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Sounders FC: Authentic Masterpeice

Mike Gastineau's latest book is a study in how a minor league team went from after thought to the team in its league that refined off field success.

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The book Sounders FC: Authentic Masterpeice | The Inside Story of The Best Franchise Launch In American Sports History (already available at Amazon) starts back on that March night when Seattle Sounders FC won their first game, but that's not where the story starts. Mike Gastineau weaves through time, talking about the unique way that fans, owners, players and executives took the history and heritage of soccer in Seattle heaved it onto the backs of a minor league team losing money and becoming the greatest expansion team in American history.

One thing that's kind of odd about writing a review of this book is that I was one of the subject matter interviewed. There's good news. Gasman does not include many quotes from yours truly. Instead he focuses on stories from players, team officials and ECS leadership to tell this tale.

New information for the dedicated is peppered throughout the book. Nuggets looking into how the Seahawks-Sounders relationship works, how the stadium got built and what Hanauer learned while losing money in the USL will be of great interest to readers of Sounder at Heart.

But there's more than just that. This book tells the early chapter in the city's MLS history, a history that pushed the club to a place of huge expectations and a bankroll that could afford Clint Dempsey.

Each chapter is named after a specific place, date and time. So, many of the major moments are not in Seattle. Minneapolis, Cabo San Lucas, LA, Tonisvorst, I-10 in the South, Hollywood, San Salvador, Mount Rainier and Mercer Island all have a place in the story. But it is the neighborhoods of Seattle and the stadium itself that are the heart of the tale.

Success this large took a generous bit of good fortune, opportunity and, of course, planning. Readers will be introduced to the individuals that were lucky, risky and who made the differences. The faces of the franchise are Joe Roth, Adrian Hanauer, Drew Carey and Paul Allen. You also meet those who worked for them both on and off the pitch.

One such story is about Sigi Schmid. Like many of the sections of Sounders FC: Authentic Masterpiece it does not start with how Seattle acquired him. It instead goes back to his roots in soccer as a youth and follows his journey through UCLA, the LA Galaxy, the Columbus Crew and finally to Seattle. At one point you learn how Sigi went from part-time coach and part-time accountant to full-time coach.

In the summer of 1983 Schmid was having a meeting in his office with Cal Wallace, a partner in the accounting firm, when the phone rang. Schmid had been meticulous about not allowing his two careers to interfere with one another, but on the line was a parent whose son was being recruited to play soccer at UCLA. The father had several questions and Schmid began mumbling answers into the phone.

"I'm looking at Cal and I'm trying to disguise that it's a soccer call," he says, laughing. "But this guy is talking to me about his son leaning towards San Diego State. I'm trying to answer his questions without being soccer specific. Eventually I hang up the phone and Cal goes ‘that was a soccer call wasn't it? It's time we had a talk.'"

It is the personal stories that Gastineau captures best. Not, the numbers or lists of major events he dives into, but the people that made this thing that is Sounders FC what it is.

If you enjoy stories about people Sounders FC: Authentic Masterpiece is for you. If you love this club and still can't understand how it became what it is, the book is for you. If you want everything Sounders related, well this is Sounders related.

Gas is hosting a release party at The Market Arms where you can get a signed book, meet the subjects of your passion (and the book) and do a little good. The book is available now via Amazon now and will be released over Kindle in the coming weeks.

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