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Ship's Log, Aug 21, 2023: We set sail

The Ship's Log will feature different column authors (Jeremiah in this first entry) with a links section curated by our full staff. Today's entry covers the SaH 3.0, looking back at the major stories of the weekend (Spain, Miami, USWNT) and what happened in local soccer.

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8 min read
Dozens of boats at Shilshole Marina. The glow of a sunrise coats the clouds in the sky. The masts of the sailboats are refl

Dearest readers,

I come to you brimming with excitement over the future of this site and buoyed by the support you've shown us over the past couple of weeks since we first shared our plans. Although our official move to has been delayed a bit, we're charging forward into this brave new world.

As you're reading this, we have nearly 950 paid subscribers and more than 1,500 people who have signed up to receive our various newsletters. We still have quite a bit of work to do before we reach long-term sustainability, but this is a much stronger start than we had originally anticipated. We had our first real stress-test during Sunday's game and while it was not perfect, the issues were resolved and I think we're in much better shape now.

On a purely personal level, I also wanted to share that my emotions have been all over the place. Ever since Vox Media/SB Nation agreed to this transition plan, I've felt like a dog who finally caught the car. I knew this was something I wanted and our staff was extremely supportive, but I wasn't quite sure how I was going to turn this into something that could truly stand on its own.

It has been a lot of hard work over many months, but with the extraordinary support and help from my colleagues, I am very bullish on our future. I don't intend to bog this down with too many names, but I should say that this would have been literally impossible if Dave Clark hadn't started this site way back in 2008 nor would we be here now without the support of Vox Media and SB Nation over the past 14 years. Similarly, I doubt we're in this position if Aaron Campeau hadn't asked me to do a podcast with him more than a dozen years and 400 episodes ago. More recently, LikkitP has been doing a ton of work to help make the site function how it's supposed to and Matt Montgomery deserves all the credit for making sure our comments section was functional, even dropping in to manage issues in real time last night. I will also note that virtually everyone who wrote or shot photographs for us at the old site has chosen to make the leap with me, including the amazing team at Ride of the Valkyries. This is not a worthwhile project without them. Of course, none of us would be doing this if you all weren't reading, listening, and supporting our efforts.

I say all this because I wanted to underscore just how much of a team effort this has been. Without hyperbole, Sounder at Heart is the most valuable community I've ever been a part of. When I moved to Seattle in 2009, this was how I connected to my new city. Through Sounder at Heart, I was able to embark on a new career. I've met so many interesting people covering the greater Seattle soccer scene, both as sources and acquaintances. Many of the people I now consider my closest friends I met through all of this.

My hope is that this is reflected in our new endeavor and I hope you feel a sense of ownership of it as well. I know it's corny, but I really think this project can be a beacon of hope in what has often felt like a depressing landscape when it comes to both media in general and soccer media in particular. We have the power to make this as inclusive, fun, and interesting as we want it to be. That means embracing honest debate, questioning our assumptions, pressing for evidence, providing examples, sharing what we know and humbling ourselves enough to challenge our biases.

To some degree, those things will always be somewhat tied to the fortunes of our favorite teams, but we can also rise above that if we choose. Results like last night's are not fun to watch. Our aim to dig into why those performances happen and how we avoid them in the future. We should hold the Sounders and Reign to the levels of success they've achieved until now and push them even higher, but that doesn't mean their fortunes have to define this space. We can make it the kind of place we want to spend our time and emotional energy regardless of results.

Thank you for taking this journey with me and remember, You'll Never Yacht Alone. - Jeremiah

P.S. The Ship's Log (aka Sounder at Heart - Everything you need to know) will feature different column authors with a links section curated by our full staff. You can receive the Ship's Log newsletters in your email or view it online. You manage your newsletters in your profile.

Looking Back

Spain wins; Messi wins; USWNT reset continues

Spain's players overcame issues with their coach and their president. Still, Spain conquered the world, beating England 1-0 in the Women's World Cup Final.

It is Spain's first-ever major tournament victory and only their second medal in major competition. The expansion of competition to 32 teams didn't result in more blowouts and granted the world new heroes and new stories, and the fall of giants.

No matter your thoughts about the Leagues Cup prior to its reinvention, you cannot deny that the tournament as a spectacle worked. The knockout rounds were compelling soccer and the world turned its eyes to what was going on in Miami. Inter Messi bossed the tournament on the way to their first major trophy, scoring 22 goals while powered by a global legend (can he do this on a cold night in Columbus?). Their 11-round penalty victory over Nashville was great television from the first kick to the moments when Drake Callender's kick and subsequent save sealed the tournament for Inter Miami.

Messi made certain that former IMCF captain and former Sounder DeAndre Yedlin shared in the hoisting of the trophy, with the armband on Yedlin.

After Philadelphia Union took the third place match over Monterrey, MLS has the top three spots in Leagues Cup, meaning that the competition for Concacaf Champions Cup spots will dip down to the sixth spot in the MLS Shield standings. That could go even deeper depending on who wins the Open Cup.

With the Sounders 2-0 loss they are 11th.

The U.S. Women's National Team is going through even more changes. Former Reign coach Vlatko Andonovski was already out, and buried on a Friday when the NWSL was playing and national team eyes were on a the lead-up to Women's World Cup final that didn't include the USWNT, USSF parted ways with Kate Markgraf, the GM for the women's side of the federation.

Not only was this failed USWNT team a transition between old guard and new, the administrative levels are now transitioning too. The problems go beyond just a coach, a GM and the players at the tournament. What's next? Few know.

Puget Sound Soccer

A speed run through what happened with the local pro sides and occasional mentions of other teams.

Sounders lost 2-0 to Atlanta

The Sounders turned in a frankly dispiriting performance against Atlanta, who had 70% of possession in the first half and were a bit unlucky to go into halftime leading only 1-0. The second half was better, but mainly because the standard was so low.

The West is bad this year, which may be the path to the playoffs for Seattle.

Next they're off to Minnesota United to play on FOX and Apple TV (free) at 1:30 pm PT, Sunday Aug. 27.

OL Reign return to NWSL regular season play with 1-0 loss.

The contest for the top 6 is tight.

Sunday August 27 is a heavy TV day in Seattle soccer, as Reign are at Angel City for a 5:00 pm PT match on Paramount+.

Defiance take a 2-2 shootout win

Snyder Brunell scored a 69th minute equalizer for his first MLS Next Pro goal and Jacob Castro made a couple of saves in the shootout to claim a bonus point at North Texas. They are now five points clear of second in the division, looking to repeat as Pacific Division winners.

First in the West is probably out of reach.

Friday night, before the first team faces the same organization, Defiance are at Loons2. The 5:00 pm PT match is on and the MLS YouTube channel.

Local major colleges

Husky men's soccer starts their final Pac-12 (it's actually just 6 teams) season with an out-of-conference match against South Florida on Thursday at 7:30 pm PT. Husky Women's soccer started off last week, they're already 1-0-1, +2 after beating Idaho 3-1 on Sunday. This week they play Santa Clara (Aug. 24 at 4:30 pm PT) and San Diego (Aug. 27 at 1:00 pm PT).

WSU women's soccer started off 2-0, including a 3-2 win at Texas A&M. On August 24 they head to University of Portland (7:00 pm PT) and then host Weber State at 1:00 pm PT on August 27.

Seattle U women lost their first official game of the season and then crushed Portland State 5-0 on Sunday. The Redhawks men open their season at home this week with two matches. First is San Diego (Aug. 24 at 4:00 pm PT) and then South Florida (Aug. 27 at 4:00 pm PT).

ECS Pub League is revealing their sponsors, including Sounder at Heart.