How did you become a Pilots' fan?

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How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by SoreKnees on Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:37 pm

There's not much happening on the board this week, so maybe it's time for some off-season nostalgia to pass the weeks until the August opener. A blog for a team in another sport in another state has had a very popular post today asking how each contributor came to be a fan of the team. I'd love to hear the stories from Pilots' fans.

Did you begin following the team through an affinity for or affiliation with UP? Or were you, like me, a soccer fan who fell in love with the team because of its quality and character? Do you remember the first match you saw? Who were your first favorite players, especially ones that some of us might not immediately remember?

I was drafted as a youth soccer coach a few years after moving to Portland in 1988 and soon became a huge fan of the sport, to which I was quite new. My first Pilots' match was the loss (6-1, if I remember) to the North Carolina team that featured Kristine Lilly and Mia Hamm. Must have been about 1992 or so. (Was there ever a better college team?) Tiffeny Milbrett was the Pilots' star, but she was pretty much bottled up most of the time.

I continued to go to games whenever we could over the next few seasons with whatever family members wanted to come along. Gradually "they" turned into "we" and the Pilots became an important part of our autumn life. It was wonderful to watch Clive build the program through the '90s and into the new century. Every time we met UNC or Notre Dame, we seemed to come a little closer to their level, until finally in 2002 we reached the level that we were dominating teams the way UNC used to dominate us. (Too bad we didn't play UNC in 2002 or 2005!) Now I'm a season-ticket holder and, like so many others on this board, mark my autumns by the number of days until the next Pilots' match.

Among my favorite but less honored Pilots over the years have been Betsy Barr, Erin Misaki, and Angela Harrison. (I have a special place in my heart for the 110% holding midfielders, of whom the Pilots have had a remarkable run. How many teams can claim 10-going-on-12 years with the likes of Betsy, Lisa Sari, and Keelin?)

I'm looking forward to reading your favorite Pilot stories and memories! Very Happy

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by Indigo Kid on Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:51 pm

Became a fan in about 1997 when our daughter was playing soccer with a travel team. Their team came to a Pilots match and we were hooked. We were treated by seeing some of the best players like Milbrett and McMillan to have played at UP.
I really don't remember the first match we saw but remember a wide variety of playing conditions from driving rain, and freezing temps for playoff matches and also some hot weather.
Some of the NCAA games against UNC and Notre Dame were some of the most exciting matches to watch.
Christine Sinclair was probably one of our favorites to watch. I was amazed at some of the shots she made and the touch she had on the ball.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:16 pm

I remember hearing about Portland's soccer program shortly after the men's team made the Final 4 when I made a decision to attend school there. I was a Communications Major at UP from 1990-1994, and I had a few classes with Tiffany and saw the soccer teams gradually progressing. I remember seeing Keller drop perfectly thrown balls at the feet of UP defenders and midfielders to begin an attack...and watching Milbrett lead us to our first women's Final 4 around 1994-1995 when I watched the game as a Holy Cross Associate in Brockton, Massachusetts. The men's Final 4 that helped to build the momentum to build Merlo and the women's Final 4 a few years later created some momentum that never stopped.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:22 pm

I was more of a basketball fan when I came to school, but I went to soccer games because I could, and it was entertaining enough, though I didn't really pick up on the details while I was a student. Last fall I came back for the first time after graduating and was hooked again after the first match I saw. After going a few more times I met some of the TA who went and stood behind the students, and now I love them as much as I love the Pilot soccer teams.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by fan from afar on Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:53 am

Great topic, Sore Knees.

I had been a soccer coach for many years, now retired - boys travel teams and a high school girls team. My daughter became a soccer player as an adult after moving to Portland, and it didn't take her long to become a UP fan. I visit her once a year, and on one visit we went to an A league game there, which was very enjoyable (we had a team here in Syracuse for a while). The following year (a few years ago), we tried to schedule my visit around another A league game but couldn't, so she suggested going to a Pilots game instead. She had long since become a fan and followed the team closely.

I don't remember the opponent, and I didn't know the players at all except that Stephanie Lopez had played on the national team, and my daughter also pointed out they had a player who had played on the Canadian national team and also an excellent central mid. Well, Portland dominated from the start. It was a beautiful, flowing possession style of play - exactly the style of play I tried to teach. Value each possession, share the ball, lots of quick passes, get the other team chasing, play as a team, play hard and physical but clean, and quality coaching (obvious form the start). When they scored, you could see the genuine pleasure the whole team got from the goal - a goal earned as a team, a goal everyone had some part in. I could really feel that in the stands. I was hooked, and the things I learned about the team subsequently only set the hook deeper. I now visit my daughter on a weekend with two home games and I follow the other games on TV, or match tracker when necessary. This year, I will be there for the weekend we play Miami and the U of Ill, which is my alma mater but whom I will have only a little trouble rooting against. Most likely, I will end up feeling bad for them. I will also be extremely tempted to fly out this year if we host the first two NCAA rounds.

I would definitely be a season ticket holder if I lived out there.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by eProf on Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:22 am

I have enjoyed soccer for a good part of my life--even got to see Pele play once when I was a kid. Played rec-soccer as a kid, but was not good enough to make the high school team.

In the 80's and early 90's, with other pressures of life, I did not have much time to spend watching soccer, but caught a number of '94 World Cup games on TV, and it reminded me how much I enjoyed soccer.

So that fall--almost on a whim--I decided to check out a game at UP. It was a women's game against UW. It took me no more than 5 minutes of watching Tiffeny and I was hooked. UP ended up winning that game (in OT on a goal by Shannon MacMillan, if I recall). I attended as many men's and women's games that year as I could.

The next year my son (who was playing rec soccer at the time) got season tickets, and we've had them ever since.

There are so many players I've enjoyed watching, but three that I especially enjoyed were Tiffeny Milbrett, Erin Misaki and Davide Xausa.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by mattywizz on Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:35 am

I grew up in North Portland and my grandfather went to UP (actually PU)...a long time ago, probably around the time Geezer was dominating the collegiate lacrosse scene...j/k. I'm sure it was a year or two before that...

Anyway, he was very active in the alumni community so my family had always been associated with the school in some way or another. When I started playing soccer, I guess that would be the mid-late 80s my parents started taking us to the games so we could learn the game better. I don't remember any specific first game, but I certainly remember Kasey Keller playing on the old field and booting the ball what seemed like across the field. Ever since Merlo opened ('90? I know someone will correct me and I'm too lazy to look it up.) my family had season tickets. We went to pretty much every game we could (men's and women's) although their season ran at the same time as my soccer season (imagine that).

Now I live a little too far away to attend many games, although I did make it to two tourney games last year! My parents still have season tickets, along with two other couples. They prefer to go to the women's games, I think they only missed one game last year, the third rounder against James Madison. And I think they even considered skipping my wedding to attend the game...luckily Stonehouse had his laptop and was able to set up game tracker or the radio feed so that the 10 or so season ticket holders were able to follow the game. I still follow the team through Pilotnation and portlandpilots.com, but wish I could make more games.

So to make a long story short, I have been a UP soccer fan for about as long as I can remember.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by Stonehouse on Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:51 pm

Got a similar story to mattywizz... shocker. We've been keeping it real in NoPo since '82. Well, I guess you were '81. You're old.

I grew up a mile away from campus and have been going to games forever. Started off with just my dad but slowly more and more family started getting tickets. We've got a pretty strong contingent now and it's fun to see my nieces have the same experiences I did when I was a kid. We have been holding down the fort behind the goal close on 20 years now.

I must admit that the guys were my favorite back in the day... Kasey Keller, Yari Alnutt, Scott Sagar, Ziggy Clark, Joey Leonetti... loved all those dudes. But of course I was a big women's fan too, especially as I got a bit older. Oh, Ana del Bosque. Smile

So many classic memories... intense playoff games, heckling goalies, torrential downpours, bringing in our own huge jug of hot chocolate, being convinced that seaguls portended Pilot goals... of course it was fun to be a student in the cheering section and I've had a blast calling games on the radio broadcast from time to time, but nothing really matches the childhood memories.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by harryb on Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:50 pm

I fell in love with the game of soccer when my college (Western Baptist) started a soccer team my senior year in '77. Then in '91 after visiting my fiancee in St. Johns I passed the UP campus and saw there was a game going at Merlo. I stopped to watch and saw Tiffany score three goals on break-aways. I've rarely missed a women's game since. Watching Tiff, Shannon, and Christine over the years has been phenomenal. I'm so lucky to live a mile away from the best women's soccer in the country.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:08 pm

Yahoo! I saw all of those players as well, Stonehouse. Great group. What in the world is Joey Leonetti up to these days?

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by Geezaldinho on Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:24 pm

athleticjames wrote:Yahoo! I saw all of those players as well, Stonehouse. Great group. What in the world is Joey Leonetti up to these days?

As several of those guys did and are doing, He's doing This

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:30 pm

Ah, I should have guessed! Thanks PG.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by mattywizz on Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:44 pm

I would have to say Ziggy was my favorite player. It probably didn't hurt that he was my counselor two years in a row at the Portland soccer camp.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by Stonehouse on Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:57 pm

Joey also does the play-by-play for several of the men's games. He's done at least a few games the past 2-3 years.

And Ziggy was my counselor at the Clive Charles Soccer Camps too... loved him! He helped coach our dominating Zimbabwe team to the World Cup title. And yes, I did indeed score a clinching goal in a PK shoot-out win over, I think, Italy. I rule.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:03 pm

Stonehouse wrote:Joey also does the play-by-play for several of the men's games. He's done at least a few games the past 2-3 years.

And Ziggy was my counselor at the Clive Charles Soccer Camps too... loved him! He helped coach our dominating Zimbabwe team to the World Cup title. And yes, I did indeed score a clinching goal in a PK shoot-out win over, I think, Italy. I rule.

Nice, I'll have to listen to those play by plays. Hey congrats on going over 2,000 posts recently Stonehouse.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:42 pm

This topic got me to thinking how I first got hooked on soccer. In junior high school back in Philly in the late '50s, we used to go out during recess and play soccer. I didn't know what it was called, and I don't remember anyone teaching us how to do it, but we definitely were playing with our feet only and passing the ball and shooting for the goal. Every once in a while, we had a special event in the afternoon and got to watch a movie in the auditorium. One day, we had a movie and it was a soccer game -- I remember it vividly, Real Madrid v Eintracht (Berlin?). Now that I think about it, that was a very strange movie to show a bunch of junior high schoolers since the public schools in Philly did not play soccer. I wonder who set it up. What I remember most about the game was an early play when an Eintracht central defender launched a long ball down the field and Real Madrid's central defender timed a header perfectly and headed the ball back about 60 yards. Amazing!

In high school, I went to one of the Philly Quaker schools, which did have a soccer team and I started playing. Our coach had spent a couple of years playing soccer in England and taught us a short passing, ball control game. It was great because we were one of the two top teams in our league and the other team played a long ball game using very speedy outside mids as "wings." So, in the big games, it always was our passing, ball control game against their long ball quick attack game.

My father wasn't a soccer player, but he liked the game and occasionally would take me to see the semi-pro Philadelphia Ukranians play.

In college, I played for four years in New England. As I've related some time ago on another thread, my college games included playing a brief stint in what I believe may have been the greatest upset in US men's college soccer -- small, now Division III, Amherst vs national-champion-to-be Navy in the opening game of the season, with our winning 2-1 despite being outshot 35-2.

Out here, I was out of soccer for a long time, but began reading about the Pilots men and Kasey Keller. I went out to a game to check them out and was amazed. I particularly noticed, as someone else mentioned, how great he was at throwing the ball from the box to midfield. I went to games now and then and after a couple of years started going to the women's games. I preferred the women's games and went by myself for several years. My wife came to one or two games, and then I got her to start going to all the games in the late '90s. Since then, we've been Pilots' women's soccer nuts. After the quarter-finals against Notre Dame, we decided we'd better get season tickets in the future and did that with a bunch of Pilots' soccer acquaintances. We had gotten to know some of the player parents, so we got a block of tickets next to the seats the Pilots hold for player comp tickets. That way, we've gotten to know lots of the parents, seeing them at Merlo obviously, but also whenever we've been able to travel to away games.

Our wedding anniversary is in mid-December, so we always figure that if the Pilots make it to the Final Four, it's a great way to celebrate. We save Mileage Plus miles all year so we'll be able to get tickets at the last minute if they make it. December 2009, here we come!

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by Harry Redknapp on Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:49 pm

UPSF

Eintracht Frankfurt

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by Harry Redknapp on Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:55 pm

As you might imagine from my nom de post I was born and raised in London. My dad supported Tottenham so I did too. We dodn't go to games though except for a couple of times. My dad played rugby so he was busy on Saturdays and there's no way a kid goes to a soccer game olone back then. My grandfather was a season ticket holder at QPR so we used to go and see them. Rodney M<arsh was a star for them.

I played soccer in college on a club team. Then did not play until I turned 30, then played Over30 for 12 years before retiring. More recently i've coached my daughter's team.

I don't remember my first UP game but i think it was the seasobn before Christine Sinclair came to play. Probably a club deal where you could buy tickets and raise money.

Then I read the advance press about Christine and came to the first game that season and was hooked from that point on.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by GUPhantom on Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:07 pm

This is easy....THE 2005 CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM!

I'd say I was a "casual" Pilot fan before then. Walked up to the ticket booth on game day and sit where-ever I wanted. But then...the 2005 Season changed everything for me! HECK..the whole City of Portland also picked up on it! Whatever...IT is????... The 2005 team had it!

I think THAT team set the highest standard of play! They're overall quality of play was unmatched! They had all the right ingredients! Exceptionally skilled players....working together as a TEAM! Fantastic chemistry! They were soooo smooth on the pitch! I've never seen ball movement to be as fluid and effortless as they had consistently managed a game! For me... they defined why soccer is a beautiful game!

The most poignant affect of their play that I noticed was seeing "defeat" in the eyes of opponents...usually before the half! They wore out teams with the chase. And you could see that opponents had no answer for it! Couldn't do anything about it! Even packing the box ....didn't stop the blood letting!

I'm a hard-core Pilot fan because I believe Clive set the foundation for the UP soccer program to consistently deliver teams of high caliber, class and panache! The 2005 team is the best example of having all the right components in place and representing the pinnacle of Clyde's vision for the program. They were great ambassadors for the game of Socccer and the University of Portland!!

GO PILOTS!!!

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by fozziewozzie on Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:31 pm

i originally became in amor of soccer when the nasl came to portland. stood in line as a teen for i dont know how many hrs waiting for playoff tickets. all i know is that the line started at sw 20th/salmon an the box office was at 18th/morrison. many,many hrs!

as for when i became a u of p fan, i can tell you in a heartbeat! i had been hearing about tiff her entire career an decided that i had to see her with my own eyes. i went back to work an told a co-worker who enjoys soccer an told him, 'she f****** brilliant!!' it was the last regular game of her senior season.

since that day, i take days off to watch the girls play!! an if i cant get the days off, i work trades.

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Re: How did you become a Pilots' fan?

Post by pms275 on Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:31 am

I'm a little late on this topic but thought I'd weigh in. I became a fan while going to school at UP 1989 - 1993. I remember my pre-admissions counselor in the fall of '88 mentioning that the men's team was headed to the Final 4. I also remember Kasey Keller when he still had quite a bit of hair. Smile

In my freshman year, the men were the team to watch. And I remember those games on the muddy field before Merlo was built. The women were up and coming, and there was a buzz on campus when it trickled down that Tiffeny Milbrett had signed a letter of intent. My last big memory of that time period was when Mia Hamm and North Carolina came to town for a match. Portland was spanked, but the crowd was overflow, and it was a good sign of things to come for women's soccer on The Bluff.

My wife, on the other hand, I introduced to the women's team in 2005. I think she's disappointed now whenever they don't go undefeated and win a championship. LOL

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