UPDATE: Craig Waibel was officially announced as the Sounders new GM on Wednesday.
The Seattle Sounders have a “major club announcement” scheduled for Wednesday at 1:30 PM. While Sounder at Heart has not yet received confirmation of what that will be, all our previous reporting suggests it is most likely to announce the promotion of Craig Waibel to general manager. It’s possible several other people in the organization will receive promotions as well.
The general manager position opened last week when Garth Lagerwey was hired away by Atlanta United to take over as their CEO.
While Waibel might not be the most exciting choice to replace Lagerwey, he does have the resume to suggest he’ll be a solid hire. Waibel first joined the Sounders in 2021 when he was hired to replace Chris Henderson as sporting director. Prior to working for the Sounders, Waibel previously replaced Lagerwey at Real Salt Lake, where he served as general manager from 2015-2019.
Under Waibel’s guidance, RSL twice made the playoffs despite working with one of the league’s lowest payrolls and dealing with significant off-field distractions. Among his more notable signings at RSL were Albert Rusnák, Jefferson Savarino and Damir Kreilach. He was also credited with helping turn the RSL Academy into one that was regularly producing MLS quality talent.
Since joining the Sounders, he has not had as much of a chance to make an impact, as the roster has been relatively stable in his two seasons. Léo Chú, Rusnák and Nicolas Benezet are probably the three most notable players the Sounders have acquired in that time. Waibel was especially influential in Rusnák’s signing, having previously scouted him before he came to MLS.
With the roster still relatively set, the Sounders are unlikely to make too many big moves this offseason, although they do likely have room to add a Targeted Allocation Money player if they so choose.