Alliance Council often hears of fans looking to set up as a Supporter Group. Back in March 2017 we sat down with the four current Supporter Groups and created a process to recognise new Supporter Groups.
Present (13 of 17): Lisa Angeles, Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Alex Eagleton, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jerry Neil, Stephanie Steiner, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.
Via telephone (0): None.
Absent (4): Michael Dollard, Jesse Kilgore, Gilbert Ko, and Daniel Roe.
I. Call to order: Martin Buckley
II. Roll: Cameron Collins: 13 of 17 Present
III. Farewell to the 2017-2018 Council: Council President Martin Buckley thanks all of the Council Members who are attending their final Meeting for their service. There are three current Council Members whose terms are up and they are hoping to get their votes to return next Council year.
IV. 2018-2019 Council Voting Procedures: Voting rules laid out for Council elections that will occur next month, the first Meeting of the Council year. These rules were first developed by Council Member Daniel Roe and then laid out by Council President Martin Buckley. Here is a brief outline of the procedure for the vote:
The order of elections will be 1. President, 2. Vice President, 3. Secretary, 4. Treasurer (if required) and 5. At Large positions.
Nominations may be made advance or at the Meeting where voting is to take place. Alliance Council Members may be nominated to self-nominate for any of the positions upon which the Council will be voting.
Two Council Members who are not standing for election to the Executive Committee will oversee the elections as the Election Committee.
For positions that are unopposed, the nominee is elected unanimously. For positions with two or more candidates, each nominee will be given two minutes to speak to Council about as to why Council should vote for that candidate. If a nominee is not present, another Council Member may speak on their behalf.
Whomever receives the most votes will be elected to that position.
A question was raised in Council about the role of the Treasurer. This position is not currently voted upon by Council and exists in the Constitution in the event that Council has a budget to manage. At that time, Council will elect a Treasurer.
A question was raised about the role of the At Large members of the Executive Committee. Council talked in the last several months about making the At Large members responsible for specific tasks. One of the At Large positions should be the social media person. The second At Large position will focus on Outreach. The goal for this person will be to focus on the Season Ticket Members in the stands, helping them to understand that they have more than a commercial relationship with the club.
V. Sounders Player Recognition: Player Recognition workgroup had a phone call to further discuss how to develop this. The voting process would take place by the Council as a whole. The rough plan is having the framework for how to enshrine people in place and once that is set and have Council has elected its inaugural class, a presentation will be made to the Front Office laying out the entire plan. This project needs to be put on a fast track to make sure it gets done.
VI. Other business
Alliance Stories: This project seems to have stalled. On a recommendation from Stephanie Steiner, the content that was written will be posted as longer form blog posts or stories on the Alliance Council website. Community outreach: Darla gave an update on her conversation with the Front Office regarding this topic. Garage sale: Four Alliance Council members supported this event.
VII. Adjournment: Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.
Voting runs during the Alliance business year. This is aligned with the Sounders FC year – so we start on 1 December and close the year on 30 November. If you get your 25 votes during the first half of the Alliance business year (by end of May) then you join the Alliance Council for that year. If you get your 25 votes during the second half (June to end November) then you will join the following year.
Before you start you will need:
Your Alliance Membership Number – also known as your Season Ticket Account Number.
Email address connected with this Alliance Membership.
Note: your Alliance Membership number or Season Ticket Account number is in the SoundersFC App under MatchPass, on your printed MatchPass or contact your Ticket Rep. If you are not the primary Season Ticket holder you will need to be designated to one of the seats using your current email address.
Voting is hosted and managed through The Club. In order to nominate first go to the voting site. You can access this directly at https://vote.soundersfc.com or by navigating through the Sounders FC website. Supporters – Democracy In Sports – Nominate and Vote.
Note: the Login/Sign up button on the front page of Sounders FC website is for the MLS affiliated website – it’s worth doing – but won’t help you with nomination or voting.
Once at the Nomination and Voting page you will need to login. This is where your email address associated with your Alliance Membership or Season Ticket is required. You will also need your Account Number.
You will see a list of Available Ballots. This is where all election and votes will be listed – including GM Vote Of Confidence, Alliance Council elections, Constitution Ratification etc.
To nominate yourself – click Nominate Myself. Fill in the short bio, click Next and Submit. You are done and on the ballot.
Next step – talk to your friends and fellow fans and get their votes!
Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Michael Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Jesse Kilgore, Roberta King, Gilbert Ko, Darla Langdon, Daniel Roe, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.
Via telephone (0):
Lisa Angeles, Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Jerry Neil, and Stephanie Steiner.
I. Call to order – Martin Buckley
II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 12 of 17 Present
III. Council Work Sessions
Retired & Notable Player Recognition:
Key questions include: Who do we include? (1970s to the Present?) How do we honor them? Where do we honor them? When do we honor them? What is the process for deciding who to honor?
Nicholaus Biela submitted a framework. Dan, Nick, Jerry, Roberta, Alex, Molly, Cameron in the group. Discussion was held in the Facebook group on how the recognition should be carried out. The group liked the idea of a Hall of Fame type structure that would be presented by the Alliance. The group looked in to how the other local teams deal with honoring players. Council will start off developing the process and then sell the Club on recognizing what we are working on once we have decided on procedure.
How is this different from the golden scarf? How do we differentiate between this and what the club does? What is the dream scenario? Ideas the Council put forth included: a ring of honor similar to the Seahawks, stars on a walk of fame type thing, bricks honoring the individuals. The key ideas are to look in to big ideas, find a solution that is accessible and visible to the Sounders fanbase. Another option mentioned was bricks from the March to the Match to the stadium where you walk over the names of the legends, making them a part of every march.
Council can make opinion statements honoring players. That provides a level below a Hall of Fame type honor.
Alliance Business Meeting 2018:
Council President Martin Buckley had a call with the Front Office to start working on the meeting. The Club is currently looking at other potential venues that are somewhere in the 200-300 person capacity range. It will likely be held during the FIFA break, most likely the 13th or 14th of November due to the other events going on that week.
2017 meeting: At the end of the year, everyone received a survey from the front office. It had two questions…. 1) did you attend and how was it? 2) if you didn’t attend, what would make you attend? 5% very satisfied, 10% somewhat satisfied, 80% did not participate, 3% were somewhat unsatisfied, 2% were very unsatisfied. Last year we primarily streamed it and had some in people present in person. There were 70 seats for the general public that were given out by a lottery. Every single person who applied was offered a seat, yet there were people who didn’t show up, leaving open seats. The #1 complaint was that people wanted it in person, but the people who complained either didn’t request a seat or didn’t show up.
The only exception in the attendance numbers year by year was an uptick in the year of the Schmetzer announcement. At that time there were also locker room tours, autographs, and other such events. Those types of events are now separate, as they have become part of the summer celebration. The Club has committed to doing that event moving forward. The Alliance Business Meeting is now just about the business of the alliance. The fun event is during the summer.
Questions for the Council and Club to consider: how important is in person attendance? How important is streaming? 3x to 4x the in person attendance watched online. Streaming is important because people can also watch it after the fact. What if there is a memento for the people who win the lottery and get to come to the meeting?
10 Years of the Alliance:
Interest from the Council in moving this forward seems to have dried up. If there are multiple articles, there can be a longer form text with photos/videos in a timeline. Molly Wagner will still be interviewing former and current Council Presidents. She has been interviewing Paul Cox. Next, she will interview Stephanie and Martin. If any Council Members have input or comments, engage on the TEAMS site. If we do not get more content, we will not be able to carry out the project, so the Council must lean in to get it done.
Recognition of Council Members:
One of the things to propose for the new council come December, we need to start finding a way to reward those who do work. At that time, Council will revisit some of the previous ideas proposed to do this.
IV. GM Vote:
A lot of people voted online and in person when the vote launched. Voting then slowed down, but jumped again at the next home match. Council wants the club to push the vote before the next match and during halftime, as well a use a push notification on the app.
V. Next Alliance Council Meeting:
The next Council Meeting is the week before the Annual Business Meeting. Should we have a meeting or reschedule like we have in the past? The Council says yes, there will be a meeting next month. It will be the first Tuesday of November. The following week will be the ABM. December is the start of our new business year.
Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.
The meeting started with Martin Buckley, President, acknowledging those who are leaving council (Nick Biesold, Mike Dollard, Karl Picard, and Roberta King) for their contributions to the Alliance.
We then discussed recruiting for council members: we need people who are doers, project manager type people. Does anyone know people who could be good candidates? Martin and I have both reached out to Supporter Groups and other volunteer organizations (this year and in the past), and they are challenged with the same issues we have: lots of people join, but few people contribute effort. Martin followed up on those conversations recently: no change. If anyone knows of people who would make good candidates: Gary Wright has volunteered to be a closer (and he’s amazing – we are so very lucky).
Election process for Executive Committee: Dan Roe began this, Martin has finished it. The process includes a committee just for elections: if you’re interested you can volunteer that night. To qualify, you must be able to count votes and you can’t be running for any of the offices.
Executive Committee At Large Positions: we need them to focus on social media and outreach.
Treasurer is listed in the Constitution, but we presently have no need for the position. If there were a need for the position, we’d add it. There are no changes to the roles of president, vice president, and secretary.
Updates from work sessions:
Player Recognition (Nicholaus Biela):
the group had a call and decided that the whole council would vote on the process.
Rough plan: create the enshrinement inaugural class and then bring the whole plan to the front office.
Martin: we need to hustle, this conversation is three months old. The front office is looking to do this next year and if we don’t present them with a solution they’ll create one without us.
Nick: We’re discussing similar possibilities as what other stadiums have: glass plaques, bronze, etc. Figuring out which, and how to do things is still in conversation.
Martin: We’ve got to get ideas in front of the F.O. now. Include them in the idea-building.
Me: Be open to change and creativity. It’s possible they have access to things we haven’t seen, like perhaps something museum-like that is interactive and teaches, or is mobile and can move to an expanding location. What if it’s a touchscreen and can teach people about a player instead of just a static image?
Annual Business Meeting (Martin Buckley):
Meeting is November 13th.
Format is live and streaming from The NINETY.
As of 11/6/18 RSVPs are full and there are ten on the waitlist.
RSVPs went to a form and waitlist clicks through to an email address. Highest attendance at a meeting ever was for Brian Schmeltzer’s promotion to Head Coach, the worst kept secret ever 🙂
Approximately 1300 attended that meeting.
There were 2500 on the live stream last year (2017), plus additional views later.
Discussed complaints about visibility of the meeting. One person attending the meeting had received the Beyond the 90 email with the meeting announcement (previous week).
No one had received any notification of the meeting prior to the going to waitlist.
Several examples of the communication being inconsistent across platforms.
Annual Business Meeting Flow (subject to change):
GM Vote Results
Alliance Council Review
Adrian – Owner’s Review
Bart – Business Review
Garth – Team Review (might also include coach Brian Schmetzer)
Questions and Answers
Ten Years of the Alliance Project (Stephanie Steiner):
we need to give up on this as a rich content project, we simply don’t have enough content and buy in.
What we do have is really good: thank you to everyone who contributed their work.
We need to take all of that content and post it into the “stories” section of our website and come up with a different hash tag.
Nicholaus: what if we set tickler reminders for the social media team to repost “on this day…” kind of tweets and stuff? <- brilliant idea, we should do that.
By setting this apart from a ten year anniversary, it can continue to grow and then just keep going with stories in the future: it’s no longer one anniversary, it’s representative of any moment that’s meaningful.
Community Outreach (Darla Langdon):
Darla reached out to Kimberly Aigner to see if there was a list of Community Outreach events for 2019 yet. We know it’s early. We’re not going to pressure her to reply. We don’t expect any list until next year. Martin Q: did any AC members participate in their events? Darla: no.
Garage Sale (Jerry Neil and Cameron Collins):
This went very smoothly, council members greeted and helped guide Alliance members. Line was around the corner. Limit of five items per customer.
“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?
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
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.