18 October 2018
By Molly Wagner
“Hi! Are you a season ticket holder? Have you voted?”
Those are the words we said over and over, the questions asked on repeat over the last three matches. “Are you a season ticket holder?” Well, are you? We in Soundersland are presented with an anomaly in the world of pro sports. We can decide if our general manager, our president of soccer can keep his job. We can do this with a vote simply saying, “yes I have faith in your plan” or” no, I don’t like you or what you stand for”. We are spoiled. We are gifted with a front office that actually cares about the bond between the fans and the team. It can be tricky to get them to listen, but they do. More so than we know.
The other day at the home match against Houston, I was one of the people asking random fans “Hey! Are you a season ticket holder?” It was an interesting experience to say the least. We quickly looked for the signs of people who you could tell had been to a match or two. Clear bag? Older scarf? How much Sounders gear? Rain gear? We got a lot of folks, putting their hand in our face saying “No, we’re not interested.” But we weren’t selling anything. “No, we don’t care.” This one in particular bothered me. It’s a Monday night game, it’s raining, you drove over an hour to get here based on that crest on your coat, and it’s a team that we should be able to beat going into the international break. You’re here; clearly you do care on some level. To hear how our fan base feels alienated based on their location is disturbing. Sounders have always come from far and wide. There are folks who came from a hell of a lot further away who voted. Why? Because it matters. Even on a deeper level we know it matters to us, to the front office, to the entire body of MLS. No, I am not saying that if we keep Garth the entirety of the league will care, but if we vote out our President of Soccer the entire league will wonder as they often do, “What’s going on in Seattle?”
It took me a long time to decide how to use the voice my season tickets gave me. I did my homework, studied speeches Garth has given over his current term, and I have looked at what he done previously with Real Salt Lake. His impact on the first team, the academy system, the game we hold so dear. Over and over, listening to him speak. When Garth speaks, I suggest you grab a pen and take some notes. You are going to want to focus on every word he says and the tone in which he says it. He tends to speak on a level that is beyond the average fan’s knowledge. The last thing I listened to before I voted was a conversation of his from a podcast. He sounded like he’d been humbled by the whole experience, as if the fan base was able to look him in the eye and say “hey buddy, it’s time you listen to us.” I even went so far back to listen to the Business Meeting at the end of last season, for the fourth or fifth time.
Dissecting what he said, wondering if he has carried out his promises. Have those of us on the alliance council fulfilled our commitments to the fan base and to the season ticket holders; even those that say they don’t care? I used my vote and I am proud of the work I put in to gather my own conclusions of what Garth is attempting to do with this club.
I will take as many rain dampened evenings standing on the concourse getting hands in my face from men and women saying “I don’t care,” “I’m not interested,” or “We don’t want whatever you’re selling.” With a laugh at this and a smile on our faces, we kept asking folks if they would care to vote. Even as men often stopped and stared at us; a certain creepy feeling sinking into our skin. We kept going and for every single creep, we had at least 5 people that were, in fact, excited about using their voice.
What alarmed me, however, were the season ticket holders that didn’t understand what was going on. This didn’t go unnoticed; how can we make this more visible? When we all walk around with mini computers in our pockets, yet we seem to be confused as to how best utilize this tool, this opportunity. Have we let the fanbase down? Have we let ourselves down? Have we let this process, which our owners have given us and have faith in, fail? This isn’t my first general manager vote, I like many others voted Adrian in. I wanted that one to be a success as much as I do this one. We owe it to ourselves, to take the two minutes out of our day to vote, to use our voice as a whole.
The first day of the vote on September 19, we hosted the Union. My family and I were walking to a bar near the stadium, fairly early before the match. I saw Garth walking out of the stadium and he looked nervous. Anxious. He has, in every conversation I’ve been a part of, looked uneasy; uncertain of what his future may hold. The body language of what he’s not saying is just as important to this as the actual words coming from his mouth. Have you met him? He is a decent human being with his heart in the right place. He didn’t have to come out of his way to make sure he shook my hand that day. Those are the little acts, that proves to me he really does care about this community. If you are willing to listen, really listen to him. He seems to be willing to do the same. It takes a certain level of thick skin to hold a position of such public access and public scrutiny.
If nothing else, do you remember what happened the last time we didn’t use our voices and our rights to vote? Yes, you do.
I’m going to ask one more time. “Hi! Are you a season ticket holder? Have you voted?” Well, have you?
18 October 2018
By Martin Buckley
Alliance Council are reaching out to the broad Seattle Sounders fan base to look for insightful questions that you want to be asked at the Annual Business Meeting.
Representatives from Club Ownership, Front Office, Playing Staff and Alliance Council will be present at the meeting.
Please submit your question below – we will review all of them.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
September 4, 2018 -7:00PM- The NINETY
Lisa Angeles, Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Alex Eagleton, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jerry Neil, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Jeff Williams
Molly Wagner, Mike Dollard, Gilbert Ko, Jesse Kilgore, Todd Cowles, Peter Buck
I. Call to order: Martin Buckley
II. Roll: Darla Langdon: 12 of 18 present
III. Guest: Alex Roldan
Alex Roldan spent the first part of the meeting with Alliance Council. Council members were able to ask questions and spend time with Alex.
IV. First order of business: Peter Buck Announcement
Martin had been in communication earlier in the day with Peter Buck, it was announced that he would no longer be able to continue with his Alliance Council term. Unfortunately for us, a change in his work load prohibits him from taking on any additional tasks and commitments- he will be missed.
V. Second order of business: Celebration of Players
Dan Roe had posted on Facebook floating out the idea or questions of why or what could we do for a players recognition of service to the Club at their retirement or in honor of them, similar to Seahawks “Ring of Honor”, lots of input was given, ideas were being thrown around including:
- Potential requirement of contribution to Club
- Golden Scarves
- Timeline (include FO/ownership Sounders)
Committee was formed and will get ideas/ suggestions on paper and come back to October meeting to present/ discuss as a group further.
Committee will be comprised of: Daniel Roe, Alex Eagleton, Nicholaus Biela, Molly Wagner and Nick Biesold, Jerry Neil
VI. Third order of business: 10 Years of the Alliance/Participation
Martin Buckley started off discussing at our last meeting how each Alliance member present stated that they were excited and committed to putting in the work for the celebration of the 10 Years of the Alliance. To date, he knew only five people had logged on and / or contributed.
This brought up the conversation that has been had in the past- it’s fun to get the fun stuff- the surprise player visits, the meetings with ownership, the inside scoop and unprecedented access to the Club for our opinions, concerns and feedback. None of this however can happen if we don’t continue to put in the work and make a conscience effort to make it mean something. Do the people that take meeting minutes, volunteer for special projects, work the events, take on additional tasks get what the people who show up the first Tuesday of every month and do the bare minimum? Do we start doing a “frequent flyer” type of recognition for those that go above and beyond the minimum so when it comes down to special events or access to the Club those get picked first?
There were a few comments about having access to the Teams site – Martin stated that he’d help those that need to have access but reminded us all that we need to commit to The Alliance otherwise the “why’s” we came up with last meeting mean nothing.
VII. Motion to adjourn meeting and seconded.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
August 7, 2018 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY
Present: (12 of 18 present)
Nicholaus Biela, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Mike Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Jesse Kilgore, Gilbert Ko, Darla Langdon, Dan Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Jeff Williams
Lisa Angeles, Peter Buck, Nick Biesold, Roberta King, Jerry Neil, Molly Wagner
I. Call to order – Martin Buckley
II. Roll – Cameron Collins
III. Council Working Session:
a. Council Structure
President Martin Buckley opened the conversation by asking members how we see Council as the Alliance grows in numbers: 50,000 members? 60,000? Close to 70,000?
Open dialog regarding future structure:
- Nicholaus Biela: doing the math, brings up that Council Members presently represent about 1500 Alliance Members. He is interested in new ways to reach Alliance Members: digital town halls, AMAs (ask me anything), etc. Give people opportunities for communication with Council Members. Jesse Kilgore: what about a quarterly newsletter pushed out by the Club?
- Suggestion: what about the originally suggested format of the current Council plus the ‘one mayor per seating section’ that meets quarterly? Cameron expresses concern that the Council could become too elite.
Council Structure Group: Martin, Todd, Nicholaus
President Martin Buckley moves to the next topic: workload and rewards vs. incentives. ‘Frequent Flier Program’ was developed previously.
- Too many incentives and we attract people who only show up for the incentives
- Work is falling to the few – too little is being accomplished: people agree to do the work and then just don’t do it. Same problem that has been going on since Council started.
- Group participates in questions about what motivates them as individuals, why they came to Alliance Council.
c. Ten Years Project
VP Stephanie Steiner covers Ten Years of the Alliance project
- Little movement since beginning of the year, when we thought we’d have Club support. Kyle Sheldon quit and Taylor is covering his job.
- If this project is to move at all, we have to get assignments done.
- Everyone in the room agrees to participate in Ten Years project
- Jesse will create an outline of how to write a blog for the project
- Stephanie has a skeleton outline of topics
- The Visibility group has discussed the project and has additional topics
- Roberta completed a piece previously, but it was removed from the website because it needed supporting content in context.
Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
August 2018 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY
Call to Order
Call to order 7:00 PM
Present: Nick Biesold, Jerry Neal, Stephanie Steiner, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Lisa Angeles, Daniel Roe, Nicholaus Biela, Alex Eagleton, Jesse Kilgore, Martin Buckley, Gilbert Ko, Jeff Williams.
No one on phone.
Season Ticket Member Celebration and Renewals – Mikaela Purvis
Welcome back Mikaela!
Renewals: Front Office survey of Season Ticket Members showed that 13% rated some degree of overall dissatisfaction: team performance is first priority and second is match day experience,
Inconvenient scheduling and resell are the new challenges for this year.
Value concession items: the Club is working on concession deals to offer fans at each match, similar to the hot dogs/drinks/popcorn deals that have been offered in the past. It’s possible that there could be a variety. This conversation is in progress
- There are no resell fees through SeatGeek for 2019 for Season Ticket Holders
- Sounders offer AAA services on match day.
- STM can purchase discounted season parking pass
- STM may opt out of scarf and make RAVE Foundation
- 12 month payment plan
- Sounders are looking for a transportation partner
- Some other cool benefits surrounding 10 Years of Sounders in MLS
Green Zone (Hawk’s Nest, North End of stadium) Rows S and higher will be closed next year. Covered in tarp.
– weighted average 1.5 % increase.
– 42.1% of seats sold are decreasing in price or staying flat
– 26.7 decreasing
-15.4 staying flat
There are no increases larger than 3.8%.
Edit preferences 1 August
First payment 4 September
Suggestions from council.
– Allow the fans to know the final price.
– The payments can be adjusted if seats are different price.
Season Ticket Member Celebration:
Save the date STM Celebration August 19 11AM to 2PM
Number one request from fans are photo opportunities and autographs.
Scarf vote: will present the final 5 at STM Celebration – samples of the scarves will be there.
Scarf Vote update (for 2019 scarf)
The plan is to get the choices of scarfs from 42 to 5.
The scarves will be gifted to the final 5. Voting in person through the phone at the event. Trying not to compete with GM vote and cause voters’ fatigue.
Some open brainstorming from council to get more participate:
-links to software to help design.
-student version of Photoshop
-5 finalists get to keep the scarves
-Larger window of time to design
-provide the logo, Sounders FC fonts, etc.: make it easier for non-professional designers without access to that art
-important that it remains ‘from the Alliance Council’ and not commercially sold
Martin showed all 42 entries on-screen.
GM Vote update Martin, Alex, Jeff
– Alliance Council met with Adrian + Garth
2018 Alliance Council Projects
Status and feedback from project leads and sub-teams keep the reviews coming.
Please take picture of food and send to Alex. Alex posted a picture of food on Facebook, and asked people to guess what it was. Different burgers in stadium: John Howie was the worst and cost the most. Alex will send reviews to Taylor and have them forward to First and Goal Hospitality.
Jersey: Jersey team was not given an update, but Stephanie and Martin had a little information. All are frustrated with the lack of creativity pushed upon us by Adidas and MLS.
Adidas is pushing MLS clubs to more and more similarity, yet promoting creativity and edginess but not honoring either. Both Council and Club are frustrated. Alliance Council is considering its next steps carefully.
Match day no update
Sitting vs standing: club making calls to season ticket holders. No one present had received such a call. Council members expressed frustration over not being included in this conversation to solve sitting vs standing.
Travel: still working.
August meeting: will be a working/planning meeting.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
June 5, 2018 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY
Present (16 of 18): Lisa Angeles, Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Peter Buck, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Alex Eagleton, Jesse Kilgore, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jerry Neil, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.
Via telephone (0): None.
Absent (2): Michael Dollard and Gilbert Ko.
I Call to order – Martin Buckley
II Roll – Cameron Collins: 14 of 18 Present
III. Strategy Session on RAVE Foundation with Ashley Fosberg, Executive Director of the RAVE Foundation, and Kinberly Aigner, Director of Community Outreach at Sounders FC: The strategic objective of RAVE Foundation is to lead, serve, and invest in the community.
→ Lead: Drive awareness and engagement around key community initiatives through the sounders brand. This includes sustainability, Give Big, Pride, Special Olympics, and Kick Childhood Cancer.
SUSTAINIBILITY: RAVE is working with Washington Green Schools to aid in sustainability, as well as promote sustainability internally. WGS reaches out to 500 schools across the state and helps school with whatever they want to do to be more sustainable. Internally, the Sounders FO has started a green team that meets monthly with members from each of the Sounders departments.
GIVE BIG: They encouraged players, fans, and staff to select their nonprofits of choice and take action. Seattle Foundation will no longer be doing the Give Big event, this the Sounders FO and RAVE are looking at how to continue to work with nonprofits in a similar capacity moving forward.
PRIDE: They are working to promote LGBTQ awareness and equality in sports. 90% of LGBTQ youth has not had a positive experience in sports. They will work with Athlete Ally to put on a coaching clinic on how to make the locker room and the team an LGBTQ friendly experience. They have also created a Sounders FC GSBA Scholarship, which will give $10,000 a year to their selected scholar. More information available here: https://www.soundersfc.com/post/2018/06/04/sounders-fc-announces-establishment-club-sponsored-gsba-scholarship-through-2020.
SPECIAL OLYMPICS: The Special Olympics USA Games is in Seattle. RAVE will be involved in soccer events at Championship Field at Seattle university and one match at University of Washington. They are looking for volunteers to show up and support the players July 2-5. There are attempting to foster a culture of inclusion. They have a unified team that plays matched against other unified teams, including a match against Portland. More information can be found here: https://www.soundersfc.com/post/2018/05/25/sounders-fc-hosts-special-olympics-unified-signing-day.
KICK CHILDHOOD CANCER: RAVE is focusing on creating empowering & inspirational experiences for kids battling cancer and their families. This year, there is an honorary team captain that walks out with our team captain who is battling cancer or who has battled cancer in the past. Kick Childhood Cancer month is in September. Last year they did the Out for Blood campaign with Zach Scott to get people to donate to Bloodworks NW. They will be doing something similar this year. Sept 4th they will be having blood drives. They will choose 4 Bloodworks NW locations outside of the Seattle area to run campaigns as well. September 29th is our annual Kick Childhood Cancer match.
→ Serve: They are constantly working on how to create a culture of service. Last year they did monthly staff opportunities to serve in the community during work hours. This year they want fans to be involved, so there will be a fan call to action.
→Invest: Sounders invests in our community through RAVE Foundation. Their mission is to strengthen communities and build small fields for free play.
RAVE TARGET NEIGHBORHOODS: South Park, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Yesler, Lake City, White Center, Burien, SeaTac, Des Moines, Tacoma, and Tukwila. There will be one or more programs in all of these communities. The Yesler Field will open this August and the grand opening celebration will be in September. They are also looking in to futsal courts, one of which has already been created at Beverly Park.
RAVE Octagon: Eight sided play space where kids can play. There have funded 2 so far. There are opportunities for partners to be involved with branding.
RAVE Programs. They are planning soccer camps and clinics in communities of need. They will give as many kids as possible a soccer ball. They have also created a Sports Media Institute where kids from RAVE target communities apply to be involved. It includes 20-60 kids. They have also created a Science of soccer program, which uses soccer to teach STEM/science and math subjects. It is a 12 weeks long and based on Washington state requirements and is designed as both an after school and in school program.
IV 2018 Alliance Council Projects
Scarf Vote: They talked to Front Office about our prosed timeline and alterations to the vote. The Club are going to run a traditional scarf vote with voting online and voting in person at the fan event. They are going to start sending out information on how to submit a design in the middle of the month and in early to mid-July the council will narrow them down. On July 19, the top 5 will be shown at the fan event. Announced at Sounders home match on Sept 19th.
GM Vote: Council is meeting with Adrian Hanauer and Garth Largerwey this week to talk about the GM vote and express fan frustrations. Council members will then be able to go forth and speak their mind on what they think about the plans moving forward. We will have a four week voting window from end of September to end of October carried out electronically by a third party so that it is fully auditable. There are two thresholds. For the vote to count, there needs to be a certain threshold of alliance members voting. For this quorum, it needs to be 40% of Alliance Members to be valid. For an action to be taken there needs to be a supermajority of the votes, or 66%. If quorum not met, no action is taken. If supermajority is not met, no action is taken.
10-Year Anniversary of the Alliance: Until the Front Office hires a new person to handle this, we are in a holding pattern.
Away Travel: Nothing to report.
Community Involvement: A few events coming up that line up with the RAVE pillars. July 2 with Special Olympics is one event we are all encouraged to attend.
Food & Beverage: The group is looking for volunteers to taste food. Martin will get in touch with the Club to try and get this going. Anyone who eats the food on the council, please take a picture and write down 2-3 sentences about it.
Jersey Group: We met with the Club and saw the two potential mockups of the 2020 jersey and gave our feedback.
Matchday Experience: No update.
Outreach & Visibility: The group is putting together all of tehir ideas.They have been throwing them out and now need to create overarching goals and make asks of council and Front Office. They will work in tandem with other groups so as to not redo work already being done in other groups.
Youth Outreach: Todd talked with Ashley, Todd, and Taylor, and is working on a meeting with them on working with youth, getting butts in seats, and discussing how the Council can be involved with that. Molly was contact with the Reign and they may be interested in helping with some youth outreach. Summer is a good time to get involved with youth outreach.
Sitting vs. Standing: The Club has started to work on this issue internally. Council has anecdotes and real data and will meet with the Front Office to move it forward. Council Members want Questions about Sitting vs Standing to be a part of renewals. Council President Martin Buckley and Council Vice President Stephanie Steiner expressed their frustrations that Council has not been included in a collaborative conversation on this topic the Council has tried to tackle for many years now.
Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
May 1, 2018 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY
Present (14 of 18): Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Peter Buck, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Michael Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Roberta King, Gilbert Ko, Jerry Neil, Stephanie Steiner, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.
Via telephone (3): Lisa Angeles, Jesse Kilgore, and Darla Langdon.
Absent (1): Daniel Roe.
I Call to order – Martin Buckley
II Roll – Cameron Collins: 14 of 18 Present
III. Strategy Session on Marketing and Game Presentation with Todd Albright, Sounders FC Director of Marketing and Fan Experience
Todd has worked for the Club for two years. He originally started as an employee of the Seattle Supersonics. Before he was an employee of the Sounders, he was an Alliance Member.
→ Marketing Goals for 2018: Average attendance was 44,247 per game in 2017. In 2018, the Club is hoping to exceed that number. The overarching goal is to sell out all of CenturyLink by 2026.
→ 2018 Marketing Areas of Focus: The Sounders hope to capitalize upon the World Cup. The team could have up to 4 players playing in the tournament. The Club already has a Sounders in Russia webpage set up and will have World Cup watch parties. They also plan to giveaway trips similar to the Rivalry Road Trip contest they just had to win a trip to Portland for the 100th ever matchup between the Sounders and Timbers. Over half of the people who entered were not Alliance Members. Sounders will also be launching a page to highlight the Sounders/Timbers rivalry leading up to the matches this season.
→ Gameday Presentation: There are some exciting changes coming to the Gameday Presentation. They are going to rework the tunnel where the players enter, allowing more media access to the players as they are about to enter the field. The goal is to have this completed for the Portland match on June 30th. It will be temporary, so it can go in and out for Seahawks game.
Passionate discussion about pre-game happy hour beer pricing in Stadium. The club is missing an opportunity to get people in earlier. New LED boards are going in for the next match. Almost all of the music in the stadium is now from local bands. Members of the Council talked about how much they love Jonathan Wright, the new National Anthem performer.
IV Bylaw 10, Second Reading: As we have been talking with the Club about the forthcoming General Manager vote, the Front Office asked that we more cleanly define who is eligible to participate in the vote under our new Constitution. The proposed new language for Bylaw 10 is as follows:
BYLAW 10. ALLIANCE MEMBER ELIGIBILITY
The Alliance Council may allow additional memberships into the Alliance beyond those members with commercially purchased ticket packages.
10.1 Purchase Price: Membership in the Alliance may be purchased; the price shall be $75 per season.
10.2 Funds: The Alliance Council shall have the right to allocate or use the funds collected for payment to join the Alliance.
10.3 Rejection of Membership: The Alliance Council may at any time create a process to reject or eliminate members who appear to be working against our commitment to protecting, upholding, and furthering the interests of the greater Sounders community.
10.4 GM Vote and Recall voting eligibility:
10.4.1 Eligible Alliance Voters. Only Alliance Members who have purchased Full Season Ticket or Half Season Ticket packages through the Club are eligible to vote in a GM vote.
10.4.2 Ticket Brokers. Club-identified commercial Ticket Brokers are not eligible to vote in a GM Vote.
The Sounders currently have one ticket broker with whom they work. This broker would be the only entity excluded under this new clause.
Moved for a vote. Seconded. Bylaw 10, as amended, passes by a vote of 13-1.
V At-Large Executive Committee Member Election:
With Karl Picard moving to ex officio, the Council has an open at-large Executive Committee position available. A call was made for nominations. Jeff Williams self-nominated for the position and ran without opposition. Jeff Williams becomes an At-Large Member of the Alliance Council Executive Committee for the 2017-18 Council Year by declaration
VI 2018 Alliance Council Projects
Scarf Vote (Roberta King & Martin Buckley): Some proposed changes to how the scarf vote works. It would fall under a new timetable. As in previous years, the Council will run the scarf vote with the Club. This time, the Council will collect the designs and reduce it to the best 4. The Club will get the scarves made so fans can see them at the Summer Fan Celebration.
The schedule has a really short voting window. A proposal came from the Council to have vote in person at Fan Celebration in the summer. This would eliminate any voter fatigue moving in to the GM vote. This idea will be taken back to the Front Office.
Youth Outreach (Todd Cowles):
- Focus:In general, they are seeking a focus around Youth Outreach that: makes a difference / moves the needle for youth in a positive way; is welcomed by the Sounders, providing benefit versus just being a distraction or added work for them; and provides easy and/or energizing opportunities for the Alliance Council and the Alliance to “lean in” and contribute. Members of the group will be reaching out to local clubs and the RAVE Foundation to see what ideas they can bring back to our Club.
- Butts in Seats:There is energy around and visible paths to good possibilities with getting youth/butts in the seats that might not normally be there. There are empty seats available and there are youth (and their families) out there that who, at worst, simply experience a great match, and at best, eventually “join the brand.”
Sitting vs. Standing (Roberta King & Lisa Angeles): Will be working with the Club to get a question on the topic in the end of year survey.
Outreach & Visibility: The Group needs a new leader with Karl Picard becoming an ex officio Council Member. Cameron Collins will be the new group leader.
Matchday Experience (Peter Buck): The group has had internal conversation about the best path forward and will be meeting with the Front Office to discuss.
Community Involvement (Darla Langdon): There are several upcoming opportunities for the Council to volunteer with the RAVE Foundation. June: YouthCare. July: 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. August: RAVE Yesler Field Opening. September: Kick Childhood Cancer Month, Day of Caring with United Way of King County, Rave Green Run, and RAVE One Ball Program. October: Washington Green Schools Project. November & December: Helping families in need during the holiday season.
Food and Beverage (Alex Eagleton & Jerry Neil): The Club heard the requests brought forth by the Council and will be working with a local winery to create a canned sparkling rosé inside the stadium.
GM Vote (Martin Buckley): The group met with Club. The Front Office knows that this is going to be big and will involve lots of messaging and marketing. The Council gave a lot of ideas to the Club that they could use to promote the vote, from paid social to the monthly magazine having a piece. Most of the lifting will be by the Front Office and they are weaving it in to their summer activities to start the conversation in August at the fan event. Mail, Social, in-game, halftime. Voting will open on the 19th of September. Will close on the 17th of October. Big unveil is at Summer Fan Event. Messaging will start in August.
Food and Beverage (Alex Eagleton): The group will be touring the stadium, eating the food and keeping track of the information they discuss. They are unhappy with the rise in beer prices and will continue a conversation with the Club on beverage selection and pricing.
Away Travel (Alex Eagleton): Jeff Williams has joined the group and they are working on ideas of how best to move forward.
10-Year Anniversary of the Alliance (Roberta King & Molly Wagner): With Kyle Sheldon leaving the Club, the champion within the FO for the Anniversary has departed. The Council will need to work with the FO on finding a new point person to carry water from the Club side.
Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn
June 2018 Meeting Recap
The meeting began with both of our guests introducing themselves to the group and a quick round robin introduction of the Alliance Council to them as well. Joining us was the lovely Kimberly Aigner, Sounders FC Director of Community Outreach as well as Ashley Fosberg, Executive Director Rave Foundation.
Initial start of their presentation was to break down their roles and what the focus pillars are; LEAD, SERVE and INVEST, and the dynamic between their two respective areas of work:
• Kimberly – LEAD & SERVE
• Ashley – INVEST
Discussed new and exciting ways they are wanting to be more focused on our community with key areas that help drive awareness through the Sounders brand. This is partnering with like-minded companies that also have a community focus that reaches out to their key initiatives in place.
These things range from looking at sustainability and how to start within and partnering with Washington Green Schools, providing education & resources in our community schools to become more sustainable and teaching kids how to conserve resources which is amazing at their outreach already! It’ll be exciting to see what our Sounders do with this knowledge. They also have a few key initiatives coming up throughout the rest of the season, some will require a call of action to fans (yeah!!) such as:
• PRIDE- promote LGBTQ awareness and equality in sports- partnering with Athlete Ally again this year to do some fun stuff such as a Coaches clinic to help focus on the fairness and equality on the pitch, the locker room and teams as a whole to be a more LGBTQ friendly experience.
• Special Olympics- USA Games- they are coming to Seattle!! Lots of volunteer opportunities such as Fans in the Stands, etc. will be an amazing experience connecting people of all abilities to show support and have a really wonderful week here in Seattle. Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris are Special Olympics Ambassadors this year and signed players to contracts even at an event at the Ninety with Coach Schmetzer was in attendance and could NOT have looked more proud of his new team in the photo released by the club.
• Kick Childhood Cancer- this is an MLS wide initiative however I found it interesting that they say- use yellow nets, yellow flags and that’s it- everything else is up to you how you want to be involved or how much you want to bring awareness, which is wonderful because the clubs can do it in their own way. How do the Sounders do that you may ask!? Great question, so far the Sounders have had extensive involvement historically with raising funds and awareness for Childhood Cancer, they currently have a Honorary Team Captain that walks out with the team- gets a shout out and a quick background on why they there on the big screen- this is a child who is either currently or has battled cancer- some TOUGH KIDS which is perfect for them to be with our boys, we are all TK’s. There will be another blood drive in September, last year they did Out for Blood w Zach Scott- this year- he has already racked to the club to be involved so that’ll be no doubt amazing! September 4th they will have blood drives even outside of the Seattle area working with 4 locations of Bloodworks NW. The date of our match for this will be 9/29 to celebrate Kick Childhood Cancer.
Working to create a culture of service such as Give Big, which sadly will not be continuing this coming year so the club is working on figuring out how to do something on their own working closely with our players passions. There will be a call to action of the fans on this- a wonderful opportunity to either donate and / or potentially volunteer!!!
Opportunities for Involvement- Events will be things each month throughout the season-
• Seattle Pride Parade
• Community MVP (Laura Clise was last years pick)
• Fan in the Stands, 2018 USA Games
• Rave Match Celebration
• fun stuff to kids w Cancer- club to announce what that entails
• Blood Drive in the Ninety
• Day of Caring
• Rave Green Run (which the Rave Foundation now runs, and will be in Tukwila!!)
• Blood donation opportunities all month long
• WA Green Schools Service Project- TBD
• Rave soccer ball giveaway events- TBD
November / December
• holiday gift drive for Rave Community School
Strengthening our community by and through the use of soccer.
Got a wonderful update on Yesler Field free play space that will be officially completed in August, ribbon cutting event to be held on September 7th. Other fun and interesting things Rave is doing our communities is:
• Futsal courts- and easy, quick, high impact way to turn a dead play space into something awesome kids can use! Currently have one in Beverly Park and are looking at new areas to convert.
• Rave octagons- pop-up free play spaces, currently have two octagons- always looking for community sponsors to invest in Rave- reach out to Ashley.
• Sports Media Institute kicked off last year- they are actively working on that again
• Sports Science- working with curriculum that meets WA State School curriculum requirements to help teach students STEM Science/ Algebra through soccer (wish I had that in school)!!!
• Strikes with Sounders
• Rave Green Run
• 50/50 Raffle- don’t forget that’s at each match and is $2.00 per ticket!!
• Rave Green Fields- creating green, free play pitches in communities of need throughout the Puget Sound area- this is a lengthier process so other opportunities to help promote strength in soccer are in place- One Ball, the octagons, etc.
Corporate sponsorships, donations are always welcome!!
These ladies are a small, yet mighty team of four—- yes FOUR! They are both heading departments and areas in our communities that do amazing things that our club is passionate about- so back them, support and shout it from rooftops what great things our club is doing, it’s pretty great!
Next up- Alliance Council recap-
• scarf vote- got news and finalized dates for how our scarf vote will go this year which will be 7/19 with the winner being announced on 9/19
• GM vote- 40% of the Alliance members votes need to be done for us to meet quorum and have our votes be valid!! Which means a LOT of people need to actually vote! Any action to be taken needs 66.6% is required for it to be a super majority if we don’t need meet quorum or 66.6% no action is taken.
• 10 Year anniversary- Roberta- no update
• Away travel- Alex- no update
• Community Involvement -Darla- lots of volunteer opportunities that would align w clubs pillars, will send those out but if anyone has a passion they’d like to share- let me know!!
• Food / Beverage- Alex- asked all of us to take a few photos of food eaten at stadium and write a few sentences about it- share w him
• Jerseys- Cameron- met w FO, saw 2 potential 2020 jersey mockups gave feedback- club appeared more welcome for the feedback (yeah!)
• Matchday Experience- Paul- nothing to report- will re-engage with the group
• Outreach & visibility- will be organizing ideas, gathering input from AC to create overarching goals to connect throughout the season
• Sitting vs Standing- Lisa- corresponded w FO regarding potential outreach by club on how to start that conversation w fans in the stands….. this has been a long, long conversation and the data the AC has supports that even a end of year question is a start!!
• Youth Outreach- Todd- talked w Ashley and will be getting a meeting in place w her and Taylor to go over ideas. Molly talked w Reign FC for potential ideas and they might be interested in partnering w the AC to do something
• Meeting summaries- need volunteers!!
7 June 2018
By Martin Buckley
In late May Alliance Council requested a meeting with Adrian Hanauer and Garth Lagerwey to represent the angst from our fellow Alliance members and to question, listen, learn and be informed.
Our goal was to meet and build our own personal thoughts on where our beloved Sounders were headed – and whether Garth was the right person for the GM role. As an informed Alliance Council – we can then talk to our fellow fans and give as much detail as possible about our personal thoughts. Read the much more emotional and less data loaded recap here.
The data drove the questions that we asked of Adrian and Garth.
- We are used to winning. Does the club believe in winning trophies of all kinds?
- Goals win games. How does the club plan to bring firepower to score goals?
- We hear stories about talent not getting signed or retained. Is there a systemic issue regarding player acquisition?
- 2018 seems like we are cursed with injuries. Why is this?
From my view in the stadium – it’s been a horrible year as a fan. Injuries, losses, Open Cup woes. If you read Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or delve into the comments on Sounder At Heart – one could immerse oneself in the collective grief and misery of the fan base. Anecdotes however, do not make for a productive meeting – so I spent a good amount of time pulling stats from MLS and seeing for myself “how bad it really is”. Was the sky falling?
If you don’t like data – look away now.
A note on the data – I used the raw information from MLS – https://www.mlssoccer.com/stats – and a whole lot of Excel and PowerBI to make some observations. It’s not Opta, it’s not professional, there may be errors. Apologies if you find something. (If Opta want to send me a subscription – I’d be happy).
First off I took the range of 2014 – 2018 for data. 2014 was a standout year – for goals, points and bringing home some silver. The key metrics I captured included: goals, shots on goal, assists, game outcome, role of scorers. Here is the data:
So a few observations as a fan:
- 2014 really was an exceptional year across all metrics.
- 2015-2017 saw a trend of improvement across all metrics.
- Goals scored and shots on goal from forwards decreased – midfield picked up a lot of the slack.
- 2018 – at 11 games into a 34 game schedule – looks pretty grim.
Looking at the top scorers who are forwards for each season (over 8 goals/season):
- 2014: Oba, Clint, Barrett: 39 goals (of 42 from forwards, 64 total)
- 2015: Oba, Clint: 25 goals (of 31 goals from forwards, 44 total)
- 2016: Jordan, Clint: 20 goals (of 20 goals from forwards, 43 total)
- 2017: Clint, Bruin: 23 goals (of 26 goals from forwards, 51 total)
Make your own conclusions about 2014 to 2017. I see a team that is doing “the right thing” – with goals being scored. I am sure there are more nuanced conversations using specific player data per game.
2018 continues to stand out with a lack of goals. I don’t think the data needs calling out – we have supported through this for 11 games.
The final data looked at the cumulative points over the 34 game season.
The bad: a linear trend leaves us with 32 points. Urg.
The good: as we recover from injuries, hopefully make some signings – it gets better.
If we have a final 23 games like the final 23 games of 2017 (regular season, not the playoffs) we close with 51 points. That’s playoffs.
June 7, 2018
By Stephanie Steiner
Council’s role in this meeting is to determine whether or not we have confidence in the plan in place: Does it make sense? Is the General Manager making good choices with the information at hand at the time? Hindsight makes us all brilliant, but that isn’t reality.
While Council President Martin Buckley took the role of Brain(iac), my role in this meeting was more in line with representing the emotions of the fan base: our disappointment, unmet expectations, and what should be done to reach the Alliance Members frustrated by our current situation. Also: when you see the data presentations that Martin brings to the meetings – I’m not going to compete with that. I’d rather lead a naked army across a cracking icy lake. He excels at data and you can read his post here.
We walked through injuries (compared to years past and data from other teams), injury timing, and recovery data. Essentially, and if you’ve been in these conversations with any of us or Adrian or Garth before you know this one already: your best players need to be on the pitch making contributions to the game. Everything boils down to that. Super-short off seasons, especially two years in a row, take their toll on players. One month off and coming right back to training for CONCACAF is brutal: players are not machines. Toronto FC is in a similar situation. There are some who might say ‘well you should have known that and rotated out your players,’ but really? This is me talking now, not them: how much tolerance would we have for a Club that whacks 15 players annually to always have players at 23-26 years of age? We love loving our lads and it takes time to build relationships. Players need time to mature and develop skill sets: and they learn them from established veterans. Locker room dynamic needs to be respected. Bonding among our men is important for all of them to trust each other and be a real team not just a product on the field. So even though I don’t know as much as most of you, I don’t care for this idea. Also: our young lads get hurt too.
We talked at considerable length about our goal scoring average, which led us into a conversation about player acquisitions: There is a plan with multiple layers. When the primary target’s contract is inked, they will announce (pending all of the normal stuff) because they love us and they want us to be happy. The primary target’s identity was not revealed; however, they did say that the current rumor fits the type of player, position, and style that they’d seek. Everything else after that is dependent on that outcome – if that player is a yes: then it’s a different set of players to pursue based on that player coming aboard. If that contract should happen to not go through, then obviously that position still needs to be filled and then other complimentary positions also need to be filled. Garth apologized for texting during the meeting as “we’re working a deal right now.” (Erp, no problemo).
Regarding acquisitions during off-season: it was definitely an objective to bring someone in during January. Negotiations were completed and things fell apart at the very end because: reasons. Council was informed of the reasons at our first update with Garth (March 2018), but we agreed to keep that confidence (GAH! *[email protected]@!!*). This is where the Club drives me nutty. Yes, I know that the Club does not want to ever have the reputation for throwing anyone under the bus. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, because at that time we had Clint, Jordan, Nico, and Will all firepower up front – we didn’t yet know we’d need so much help up top: that’s not the position this person would have filled. Turns out , it’s a huge impact when your firepower isn’t on the pitch together (injuries, suspensions, call-ups, etc.). If that signing had gone through, money would have been tied up – now, it’s available to pursue what is the remedies for what ails us now.
The lack of storytelling this season is frustrating: Garth and Adrian haven’t told us all what’s up. Council has gotten a little more than the rest of Sounderland – or maybe we got some of it earlier than you all. Their philosophy has been that since they just can’t tell everyone enough, it’s better to be quiet. We disagree with that: don’t break the rules, but we want them to talk about what they can talk about. Also please do it in multiple formats so that the information gets into the community. Garth does a radio show every week. If you’ve listened, you know that teams don’t give up their good players when they’re still in their season. During that time, there are plenty of lousy players available, but not good ones (hence: no replacement for JMo). Sounders: Garth said it on the radio and to the Times. <heavy sigh> Let’s find a way to take that snippet and put out into Sounders’ own social media. As a matter of fact, why aren’t all of Garth’s KJR radio interviews broken out into Q&A and then put into links afterward and out into Sounders’ own social media? This is a super important year with some presently crap circumstances: don’t talk less, talk more. The Sounders have staff and have the ability to hire out: get more stories into multiple formats and put them out into the ether.
I think we might have had an impact here – you deserve more information about what’s going on in a lot of areas: the Academy players are doing amazingly well – let’s learn more about that and celebrate the accomplishments. We have a new High Performance Director, Damien Roden – really, that’s his title. I want to learn about his story and how I can get a cool title like that. Hendy is great on Twitter with his pictures, and a “Where in the World is Hendy” could have been a fun social campaign and bright spot that brought us closer. Of all years, this has year felt like they are distant from us – like they’ve created this monk-like commitment to modesty because of the GM Vote. The impact is that we’re left feeling shut out of things that would have made a big difference, especially in this losing season but any season really. Some of this might get though, but by the time any of the impact can reach you, so will the trade window: so maybe by August we won’t even notice because we’ll be scoring so many goals.
I’ll leave you with this, one more modified Awkward Yeti cartoon. We have many reasons to envision a bright future*:
*pending results of physical examinations and Visa approval, naturally. Bwahahahaha.