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To the wonderful Seattle Sounders supporters: Maybe you need a re-think on “Sounders Reject!”

Apr 3, 2013, 1:10 PM EDT

Sounders fans 2

There is a fine line between lively fan support and mean-spirited crap that doesn’t belong in a game. I’ll be the first to confess that it’s a moving target.

Like anyone else, I love it when impassioned supporters find their voice, lifting their team and elevating spirits around the ground in an atomic reaction, the primary elements careening in force and playing off one another.

To hear the Sounders fans bouncing back and forth with their “Seattle …. Sounders … Seattle … Sounders … ” bit is the bright stuff that makes our game wonderful. The best MLS fans can identify home grounds by ear, without seeing a single picture. D.C. United, Chicago and Houston are among the places that have their own, distinct primary chant. And they are magnificent.

But why do we sometimes need to go “there?”

This is about Herculez Gomez in Seattle last night. The cries of “Sounders Reject!” isn’t the worst this stuff ever gets. Far from it. And generally speaking, Seattle fans keep it classt.

So, why even go there?

It’s a little worse in my mind because of who Gomez is, a U.S. international, a man so proud to play for his homeland. He’s a guy Jurgen Klinsmann loves having around for the contagious effort poured into every training and match. He’s a guy that I’ve come to respect more and more for his grounded interaction with fans through social media and his wise take on national team matters.

On the one hand, I get it. For 90 minutes he’s the enemy. Again, this one falls into the gray “in between.” Still, it seems mean spirited rather than just “spirited.”

It’s far from the worst we might hear around MLS grounds, but it’s a good place to start a conversation.

By the way, this is the guy Seattle fans mocked last night:

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source:

  1. cfutch - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    I don’t get why heckling him is such a big deal. USMNT players get heckled in MLS all the time. Eddie Johnson, Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi all get Heckled in opposing parks and they get cheered when they put on the USMNT Jersey.Why would it be different for Herc?

  2. charliej11 - Apr 3, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Most were not part of the heckling, it was just the rowdy section.

    I will say when they introduce the opposing teams the Sounder’s fans yell “who ?”.
    Which they did for Gomez too reactively, sort of, then many then realized who it was and cheered for him, clapped for him, were excited he was there.

    He is a great guy, which many, like me, didn’t realize until this game where he started smack talking weeks before the game. It was fun and he is now my favorite Nat team player.
    Hope the new pillow ( that Adrian Hanouer sent him ) makes it easier while he cries himself to sleep next Tuesday.

  3. tylerbetts - Apr 3, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Steve … many, many, many chants at MLS games cross the line.

    I don’t see this as one of them.

    It’s not rude. It’s not vulgar. It’s not offensive. Hell, it could be (and probably is) motivating to Gomez – remembering the time when he couldn’t make Sounders and the times he was told to find another career and how that got him to where it is today.

    But … from the fan point of view, it’s exactly the kind of chant I want to be inolved in. It’s fun. It’s personal. It’s not vulgar or racist or anything like that. And maybe … just maybe .. it gets into the guys head. Maybe he hears the chant and decides to try to do too much on his own, and we get him to make mental mistakes and not involve teammates, because he wants to prove he’s so much more than a “Sounders Reject”.

    So, for me … more of stuff like this, and less of crap like YSA.

    • Steve Davis - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      I respect that. Just a little difference of opinion. And, as I said in the post, it’s just a good conversation starting point. It is one in large part because it’s not such a flash point, which tends to make it less emotional and something to just, you know, talk about. As we are doing here.

      And, yes, the YSA is nothing but juvenile silliness. So is the one where I live (not in use anymore, I don’t think) on injured players. “You’re going home in a Frisco ambulance!” That one made me question the very humanity of the people buying tickets to MLS.

  4. thekingofnorway - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Steve, I’ll have to respectfully disagree here.

    Like you, I have tremendous respect for Herc. He’s a great player, a jolly good fellow and an awesome Twitter follow. When he’s in a USMNT jersey, I’m pulling for him 100%.

    When he’s in a Santos jersey playing the Sounders, I root against him. But it’s always in good fun (and that goes both ways — Herc is a good sport and he gives as good as he gets). And when he scores a golazo like he did last night, I tip my hat to him and applaud. (Which is what I did last night.)

    “Sounders Reject” is, IMO, pretty tame, and there was no particular malice in the chant. Bear in mind we’re talking about a brief loan spell that happened 10 years ago. Herc has progressed mightily as a player since then, through hard work and effort. If any SSFC supporter really thinks the man could not play for the Sounders today, well the joke’s on them.

    • thekingofnorway - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      Just thought of an analogy to add. One could chant “Harvard Dropout” at Mark Zuckerberg … because, y’know, he technically is. But do you think it would matter to him? Isn’t the idea just so ridiculous that the joke is apparent?

    • florean - Apr 3, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      It was clearly tongue-in-cheek. Anyone who knows he played here would also know that he was on a loan spell, not cut or in any other way “rejected”. And he gestured for the fans to chant it louder, so he obviously got the joke. And Sounders fan would love to have him play for us instead of Chivas.

  5. annab81 - Apr 3, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Sounders fan. And proud member of the “rowdy” section here. I gotta say, I think this criticism of a chant that lasted all of a few minutes is really over the line. When you look at what other teams do (ahem, San Jose’s rather pointed tifo making fun of Sigi’s, uh, size last weekend), “Sounders reject” is tame. Also, the chant points to the fact that Seattle fans have a history with Gomez, and it hasn’t always been tongue in cheek. He hasn’t always said nice things about Seattle in the past. He’s come a long way since literally being rejected by an earlier iteration of the Sounders and is a much better player.

    We love Hercules Gomez. We love him because he plays along. He heckles us, and expects us to heckle him every time he comes to Seattle. Hell, when he’s here with the USMNT in June, he’s going to get big applause.

    Horrible things are chanted at Eddie Johnson, Landon Donovan, and other USMNT players when they play for their home clubs. So it’s a double standard if we playfully call Gomez a “Sounders reject?” If you actually listened to the tone of the chant too, it was playful and not malicious. Not mean-spirited at all.

    We’re probably one of the only fan sections in the US that does NOT lead the stadium in YSA. That’s others in the stadium. We don’t do that. In fact, there was a pointed absence of YSA chants last night.

  6. sluggo271 - Apr 3, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Steve, I couldn’t agree more!!! At the end of the game, I heard the flounders fans chanting, “WE NEED A REAL COACH”
    Lol….sounders

  7. pjbowmaster - Apr 3, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    First it was the guys at MLSsoccer.com and now you. I said it there and I’ll say it here. It is well established that other National Team players have been heckled. Landon Donovan has been brutalized in some quarters. Sometimes by Supporters of his own club AND country. So why is THIS incident worthy of some discussion? I suspect for you journalist types it’s the Mexican-American angle. This just feels like political correctness trolling on the part of those that feel the need to have a discussion….

    • jpan007 - Apr 4, 2013 at 12:12 AM

      Bingo

  8. bradygazelle - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Why do American fans have to default to European antics at soccer games?

    Those Seattle fans bouncing up and down last night were just flat out embarrassing. I was so mad the camera kept showing them!

    The worst part is you know it’s a bunch of drunk 20-somethings who don’t even like soccer but just go to be “cool”. I bet most of them don’t even know how many players are on a team.

    Come on, Seattle. You can do better than that!

    • charliej11 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      You seem to know quite a bit about guys that sit right next to me. Tell me more about them.
      I got that they don’t like soccer…..They have families ? Nice guys ? Jerks ? College educated or not ?

      BTW I have been going to Sounders games most likely for longer than you have been alive, probably coaching longer too, barely ever drink before hand and almost 100% chance I know more about the game than you will ever know.

      But interrupted, please tell me more about myself…..

  9. KU - Apr 4, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    What a weird article. The Sounders come up with a pretty tame chant about an opposition player (and a former player to boot), and there are people out there getting their knickers in a twist about it? It’s would’ve been strange if they hadn’t chanted about him!

  10. wadejackson2 - Apr 4, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    This is the type of “conversation” one attempts to start when they can’t actually come up with something interesting on which to report. Carry on.

  11. reinez63 - Apr 7, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    The ECS is pretty sophomoric at times. Great energy but need to get more creative.

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