PTFC Stand Together Week and Interviews with Karina LeBlanc and Sam Coffey
Stumptown Footy had the privilege of volunteering with the Portland Thorns, Timbers, staff, and so many wonderful people. General manager Karina LeBlanc and superstar Sam Coffey caught up with us too.
The Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC teamed up with local partners for the 12th annual Stand Together Week Sept. 3-9. The comprehensive, week-long community initiative supports dozens of nonprofit projects and provides in-person volunteer opportunities across the city (read more in their public statement).
My favorite part of the week has always been the fact that the community, players, staff, and fans can come together to help those who need it most. It allows everyone to come together for a cause much bigger than any one person.
I attended my first ever PTFC Stand Together event on Thursday afternoon at the Oregon Food Bank. Everyone was having a blast being around each other.
The increase in volunteers was welcomed, but also shed a light for all of us to use our time to give back way more often.
Everyone’s job was to label, check for quality, and pack 38 cans of butternut squash purée into a box, and then repeat it as much as possible. I teamed up with a volunteer who was from out of town, but wanted to give back in their spare time. We worked quickly, efficiently, and together to make sure there was as many finished as possible.
I was working so fast, there was a ton of sweat pouring out by the time we had completed our shift. Did I have to take a few breaks to cool off? You bet.
The fact that there was a competition to see who could finish the most boxes was epic. Everyone wanting to go as fast as they could to help so many families in need was amazing.
There just isn’t a much better feeling than helping others.
One common theme I’ve seen with Thorns and Timbers players & staff is that they see Portland as their community and home. That special connection they have with the city and fans is second to none.
After the event, I had a chance to catch up with general manager Karina LeBlanc and Thorns superstar Sam Coffey.
Karina LeBlanc on what Portland means to her and family:
“Portland has become my home. You know, I remember talking back in 2013 about how this was my favorite place to play, and it was more than just the numbers. When you’ve played in a World Cup, the Olympics, you love big crowds. I was yelling to the world, like you can sell out any stadium, but there’s no place like Portland. The people care. They genuinely care. And then like here, you get out in the community and meet people, they’re laughing, and they get into the stories of their lives so quickly because they feel that connection. I think this is why Portland has become my home. It’s so personal to me.”
LeBlanc also mentioned how important the community is in raising her daughter and the trust their family shares with the city.
“I think Portland, if the question was like, what does Portland mean to me? It's like, it's my home. It's where I'm raising my daughter. It's part of my family. It takes a community to a village to raise a child and that's who's raising my child. So, it's beyond the job. It's the people and the people I'm trusting and the people we're meeting that are great people. So, yeah, that's what it means.”
Sam Coffey on giving back and the importance of her new home:
“I’ve only been here a year and a half. I just left New York for a couple off days and I'm like, oh, I'm sad, I'm leaving home, but I feel like I'm also coming home and I was able to reflect on that a little and just feel so grateful that that's the case. Like I haven't been here that long and this place already feels like home to me. I have the club to thank for that but doing things like this, whether with the club or on my own time, I think it's a huge part of why that's the case, the feeling so connected and passionate about, you know, what's happening around here and the way I can best help or engage with the people around me. So, I just want to continue to plant roots here.”
There are still a few more events left for PTFC Stand Together Week!
Even if you are unable to attend them, please consider giving back when you had the chance.
Thank you to both clubs for allowing me to help and give back. Can’t thank all of the players, staff, and all of the volunteers for being there as well.