One thing that Adrian Hanauer made clear when he spoke to the media today at practice was that the move to sign Marcus Hahnemann was not out of sentimentality. The GM said, "We wouldn't have done it for sentiment. We think he's still got good goalkeeping in him. It's always an added bonus when there's a little bit of sentiment there, as well, but we're in the business of winning championships."
Hahnemann himself was asked how much time he thinks he has left. His approach is to take it 14 more months and then see what happens. The rest of this season isn't enough for him. But he also portrayed some joy about coming and playing for a club that he watched and played for in previous iterations. He now gets to wear the kit of Seattle Sounders 3.0.
"Just sitting there in the locker room before training and looking around I go ‘I can't believe I'm here,'" he said with a smile. In many ways the impression portrayed is that Marcus Hahnemann is in a bit of a dream. When Hanauer called him last week with the opportunity Hahnemann started simple, "I was blown away." He then continued for minutes talking about how he wanted to play in Seattle and only Seattle.
For the team from Adrian, through Sigi and the players. This move is about winning more games, getting better and adding another competitor into the tight backup keeper competition.
For fans, to include Hahnemann in some ways, this is about history and a club that never turned it's back on what made soccer succeed in earlier eras.
Hahnemann was back for one of the earlier games in Sounders FC's MLS life. The atmosphere blew him away. A few months prior he received a bit of warning when his parents purchased season tickets. He relayed to the media that he asked them if they were going to use enough tickets to justify the purchase. They told him of the 20 or 25 thousand season tickets already sold.
He knows that soccer has changed a lot from the mid 90s up to 2012 here in Washington. Men he played with back on those Championship winning teams are now leading local youth soccer clubs. The veterans he played with carry names with history - Bernie James, Chance Fry, Billy Crook. His contemporaries on that team are now names all Sounders fans know - Brian Schmetzer, Tom Dutra, Dick McCormick.
His college coach was the legendary Cliff McCrath at Seattle Pacific University. In Hahnemann's four years at Seattle Pacific they made the Final Four three times and won it all once. (SPU is currently ranked 2nd). His A-League coach? None other than Alan Hinton. They won the Championship twice and the regular season once. Hahnemann himself was twice the keeper of the year.
If there's one thing the Seattle Sounders have done it is embrace their history.
Hahnemann explains why that matters so much;
This is what it's about. The soccer in this country is so young really. You don't have the history like you do in England. To just discard that would be pretty stupid. We built up that fanbase back in the NASL with the Sounders and then [we] start it again, we had 12,000 in Memorial for the Playoffs. It was a sellout there. They brought in extra seats and we thought that was the best it was going to get.
Next thing you know, once you start getting 30,000 season ticket holders it changes the perspective of everybody. Now you have average sports fans going to the game. That would never have happened in the past. That is the key. People go to down and they go to the after-game and the bars in town and the different pubs around the stadium, the place is jamming. The whole atmosphere, that's what everybody wants.
With that history, that all kind of comes in. You still have a lot of the old players around it makes it what it is.
Very early in the club's existence a choice was made by the fans. They would be Sounders. It empowered the team to embrace that past. The broadcasts, the coaching staff, the Academy and even the 2009 roster were full of linkages from Sounders 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0.
Marcus Hahnemann is another one of those links. He played with and was coached by NASL legends under the very name he now wears. For Marcus this is about getting another year or more of quality playing time for his club. For Adrian and Sigi it is about strengthening the team in their continuing quest for the MLS Cup or more. For the fans of this team, it has a bonus. It is another link to a history that has strengthened this side's connections to the community.