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Sounders Alliance End of Year Meeting Recap

Seattle Sounders FC's Five Cups From Left To Right - Heritage, Cascadia, USOC 2010, USOC 2011, USOC 2009
Seattle Sounders FC's Five Cups From Left To Right - Heritage, Cascadia, USOC 2010, USOC 2011, USOC 2009

When the Alliance Council asked for a larger role in the planning and execution of the End of Year Business Meeting the goal was for a more streamlined event, less repetitive Q&A and an increase in participation overall. On those three goals we probably got 2.5 right. This recap is built from the team's official live blog, my tweets from backstage and my memory of the event.

First off, I think it was important that all five MLS era trophies the team holds were there. No matter the prestige of the Heritage Cup, what it represents is still worth noting. It's also great to note that Seattle has won six trophies in their three MLS years (2010, 2011 Heritage). Compare that to the zero combined wins by the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps in their inaugural years. Adrian Hanauer and Joe Roth both noted that the lack of MLS Cup on that trophy table is a failure by the team, one that will be rectified soon.

As a member of the Council the most important thing about the event were meeting the previous goals and the result of the ratification vote. It passed with an overwhelming 96% of the vote and would like to echo acting President Paul Cox' appreciation of everyone involved in any way.

Moving on to the meeting specifics;

Majority owner Joe Roth, minority owner Drew Carey, Council member Tom Challinor and a season recap video set the stage for the overall meeting. The focus of these first 15 or so minutes was inspiration, vision, celebration of past success and yet a demand for future greatness. Later mixed into the detailed reports were speeches by Sigi Schmid and Kasey Keller. Schmid had a line that got huge applause;

This is just another example of what makes Seattle so unique. So special. And why I've never regretted the decision to come here.

Keller got even larger applause. I think that was because he's Kasey Keller.

The report from the Council noted the passing of the Constitution and Charter, enabling stronger input on gameday operations and non-business or non-soccer operations. It also publicly noted the resolutions supporting the club's attention to the US Open Cup, suggesting a scarf design contest, against artificial noise and a request for expansion of Cascadia Away Allocation.

Gary Wright was the voice of the business side of the team. Things are going quite well as the team exceeds all expectations in tickets, corporate partnerships and merchandise. Wright also noted that the team is already past its goal for 2011 retail sales, this with a few weeks left of sales. The number one focus of the business side of the team is to get as many people in CenturyLink as possible to watch the Sounders face Santos Laguna. He noted that studies still reveal that grass is not an option at this time, but that Field Turf will be updated on a faster pace so it is the highest quality possible in every year.

When Adrian Hanauer took the stage he noted that most of the roster changes were in some way planned, or at least planned for ahead of the occurrence. He reviewed the additions of Michael Gspurning and Marc Burch and then to thunderous applause noted that Mauro Rosales and the team finally reached an agreement of at least two years. A significant portion of time was dedicated to the Academy (they play this weekend) and their early successes which include 5th place nationally for the U-16s and seven call-ups to youth national team camps or rosters.

The Academy was one of the ways he noted that a team can gain competitive advantage in MLS. Other areas noted were facilities, sports sciences in training, statistical analysis and scouting. Along those lines the team is not just hosting a Vegas Combine this year, but is also participating in a combine in Trinidad to evaluate Caribbean talent. He said that the goal in roster management this year is to have a deep and balanced roster of probably 29 players who can contribute in the many competitions.

Being on stage for the Q&A probably clouds my memory a bit. The guy who talked about why the Council is dominated by Supporter Group members was pretty good though. Within the next 24 hours or so the team will be posting a video of the Q&A, since Gaschk couldn't blog every answer while also managing the twitter submissions you'll have to wait until that is posted. The ending though asked what the team would do differently based on the evening's feedback.

Joe Roth took the mic wanting to answer. He promises that the club will evaluate the way it adds noise and pomp to the games, include the Alliance in the design of the 3rd kit in some fashion and that Hanauer will be up for a retention vote in 2012. Adrian and Gary both affirmed those while noting that they do want to find ways to increase participation in Council and Alliance voting.

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