Inspired by a FC Geopolitic Twitter thread documenting the Cascadia Football Team and their first appearance at the CONIFA World Cup in London in 2018, online sports magazine Caviar released a wonderful article on Sports and Bioregionalism. The full article can be found at:
Make sure to give both them, and FC Geopolitics a like & follow on twitter and other social media platforms as well. While the original article is in French, we’ve shared a few excerpts from the English version for you below:
Can we combine ecology and football?
The answer is yes and that is the gamble made by Cascadia, a “bioregion” located in North America, where football conveys the idea of bioregionalism.
Cascadia is first and foremost a volcanic mountain range on the west coast of North America, straddling the United States (California, Oregon, Washington) and Canada (British Columbia).However, in the beginning of the 1970s that geographers took an interest in this territory to describe its specificities .
In 1972, researcher Bates McKee applied the name “Cascadia” for the first time to a geological region from Alaska to California. Two years later, Professor David McCloskey went even further to describe Cascadia as a bioregion , a territory mixing natural integrity and socio-cultural integrity. A region which has the particularity that its environmental components directly influence the populations who live there, as well as the economic, cultural, spiritual and political life of this territory.
The concept of Cascadia bioregion is now well established and defended by the local population, with the credo that political borders must correspond to ecological and cultural borders . Make no mistake, this bioregion seeks above all to be more independent, but not necessarily to be fully independent. Yet strong economic and political ties have already been forged between the Canadian province of British Columbia and the American states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
They form from the Pacific Northwest economic region, even qualified as “mega-region” by the Canadian and American authorities because the interdependencies between these states cross borders .These close links between the different regions will manifest themselves very strongly around sport, particularly football .
In 2004, supporters of the three local “soccer” teams (Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers) created the Cascadia Cup . This competition must then designate the best team in the Pacific Northwest. A competition that generates so many passions that the United States “soccer” league, Major League Soccer, will try to recover the rights of the competition in 2012.
It was without counting on the enthusiasm of the three groups of supporters who since secure the name of the Cascadia Cup to preserve their competition.It is these same supporters who are going to be at the origin of a slightly crazy idea, that of creating purely and simply a football team specific to the bioregion of Cascadia in 2013. The idea is not there use a flag-bearer team to proclaim the independence of the territory, as the “Cascadia independence movement” can claim, but to represent the territory as a distinct cultural entity, as a bioregion, at the international level .
Partnerships essential to allow this team to last and above all to play to highlight its colors . The first real home match was organized on July 27, 2019 at Frenchfield Stadium in Kent, Washington which led to a 8 goals to 1 victory against the Darfur United team.
In the first world cup, Cascadia’s selection finished sixth in the competition. Today the Cascadia team is in 10th place in the CONIFA world ranking , between the Punjab and the County of Nice. As for FIFA , there is little chance of seeing the Doug Flag , the flag of Cascadia, in the coming years during an official meeting as Aaron Johnsen tells us:
“Cascadia cannot join FIFA because it only authorizes states. We will not pressure this team to make Cascadia a state. Cascadia is above all a cultural entity. A clean cultural identity proudly defended by its players , as evidenced by this reaction of a Cascadia player during an interview with Matthew Engel, journalist for the Guardian, at the height of the CONIFA World Cup in 2018:“Who oppresses the Cascadians? ” He asked.“Anyone who harms the planet!” “ Answers the playerSomething to think about, and to prove once again that the most popular sport in the world can make it possible to defend noble causes beyond the football fields.