Over the past few years, the Alliance Council has repeatedly expressed to the Club's officials and owners that we enjoy a rich, honored history here in Seattle. Many fans and supporters who've started more actively following the Club since the entry into MLS in 2009 might not fully realize it, but the Seattle Sounders have enjoyed league-leading fan support since 1974.
Democracy in Sports has been a part of the DNA of the Club since the MLS team was announced. Fans spoke out - vehemently - to have "Sounders" included as a choice when naming the team, and when a write-in option was presented, the name "Sounders" won convincingly.
The Council has passed measures asking for more input on jersey/kit design, including Sounder At Heart's own Dave Clark...who penned a terrific resolution that built a process to eventually have fan input on kits - which, sadly, we have not pushed hard enough after Dave left the Council.
The Council has also strongly spoken with the owners about the need to respect the Sounders history with at least two more championship banners, celebrating the A-League championships in 1995 and 1996. Prior to the December 2013 Annual General Meeting, Joe Roth and Adrian Hanauer assured me and the rest of the Council that we would get those banners up this season.
The desire for a retro third kit or throwback night morphed into desire to strongly honor the 40th Anniversary. The Sounders started in 1974, same as the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes, and we felt it was important that the Club recognize that the history of soccer in Seattle is a huge reason for the Club's success today.
We worked up a fairly decent list of ideas for things to do. We had planned on trying to also poll the fans and supporters for additional ideas, but unfortunately ran out of time and ability to do it, but as an idea of things that we did discuss with the Club:
- A Club-facilitated tifo display running the entire stadium (both sides)
- Locker room tunnel wall display
- 40th Anniversary logo on the stadium roof
- Commemorative 40th Anniversary scarf for fans at first kick
- Honor former Sounders at every home match
- Identify and honor any/all people who've had season tickets since 1974
- Commission a film about the Club's history
- Get a street near the stadium renamed
- $19.74 specials at the Pro Shop
- Collectible cards with past and present players
- Throwback game, including jerseys and 1974 game day music
- Fan-selected 40th Anniversary Dream Team
- Sounders at 40 book or magazine
- Dig up and post on Rave TV or YouTube the old "Sounders In Review" TV shows
- Banner Day for hanging championship banners
- Soccer Tourney - fundraiser for charity, winners of tourney play an all-old-timer Sounders team pregame
- Cascadia Week - get MLS to schedule Portland and Vancouver games back-to-back, then spend the whole week celebrating Cascadia
- Sounders memorabilia/trophy room
- Fanfest Week, bringing in many of the other ideas in a single week
- "Moments in Sounders History" video shorts
- "Sounders Legend" scarf, like Golden Scarf but dedicated to a former Sounder, one per home game
As you can see, we were not wanting for ideas!
Unfortunately, we aren't able to do many of these things due to a lack of funding, but the large amount of effort and ideas that the Council presented has convinced the Club that celebrating the 40th Anniversary is indeed a worthy effort.
Through the latter half of the 2013 season, we spoke with the Club's officials a number of times on these items. We sent them the list of ideas and discussed which of them to prioritize. At the December General Meeting, during a owner-Council meeting prior to the general assembly, we again emphasized that soccer in Seattle has a long, worthy history.
The owners listened and agreed to work with us. The Club's officials have been talking with Council members (huge thanks to Likkit Pocinwong, Dan Roe, and Glenn White for their efforts) to get this ball rolling and we continue to have active discussion of how to make these things happen.
While I wish we had more time and more volunteers to help make these things a reality, I am delighted that the Club has responded very positively to the Council. We have worked to represent you, the fans, and we believe that 2014 will be a terrific testament to the longevity of our passion for the Seattle Sounders.
We (Council) haven't done a good enough job of publicizing our efforts on behalf of the fans, and that's something I am personally going to work on changing this year.
The Sounders community should know that the Council works on these things behind the scenes, and while things like the Adidas contract with MLS and other business considerations often prevent us from doing some of the really awesome thing we dream up, that doesn't mean we quit working.
Our input as a fan base is important to our Club, and they listen to us. That's Democracy in Sports, in action.