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Seattle played bit part in helping heal tsunami-stricken soccer community

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As Copa90 puts it, “Vegalta: Soccer, Tsunami and the Hope of a Nation” is story that stretches from Sendai to Seattle to Ipswich Town.

Vegalta Sendai’s story is incredible. It’s a tale of how sports can help communities heal. It is the tale of a club that gained glory while becoming the symbol of a nation. Vegalta rose from the destruction going on to finish fourth in 2011 and second in 2012.

One of the tiny subplots of that story is how a FanPost on Sounder at Heart helped inspire Doug Hurcombe to film the documentary “Vegalta: Soccer, Tsunami and the Hope of a Nation.

Shortly after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami tore through northeast Japan Aaron Campeau wrote Vegalta Sendai Supporters : We Are All Brothers And Sisters.

“I thought it was important, to just you know, try to get the word out to Sounders fans,” Campeau told Copa90. “To know that it actually went outside of the circle of people that expect to ever read it is pretty awesome.”

Hurcombe was searching for information on Sendai as he was expecting a visit. He stumbled upon Sounder at Heart.

A few days later Hurcombe contacted Sounder at Heart to ask why we wrote a story about a small club in Japan. That conversation talked about Seattle’s connections to Japan, our own potential for earthquakes and tsunamis and quite a bit about how football/soccer can be a healing force. Seattle Sounders FC joined the global soccer community in raising funds for the people struck by this disaster. They were one of hundreds of clubs that did so around the world.

That, and so much more lead to the Vegalta Movie project. It was moments like Ispswich Town singing Vegalta’s supporters song “Take Me Home.” It was super clubs and youth clubs donating money. And it was the rise of Vegalta Sendai winning their first match after a six-week hiatus - then winning ten more finally finishing fourth.

Now, there is a movie about Sendai’s rise to second in the J-League by 2012 and a 2013 AFC Champions League appearance. As Copa90 puts it, “Vegalta: Soccer, Tsunami and the Hope of a Nation” is story that stretches from Sendai to Seattle to Ipswich Town. It captures how small our globe is, and how enormous soccer can be.