, sparking the crowd even more.
Then, the fans got what they wanted as the team emerged from the terminal with the most important souvenir in North American professional soccer – the MLS Cup trophy.
Players raised the trophy, igniting a thunderous roar. As the club completed a small victory lap among the crowd, fans snapped pictures and asked for players’ autographs. Some players were still interacting with the crowd as nightfall began to set.
Sunday’s return marked the first time in recent memory that the airport welcomed home a professional Seattle sports team on the heels of winning a league championship. For the MLS Cup Champion Sounders, it was an honor to do so.
Go Sounders, Go!
*Note: The club says it will hold its MLS Cup Champions March and Rally on Tuesday, Dec. 13, beginning at 11 a.m., at Westlake Center and ending at Seattle Center. For details, visit SoundersFC.com.
And for those who are thinking of taking transit to and from the parade, here is some great information from King County Metro.