Opinion Statement Supporting Inclusion

We, the Seattle Sounders Alliance Council, support the value of inclusion.

We stand with our Supporter Groups against hate, bigotry, racism, and intolerance.

Opinion Statement adopted by Alliance Council, Seattle, 6 August 2019

Meeting Minutes: June 2019

Meeting Minutes: June 4th,  2019

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

June 4th, 2019 – 7:00 PM

The NINETY

Present (11 of 18): Cameron Collins, Carmen Hall, Dan Roe, Duane Nakamura, Jeff Williams, Jerry Neil, Kelsey Gallo, Lisa Angeles, Martin Buckley, Nicholaus Biela, and Stephanie Steiner.

Absent (7): Alex Eagleton, Ben Slager, Louis Garcia, Molly Wagner, Darla Langdon, Chris Urquart and Todd Cowles.

Via telephone none

I. Call to order:
 Martin Buckley 7:02 PM

  1. Roll. Jeff Williams:  11 of 18 present at 7.00pm.

III. Executive committee At Large Position Vote: Social Media
Cameron Collins and Nicholaus Biela were elected to voting committee.

Four candidates self-nominated. After short nominating speeches a paper vote was taken.

Kelsey Gallo was elected to the Executive Committee At Large position. Kelsey will report on her plans next meeting.

  1. Chick-fil-A and potential league-wide sponsorship.
    Alliance Council is aware of long running rumors regarding a League-wide commercial sponsorship with Chick-fil-a.

A long conversation discussed multiple concerns around this. The main concern is that the League has promoted various campaigns and awareness activities to support inclusion and diversity (Soccer for All, Don’t Cross the Line) – while Chick-fil-A, the Chick-fil-A Foundation and other associated entities have historically shown behavior and funding which is in opposition to these goals. In addition Alliance Council recognized that Seattle Sounders FC, ownership, players and front office have repeatedly shown behavior which support diversity and inclusion.

A secret ballot was held amongst Council to determine whether this was a conversation we wished to bring to the league. There was unanimous support for this from Council.

A workgroup was formed to create a letter, talking points and a social media campaign – to land before 25th June 2019. Cameron, Carmen, Nicholaus, Dan will do the wordsmithing on the formal letter.

  1. Outreach update
    Nicholaus is looking for information to support outreach.
  2. Final wrap up of Player Recognition
    The final notes from the Player Recognition project were reviewed – and will be minuted for future activity.
  3. Working session: Best XI
    The Alliance Council Best XI process was discussed. The voting site will be open until close of the week.

A long conversation regarding individual selection criteria for Best XI was entertaining. Noted thanks to the Club for including Alliance Council.

  1. Other business

Carmen will talk to Front Office on Friday about scarf vote. Process and timeline will be posted on Teams. Similar to last year – designs submitted, Council selects best five, Alliance wide voting, prototype scarves for final five, scarves on display at fan event in August.

No date for the fan event yet – likely to be late August.

Surveyed the council 16 of 19 responded

The business meeting is to be streamed at a venue for about 500 towards the end of August.

Cleanup on bylaw 9, part of the law was not posted but is updated now.

Molly Wagner is now ex officio status

Adjourn: 8:48 PM

 

Meeting Minutes: May 2019

Meeting Minutes: May 2019

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

May 7th, 2019 – 7:00 PM

The NINETY

Present (16 of 19): Alex Eagleton, Ben Slager, Cameron Collins, Carmen Hall, Dan Roe, Duane Nakamura Jeff Williams, Jerry Neil, Kelsey Gallo, Lisa Angeles, Louis Garcia, Martin Buckley, Nicholaus Biela, Stephanie Steiner, and Todd Cowles.

Absent (3): Molly Wagner, Darla Langdon, Chris Urquart

Via telephone none

I. Call to order:  Martin Buckley 7:00 PM

Jessie Kilgore offered his resignation from Council, which was accepted.

Duane Nakamura is newly voted onto Council. Duane was welcomed and introductions made.

II. Roll. Jeff Williams:  16 of 19 present at 7.00pm.

III. Martin review on Player recognition wrap-up.
Wrap up workgroup on player recognition. Molly to send the email out with the wrap-up.

IV. Todd Presentation of the Rave foundation.

A summary of the plans the Rave foundation is planning. A small discussion on the great things the Rave are planning to Lead, serve, and invest. We were asking how the council can get more involved and coincide with the mission of the board. A request for the rave group to get up information sooner than later to help up plan. Darla went over some historical notes. Todd would help us bridge the partnership. The alliance can help promote.

V. Update: Social media plan and next steps.
Nicholas is heading the charge of how we need to use our tools to educate people on what is the council involvement. We will need to recruit additional help when the fan base increases to 30,000 season tickets. We brainstormed ideas to help drive the hits to social media.
Ideas: monthly mention in a magazine, content to include blogs, twitter, looking for material to regularly get information to the alliance members.
We need to educate people on the Yearly business meeting, scarf vote, fan event. Using these contacts for self-promotion.
We are looking for ways to get fan feedback and ideas to recruit more involved members.

VI. Working session:

We decided not to comment on the new code of conduct at this time. There was an open discussion on how it would be related to fan experience. We mentioned what items could be brought to the council for consideration.

Some of the ideas for driving awareness:

Scarf vote jersey planning, questionnaire.Fan appreciation day has the alliance council hand out the maps for signature places.
3 people can post to twitter, Molly can gather items.
Smaller events for the season ticket holders, example first day of practice.
Cards in the seats, information at seats.
Commit to every game to take fan pictures.
Pin and Pamphlet in the fan experience box.
Identify the council at games, bring awareness.
Promote scarf, jersey, garth visit regular parts of being a council member.
Partner with Rave at a bowling event.
Guest blog on Twitter.
Birthday acknowledgments.
Membership cards in the box.
GM vote and planning.
Branding Cups, napkins.
Some mention in the nightly pregame.

VII. Owner Meeting with Adrian and FO May 11th.

We wanted to review how the council has developed and to what is in store for the council in the next 10 years. How does the alliance fit into the Sounders future plans?

Adjourn: 8:53 PM

#CallingFowl – our message to Major League Soccer

#CallingFowl

Reign FC and Sounders FC players pose with their EQUALITY jerseys. All images courtesy Sounders FC Communications. Credit: Charis Wilson.

We, the Seattle Sounders Alliance Council, believe that soccer is more than a sport.

With its roots in community and accessibility, soccer brings a diverse range of people together for the sheer love of what we all know as the Beautiful Game.

Soccer does not care if you are old or young, fit or out of shape, male or female, short or tall.  All soccer needs is a space and something to kick around; bring the people and it will do the rest.  Which is why we believe it is our collective responsibility to uphold the core inclusive values of the sport where we see them threatened.

There is no place more important to the commitment of inclusion than within MLS – the highest professional level of soccer in the US and Canada.

We believe that the proposed league wide Chick-fil-A partnership is in direct conflict with these values.  Chick-fil-A, its ownership and affiliated Foundation, have a demonstrated position that is anti-inclusive in action and words.

We recognize that not every fan is going to be in agreement, and that some will see this as a political position.  Diverse points of view are welcome as part of the community that soccer brings together for a common joy.  However, we believe that respecting individual choices and perspectives doesn’t require entering into financial contracts with organizations that promote inequality and non-acceptance.

Today Alliance Council have sent a letter to MLS leadership which outlines our objections, urging the League to reconsider this possible sponsorship, and to emphasize the message of inclusion that the League has historically promoted.

We feel compelled by our Alliance Council charter and mission statement to speak out in these situations and to amplify the voices of those who desire acceptance and inclusion.

If #SoccerForAll is to truly mean All, there is no room for compromise. Words without action are hollow.

It’s a Nice Day for a Red Card Wedding*

Radford, Red Card

Photo: Sounder At Heart

By Stephanie Steiner

It was June 16, 2015 on a gorgeous summer evening at Starfire Sports Complex. There aren’t very many better ways to spend a summer evening than with a beautiful clear sky, a gentle breeze, a great beer garden, and some badass footy about to happen on the pitch right in front of you. Parking sucked, our enemy was in our fair city, and trains were rolling by.  It was perfect.  And then it wasn’t.

The center referee was Daniel Radford. I didn’t know enough yet to hate him. The front office staff had already challenged his experience earlier in the week, but I wasn’t overly concerned – this was Open Cup and there were typically a lot of guys on the pitch without a ton of experience. I had my hot dog, I had my beverage, I had my friends, and I had a great view. Let’s effing go.

The procession began and… wait wait wait! – we have two dark teams on a dark green turf.  Even while it was daylight, it wasn’t easy to distinguish Sounders from Termites (Timbers). As it got darker, it became more difficult to see who was who. Was this ref confused? His calls were not making sense. Radford, quite simply, was a mess. He was nitpicking strange things: throw-ins for instance. He made people start over.  He called things back.  He made very tough calls over embellishments and flops. He was micromanaging the smallest pebbles when he should have been paying attention to the avalanche. It was laughable except there was nothing funny about it. It was a disaster. Emotions were getting hotter and hotter.

Halftime: Sounders changed into white jerseys to help our boys see each other on the pitch. Portland had come to Seattle with only their green kits.  I’m not sure this helped Radford, but it did help us in the stands.

49th Minute: The Termites score. Rodney Wallace gets one by Troy Perkins.

69th Minute: Brad Evans received his second yellow over nothing. Daniel Radford, had he had the experience of a seasoned referee should have controlled the match with some reason.  Instead, he tried to control the match with penalty cards. Now, we’re down our Sheriff: Brad Evans is out of the match over an absolute joke call. Brad sloooooowly walks off the pitch.

Sounders’ Obafemi Martins immediately scores to bring us even 1-1.

85th Minute: Play resumes and the unthinkable happens: there’s a tangle at midfield and Oba goes down and stays down. He lifts his head up to call for help, and though none of us in the stands can hear it, we know this is bad. Radford, in the only good action he took all night calls for team trainers who eventually get medical staff.  Oba is taken off the field on a gurney.  Seattle had just used the third and final substitute – we’re now down to nine men on the pitch and heading to overtime.  What a night.  Can’t we get a new center ref in extra time?

100th minute:  Rodney Wallace again: BLAM! Another goal for the Termites.

112th minute: Michael Azira wins a ball (Fernandez flops – the effing effer) and for his efforts, Azira is accused of tossing an elbow: red card, ejected.   Seattle has eight men on the pitch. Seattle has eight men on the pitch. Ross Fletcher called the match that night and in amazement announced, “Seattle will end this game WITH. EIGHT. MEN.” Oh Ross. You were so wrong.  We all were.

At this point, members of both teams are walking around on the turf, waiting for Azira to exit and waiting for FishFlopFernandez to get his sorry ass up. I might be showing my personal views, but I don’t care (my heart rate is up as I type this out, too). Anyway, all of a sudden, Radford shoots up another yellow like he’s some kind of pop-up clown! What is going on now?  Pop! Another card! Pop! Another card!  Dempsey got a yellow card for walking by. Now, I’m not naïve, so I’m going to assume that walk included colorful language which generated the yellow. And then: ZING: a RED.   Click the link to the video and halfway through it you see Clint Dempsey pick up Daniel Radford’s book and rip it up. Clint Dempsey tore up the referee’s book!  I remember that glorious moment.  Finally a red card was earned! Some people say Clint Dempsey lost his mind, but I disagree: I think he found it. I think he felt the accumulated angst and frustration of all of us in Sounderland that night and he did what he needed to do for us.

ProReferees Official Photo of Daniel Radford

Only fourteen seconds had passed; it was still the 112th minute.  Now Dempsey had been issued a red card and ejection.   Head Coach Sigi Schmidt was standing over in the corner – our head coach had separated himself from the bench: he’s away from all officials.  I feel ya’ Sig. I get it. At this point, there’s pushing and shoving on the pitch.  Dempsey wanted to speak his mind with Radford.  Sounders were stepping in.  The crowd was getting louder and louder, and a water bottle landed about five feet onto the pitch.  Seattle had only seven men on the pitch.  Portland was still at eleven. The score was 1-2, Portland.  Ty Mears, Andy Rose, and Chad Marshall all helped Clint make his way to the sideline.

 

 

116th minute: Max Urruti scored again for Portland and the Termites celebrated the goal. They were still wildly celebratory when their opponent had only seven men on the pitch.  That’s rivalry.

Three and a half minutes later the final whistle blew: our Open Cup hopes were smashed that year.  A police escort got Radford out of the area, that jackass.

Photo by Martin Buckley

Trash cans were overturned onto the pitch. Soda cups landed on the turf, along with more water bottles. We all know not to throw stuff onto the pitch: every single one of us knows that. But the emotional outrage was so strong, that some of us couldn’t control the angry energy. I’m not better than any person who let loose; I just think perhaps I didn’t have anything that I wasn’t willing to part with. The evening was that upsetting.

 

Over the coming weeks, Clint Dempsey was vilified in social media for putting his Club in jeopardy. We didn’t have Oba, and because of Clint’s actions, we didn’t have his striking capacity for a while either. He was blamed for our losing streak. He lost his captaincy of the U.S. Men’s National Team. He was suspended several matches of U.S. Open Cup play (six matches or two years of play, whichever was greater).

I understand why people were so mad at Clint, but I think what we gained outweighs what we lost.  We, as fans, walked in expecting to win this match – I know I did. We gained renewed interest in a rivalry which had grown a bit ho-hum. We gained a villain. Dempsey had a reputation for being a bit of a bad boy, but he showed the world he was our bad boy: unpredictable, hot-headed, and man of the people. He actually did what every Sounders fan in that stadium wanted to do. He didn’t just breathe new life into a rivalry, he breathed fire into it! Post-match, the Sounders chant went on forever, and it was loud. We wanted Oba to hear us on the exam table.  We wanted those Termites to hear us as they loaded their bus.  I remember watching the flashing lights of the police escort as it made its way out toward Fort Dent Way: my chest was tight with pride and we were still chanting. We wanted Radford to hear us all the way out there.

*Red Wedding is an episode of the HBO series Game of Thrones, in which nearly everyone in one beloved family dies. A few seasons later, the family returns to greatness. Red Card Wedding is a fabulous and apt reference. As much as the 2015 season was painful, Red Card Wedding is now Sounders lore. Dempsey’s actions have become legendary. It’s unlikely we’ll remember ten years from now why Azira got a red card, perhaps not even our own Sheriff.  But Clint: tearing up a referee’s book is now historical. This is the kind of match that four thousand people attended and fifteen thousand will say they did: the stories have been recounted so many times that people think they remember being there.  It was that good.

Alliance Council Bylaw 9

3 May 2019

By Martin Buckley

An apology and an update.

Back in the summer of 2016 Alliance Council worked to update, clarify and modernise our Constitution and Bylaws. Ultimately the Alliance Constitution was sent out for an Alliance-wide vote for ratification.

Part of this body of work was updating our Bylaws; one of those Bylaws, Bylaw 9, concerned membership of Alliance Council.

During consolidation part of this Bylaw was inadvertently missed from the document published to the website; this recently came to light and in the interests of full transparency the correct Bylaws have now been posted to this website.

The original posted PDF document did not include Bylaw sections 9.3.3 to 9.7.3.

Scarves Up! Scarf design contest and vote returns

23 May 2019

By Martin Buckley

Alliance Council has worked with the Club since 2013 to offer Alliance members a voice in their choice of scarf for the following season.

This summer we are excited to announce that the design contest and vote for the 2020 Alliance Scarf will return. Look for communication on the timeline and entry details soon.

I thought it would be interesting to peek behind the scenes of the scarf design contest and vote – and see how your Alliance Council are working to represent you. The process starts in the Spring – when we start discussing the timelines, improvements and process on running the contest. 

The Club starts the ball rolling with the opening of the design phase of the competition. The designs come in from all kinds of fans – young, old, crayons to professional design. After the close of submissions – then Alliance Council gets really involved. This is where we get to discuss the designs among ourselves and reduce the many dozens of submissions to a final five.

In years past we received all kinds of images and documents – and tried to shuffle them by email. Hard work. For the last few years Alliance Council have been voting electronically and reviewing online. That’s a lot easier. We have seen some incredible designs – and getting to that final few involves a few rounds of voting. It’s a lot like the World Cup – I place the scarves in groups (splitting similar designs across the groups) and the Alliance Council workgroup vote for the best of each group. In the past top two from each group have gone on to the final round of Alliance Council review. That’s where we really think hard and vote on the final five. The final five – as selected by Alliance Council – are then passed back to the Club.

For 2018 the Club offered to make prototype scarves for each of the finalists, have them available at the Fan Appreciation event, and to give each finalist designer a copy of their scarf. That turned out better than we ever expected. Having scarves to see really helped fans imagine what the scarf would look like – and drove a lot of interest in the fan vote.

The fan voting is where we see a lot of discussion on social media. Everyone has opinions – and right until the close of voting we see a great deal of commentary about the various scarves.

The result of the fan vote is kept secret – and is usually revealed at the Alliance Annual Business meeting.

Meeting recap: May 2019

Meeting Recap May 7, 2019

Louis Garcia

By: Carmen Hall

What potent blood hath modest May ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

A little later getting this in than normal.. so let’s take just a minute to appreciate that we closed out the transfer window with 2 new players (kinda… WELCOME BACK, JOEVIN) and are sitting 2nd in the West.  What is this… July??!

So, what did we do this month?  Glad you asked!

Clearing the Docket:  We closed out the Player Recognition workstream (for now) and sent out their final write up.  When the timing is right, we’re back on this like Brad Smith on Alberth Elis.

Making New Friends: Todd gave us a great presentation on the RAVE Foundation, their mission, and their current event calendar for 2019.  Whew, these folks are doing some awesome things out there using soccer as a medium and you should go check them out.  It would be really great if the Alliance Council could do more with RAVE and work together to help build that community – we’re hoping that Todd helps create that bridge for some partnership in the future.  No pressure, Todd.  We’re just watching you.

Let’s Talk About Us:  Our next chunk of time was spent talking about Alliance Council outreach.  See, we want amazing and diverse people to represent the Alliance Members and to do that we need to find ways to toot our own horn a bit.  We recognize that a certain percentage of the current Alliance don’t have the backstory on the creation of the Alliance so we need to work on getting better visibility into the Democracy In Sports concept in general.  If we get people excited in the Alliance, then we can get people excited about participating in Council.

Nicholaus runs this initiative as an At Large member of our Executive Team (aka: this is IMPORTANT) and helped lead the conversation including a roundtable brainstorm of ideas from the group for outreach opportunities.  We had a lot of ideas – some we’re already doing (spoiler alert… see you at the Fan Event this summer) and some that we need to work with the Front Office on to implement.  If we do this right, You Will Hear Us (see what I did there?)

One of the easiest things that we can do is to generate more, valuable content for this site.  It broke my heart a little bit to find that my recaps aren’t a big driver of clicks (I SWEAT OVER THESE THINGS, PEOPLE!) but I get it – who likes meeting notes no matter how they’re written?  So we’re going to work on doing better there.   If you DO happen to read this (HI MOM!) and have an idea on what sort of things you’d like to see leave a note in the comments below.

We wrapped up with a quick level set session for a meeting that we had with Club Ownership and Front Office folks before the Dynamo game on the 11th where we discussed the work we’d been doing with the Council of the Future.  We have some small working sessions to set up to keep that moving forward.  Stay tuned.

Schedule wise we’re looking at drought of home games until the end of June – pro-tip:  Scarves Up works from *wherever* you happen to watch our guys play.  You know what to do.

Meeting recap: April 2019

Alliance Council Meeting April 2nd 2019

By: Carmen Hall

Stepping into Spring, Ready to Take Care of Business

Hello April!  So much has happened since our March meeting – we had a time change, the cherry blossoms are… blossoming…, everyone came back healthy from the International break, and after a hearty game of bunkerball in Vancouver our Sounders are sitting on the best start in club history.  And we’re just getting this month started!

In the spirit of the season, the Alliance Council also sprung right back into business on the 2nd by focusing on wrapping up some loose ends from previous meetings and checking in with our workgroups.

First on our agenda was a read out from the jersey workgroup.  Prior to our Council meeting they had a working session with Taylor Graham where they walked through 2020 mock ups and talked about the feeling and vision for 2021.  We have a pretty quick turn around to get our thoughts back to the club and overall the feel from the group was that it’s starting to feel like we have a bit more strength behind our voices.  Time will tell how much influence any of us have when it comes to working with adidas and their templates and that includes the front office.  And no, don’t ask me any details about upcoming designs – I’m not part of that workgroup and the closest I got to that meeting was sitting near the pizza that was left over from their dinner.  BTW, I now have Opinions about the amount of green pepper should be on a pizza.  Opinions.

Next we continued our work on Future Council.  We locked in our North Star – you can read more here if you haven’t already seen it. We feel good about it and it’s something that we’ll be checking ourselves against as we look at how we make our plans and priorities.  After finishing our Vision, we talked about some possible organizational changes as the Council scales over the years – we’ve all been in those large meetings which are pretty terrible and don’t seem to bear fruit at the end.  Bigger isn’t better without a deliberate structure and set of expectations. Luckily, we have the time to test out some ideas and see if we’re getting the results that we want over the next couple of seasons.  This workgroup will continue to work on next tactical steps and bring back those recommendations to the larger team.

In the new business roundtable, Chris talked about starting planning for early 2020 season Inclusion activities such as World Autism Day that we missed this year and then we seeded the agenda for next month:  get updates from the Player Recognition, Youth Outreach and RAVE Foundation workgroups and start early planning the Annual Business Meeting (specifically talking about venue options that support a larger in-person audience and streaming if possible).

And we wrapped up a little early.  Which is probably good, because if you’ve looked at the schedule for April we all could use some extra rest – the Sounders still have 6 (6!!!!!) games to play in April including 2 (2!!!!!!) against LAFC in a week.  A WEEK!  Buckle up and strap in – this is going to be a crazy month.  Scarves up, Seattle!