Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the Sounders Family has rallied together to face an unprecedented challenge.

With everyone practicing social distancing, it’s easy to feel isolated. But these scary times have also fostered new avenues for hope as we stay at home together.

Enter Courtney Cooper, AKA The Tallest Coop on Twitter, a diehard Sounders fan with an affinity for art. When Coop – as she likes to be called – lost her job due to the COVID-19 crisis, she began producing coloring-book drawings and posting them on Twitter as a fun activity for fellow fans to pass the time.

“I’ve done coloring pages for a while for fun,” she said in a phone interview with this week. “I just wanted to give people some stuff to do while we’re all stuck at home.”

While Coop has always enjoyed drawing, it’s become a more serious endeavor for her over the past year. She began taking digital media classes, blending her love of art with her passion for the Sounders.

Her favorite subject, though, is Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, due to his down-to-earth persona and affection for the club.

“When we score a goal, his reactions are so genuine,” said Coop, who was born in Seattle but currently lives in Southern Oregon. “I watch him, and I can tell he’s a fan of the team, just like me.

“I’ve met him a couple of times and he’s just the nicest man. I don’t ever feel intimidated about him, which is nice as a fan to not feel nervous meeting someone like that. I feel like we’re so lucky to have him.”

It makes sense then that the first coloring-book drawing Coop posted on Twitter was of the Seattle Sounders steward.

A prominent and supportive community of Sounders fans exists on social media, which has become increasingly important as people across the country practice stringent social distancing.

The outpouring of encouragement that Coop received from fellow fans on Twitter inspired her to continue producing and posting more coloring pages.

“I don’t think I would’ve done any of this stuff if I didn’t have the connection that I do with Sounders fans online,” she said. “Seeing all the community on Twitter has been inspiring for me as a fan to create stuff. Hopefully, other people enjoy it.”

Her next two posts, one of Clint Dempsey celebrating a goal and another of Cristian Roldan making pizza, included helpful tips for how to slow the spread of COVID-19. They eventually caught the attention of a rather prominent artist in the Sounders Family: goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

Stuck at home with nothing to do last Monday, Coop noticed her phone had started lighting up and buzzing.

“I looked at it and saw I was tagged in something, so I pulled my wife over and was just like, ‘oh God, oh God,’” Coop recalled. “I watched the video with her, and it was just really, really cool. His joke about his hairline was great.”

“It was so great to have him be the guy in that video. Out of all the players, that was one of the coolest players I could’ve asked for – no offense to anybody else. But it’s the guy who got us our first MLS Cup, so that was really cool.”

After watching Frei’s video, Coop accepted the challenge, posting her illustration of Frei within a few days.

As an out-of-state fan, Coop has long relied on the community fostered online with fellow supporters to get her Sounders fix. Their positive reception to her artwork, as well as Frei’s video, made the whole experience even more special.

“I’ve had a few followers that know I’ve been making art for a while, and them seeing me getting recognized by the club is pretty fun,” added Coop. “I follow the Sounders very religiously, so I’ve had nothing to focus on. And then having something from the Sounders with me directly involved is just really cool.”

Schmetzer, who often refers to himself as a simple steward of the organization, is fond of saying that the club is connection between the players and the fans. As the Sounders community stays at home together, the players’ eagerness to engage with fans online has been a crucial silver lining during an unprecedented crisis.

We’ll get through this together. And with fans like Coop stepping up to help out fellow members of the Sounders family during a difficult time, we might just come out of this stronger as a community.

“I always think that we’re really lucky to have a club that cares about social media and online interactions because I think it makes fans feel more special,” said Coop. “Instead of just following a team blindly, you feel connected. I feel like the Sounders go out of their way to make fans feel like they’re part of it.”

You can find all of Coop’s artwork here and support her future endeavors on Twitter at @TheTallestCoop and on Instagram at @IKnowCoop.

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