A Message to all US Major League Rugby (MLR) fans – What’s up in Seattle? 13


Tony here, from Seattle.

Ever since walking into Starfire Sports 6 weeks ago, I’ve been following posts all over social media about what the fans in Seattle should/should not do, how rude they are, etc… It’s been fun, but frustrating.  First, let’s recognize how fantastic it is ‘we’ can even have a conversation on such ‘behavior’, based in the United States!

This is a short background to the magic that has occurred in Seattle. Some will scoff at the word ‘magic’, but it’s real, the atmosphere. It’s not ‘disrespectful’ at all. It’s Passion, not forced. And, its loud. And, very cool.

If you have not been to Starfire for a game this year; respectfully, there is no way to really explain it. The SeaWolves created an atmosphere for a real fan base to thrive, and thrive it has. It’s been fast and furious, but it’s cool.

Based on my experience in the sport (spanning 47 years and every continent), I can assure everything going on at Starfire is legitimate and respectful.

Some people have said, “Passion” is a Rugby value too.  Do Passion and Respect sometimes collide? There are two sides to the ‘respect the kicker’ conversation, not to be debated here.

My assessment is that in San Diego (based on their active and committed fan support group on FB) the fan base is still trying to create its own identity.  This appears to be the case for other teams.  This is an excellent approach, and the comments about ‘respect and values based’ is great.

In Seattle,  the culture/identity has created itself. Noone has to post on how fans are going to support the team. There is no SeaWolves fan support group that I know of. It just happens.

‘We got this’ in Seattle. No need to feel embarrassed or ashamed by our behavior. Visitors from other teams have marveled at the hostile atmosphere. Yes, hostile. The first one of its kind on American soil. The opposition love playing here because of that unique atmosphere. It’s cool.

As a reference for the fervor, last week the take for licensed SeaWolves gear was $25,000.  Critics should note that 10% of that goes to the youth volunteers from Liberty Rugby Club and Kent Crusaders who run the pop up sales booth.

National Anthem

4,000 people sing the National Anthem with spirit, A Capella. A new tradition.

See you at the final in July. Would be delighted to discuss, share a beer with anyone at Torero.

TR 168


Other Articles I have written on MLR:



  1. I can attest to the incredible experience. My wife and I attended the game this past weekend while in town from Phoenix. Even in the standing room only section it was still a blast. Multiple spectators talking about this being their first year as a rugby fan and wishing there were more game. Word got out that I coach rugby and 3-4 adjacent fans started chatting me up about the game. They carefully looked over their rugby 101 sheets and were very engaged. The setting was beautiful, the fans and environment were perfect. If I was running the show in Seattle I would only strive to make it bigger!

  2. Tony, it was good meeting you this past week. Thank you for taking the time to introduce yourself and the owners of the Onterio Arrows to my wife and I. I can echo your statement about the excitement from visiting teams. At the end of this last game I had an amazing experience where a number of the Gold players were walking the fence line expressing their delightment and congratulating Seattle fans on the environment we have establish. I have a lot of respect for those individuals. I am excited to see where the future goes.

  3. This is a great article and nice perspective from the US, I have watched the games on Stream and has made me a fan of US Rugby more than ever. currently is the off season here in the UK and Europe but watching different kind of Rugby and seeing the fans have brought a fresh view on the sport.

  4. I am an accidental rugby player. The environment at the game I saw was fresh and long overdue. I enjoyed myself and the spectators. The SeaWolves have a true home field advantage, call it the 16th man if you like. With due respect to all the goal kickers, hurry up and kick the ball, we want to play rugby.

  5. Would you please comment on the lack of top side players for Scotland,and how many actual Americans played for the US?

    Sent from my iPhone


    • How many “actual” Americans? As with all sides in the world, there are strict eligibility requirements. So every player is a qualified player. Just because a person has a name that isn’t Smith or Jones, it doesn’t mean he’s a foreigner. BTW, look at all th “”foreign ” players wearing All Black.

  6. Pingback: Selling Rugby to America – Seattle SeaWolves Style « Tony Ridnell

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