PORTLAND, Oregon – Soccer rivalries are known for their intensity, but leadership of soccer supporters groups from across the US and Canada set aside their rivalries last weekend in Portland, Oregon for the Independent Supporters Council (ISC) conference.
The ISC works to promote supporters’ culture in North America, and defend the rights of soccer supporters. Over the weekend, representatives of supporters of 16 of the 19 teams in Major League Soccer discussed issues facing supporters, and revised and ratified the Independent Supporters Council Charter, including the Supporters Bill of Rights.
“By speaking with a singular voice for all recognized supporters groups regarding issues that may be specific to one group, but that affect all, ISC can effectively use the collective leverage of all groups to protect the interests of each individual group,” said Jason Corliss board member of Red Bull New York’s Viking Army SC.
“MLS is beginning to appreciate the role of supporters, and aren’t just marketing the game to soccer moms any longer. It’s a step in the right direction, but we want to make certain all supporters can safely and passionately follow their team wherever they travel,” said Abram Goldman-Armstrong, a founding member of the ISC and board member of the Timbers Army 107 Independent Supporters Trust, which hosted the conference in Portland.
ISC initiatives include:
- Coordinating an annual ISC conference open to delegations of supporters from all clubs in the United States and Canada, including in MLS, lower-league levels and women’s soccer.
- Tracking incidents and advocating for stadium security trained to understand supporter culture.
- Developing clear, consistent guidelines and fair ticket allocations for traveling supporters.
- Organizing the administration and funding of a new MLS Supporters’ Shield trophy.
- Advocating for an MLS schedule that is favorable to traveling fans, especially rivalry games.
- Working for the adoption of a league-wide Supporters’ Bill of Rights.
Brett Graham, Vice-President, Vancouver Southsiders
Jimi Butler, ISC liaison to MLS
The Independent Supporters Council was founded in 2009 to advocate for the fair treatment of home and away supporters, promote supporter culture, and oppose racism and bias in the stadium. www.soccersupporters.org
The Vancouver Southsiders are founding members of the ISC. They are dedicated to increasing the voice of supporters and fans and supporting the growth of soccer in Vancouver and Canada.