I like the way this team thinks. We the fans are a part of it, it is truly our team. It is a team that has valued the passion that we have for our region, that tries to connect in ways that most American teams either don't or can't.
Tonight the fan conference was an opportunity to drink beer with the new Coach - Sigi Schmid. He is quite simply one of only two coaches that could be called the best in league history. Today he made his connections to our community strong, and showed a desire to make it stronger. Sigi wants the energy in the stands and on the pitch to reflect and amplify, to take over the stadium and the game.
Sigi has two Supporter's Shields, two MLS cups. How 'bout in '09 he gets his second Open Cup?
In taking intelligent questions from the fans he was asked a few things that I recall after this late in the evening.
First and foremost - Supporter's Groups matter. Passion matters. He credited part of the success of the Crew in 2008 as being due to the support of their separate groups.
He won't try and pigeonhole his players, but will instead focus on whatever style is best for his players. Almost certainly there will be 4 in the back, with two mids and two forwards, but the other two players will depend on the skill set of the players he has. Calabro mentioned that in his discussion with Sigi about the club that it sounds like there might be a similarity between the mid-90s Sonics with their strong defense that leads to the attack.
Sigi mentioned that though he favors the attack the best way to get the ball to run the plays is by
attackingdefending. He also mentioned that his team's have a goal of grabbing the ball in their own attacking third. This actually fits the Sonics metaphor with the trap they ran in order to prevent ball advancement. So while Sigi tried to deny the similarity a bit, I think you could see some stuff where the forwards trap the ball in the opponent's third similar to Payton and McMillan back in the 90s.
Its a good metaphor, and it shows something that I have long suspected. KC gets it.
I will admit that I am biased in favor of the guy, we worked together a bit back in 99-01 while I was the producer for the Sonics broadcast network at KJR-AM Seattle. I chatted up Kevin for a little bit about his learning curve and I'm rather impressed.
I asked about how many games he watches a day and the response was "at least one." Yeah, seriously. He has stressed the EPL, but also mentioned that he has recorded several MLS games to keep watching and seeing how they are called. I also asked if he does the standard trick of calling along with games, and got a solid "of course." He's talking to other play-by-play guys, and he's learning.
We literally have the chance to have the best TV coverage in the game.
Lastly, I talked to four members of the band, but that's an entirely different post coming up.
Ok, that wasn't the last, the last is that this thing is still gaining momentum. Today I know of at least two non-soccer fans that were at the event due to it being an event. One was a coworker, and the other was Brian F of Barcelona. He got an ECS scarf tonight, and I talked up the game and team a bit. We might not have another season ticket holder, but we have another friend of the game.
This is our team
This is our league
This is our region
We are Sounders