Celtic FC -one of the giants of Scottish soccer- have a lot of fans, pretty much everywhere. Far more fans than you'd expect a team playing in Europe's 18th best league to have. There are reasons for that, and many of them don't have much to do with sports, but in any case Seattle is no exception. The friendlies the club has played in Seattle, be they against the Sounders in recent years or other European clubs in the days prior to the arrival of MLS, have always been well attended. Soccer bars across the region are packed on Old Firm derby days when Celtic take on bitter rivals Rangers in the only fixture that actually matter in the Scottish Premier League.
Like a lot of other big soccer clubs, Celtic has partnerships with teams in other leagues. One of those clubs happens to be Santos Laguna, the Mexican Primera team the Sounders will be facing in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. And that partnership led to the email below being sent to Seattle-area Celtic fans:
Celtic's partner club, Santos Laguna, will face MLS outfit Seattle Sounders in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals at the start of March.
And Celtic fans in the area are being urged to come out and support the Mexican side, who now also include former Bhoy, Marc Crosas, among their ranks, as they aim to advance to the last four of the competition.
The Seattle district, of course, is home to a sizable Celtic support which was in evidence when the Hoops took on the Sounders in recent pre-season tours of North America.
While it may not be the Hoops from Glasgow in action, the club is asking supporters to turn-up and give the Los Guerreros some green and white backing from the stands.
The winners of the tie will meet either LA Galaxy or Toronto in the semi-final of the tournament which is open to leading teams from countries across North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Celtic and Santos, who are one of Mexico's largest football clubs, have developed strong bonds since forming a partnership one year ago.
The exciting arrangement has allowed the exchange of a range of ideas, benefiting the footballing and commercial dimensions of both clubs.
Very importantly, the partnership also features joint charitable activity, assisting a range of people in need across Scotland, Mexico and beyond.
The first-leg match will be held in Seattle at Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field on March 7.
(Click here for a screenshot of the email.)
Club partnerships are a reality in the business of international club soccer, and there's nothing inherently wrong with them. At their most basic level they're good for branding purposes and at a more advanced stage they can provide a pipeline of talent between the clubs. But in this instance, Celtic have decided to take things a step further and actively encourage people to turn out and root against their home team.
One of the unique things about being a fan of soccer is the tendency many fans have to form strong emotional ties with multiple different teams. The odds of the Sounders ever playing a meaningful game against the English club I support are so remote that the potential for conflict is functionally zero. I'd have to think Seattle-based Celtic fans are a wee bit annoyed at having that wall breached in this manner.