Happy “wait, since when does it snow in Seattle?” February!
Before I start, here are the two things that I learned about The NINETY when we had our monthly Council meeting on Feb 5:
The codes to the bathroom end in * … not # like every other code that
we seem to have in our society Just, you know, you have the opportunity
to impress someone by getting it right the first time.
2) Bring a hoodie or something – that place is chilly. Awesome, but brrrrrrrr.
On to the meeting!
The first half of our time was spent meeting with Garth Lagerwey, General Manager and President of Soccer – you may remember him from that voting thing last year. While I won’t cover any specifics, I will make a couple of observations about the conversation. First, I marvel at what an opportunity that we, as the SSFC Supporter Community, have with the Democracy in Sports concept. The fact that we are able to have this sort of access to Club leadership is something that we should appreciate as part of the very unique fabric of our Club’s DNA. Secondly, Garth was personable, respectful, straightforward and very generous with his time. This meeting easily could have felt perfunctory – one of those “Ugh, I have to go do this THING with these PEOPLE” meetings – and yet it didn’t. That says a lot about who Garth is as a person and what the Alliance Council has done to foster those relationships over the years. It was great to see.
When Garth was finally pulled away, after a couple of pictures (damn, we’re a good looking group!) we got down to business – an update from some meetings with the Front Office, and then quick read outs from the working groups. On the working group front, most of us are still ramping up so we should start having more to talk about in the next couple of meetings – both Youth Outreach and Merchandising will be on the agenda for March and I expect we’ll see more get added in the next couple of weeks.
We had a big discussion around the current Hot Topic – player recognition. The Alliance Council working team has done an amazing job with some concepts that incorporate community participation in the process and we’re all really excited about it – the feedback from the Front Office is that we’re not aligned with their timing. So, while everyone agrees that recognition is something that’s important, the Council proposal is going to go on the back burner for just a bit. The working team is SO passionate about this that there’s no danger of this just fizzling out, it’s a matter of planning and keeping the pressure on. Keep an eye on this one – we’re not done here!
The last update was from Martin and Stephanie about how we strategically spend the time we get with Front Office representatives. This year, we’ll focus our “Club Time” on the Scarf vote and Jersey design, Inclusion (how do we make the game day experience more inclusive so that all feel welcome and represented) and the Alliance of the Future (how do we evolve, what role does the Alliance play as we move into our second decade in MLS). What this means is that these are the areas we’ll really press into and look for collaboration with the Club as we expand out our ideas.
At this point, we were all pretty cold (I might be projecting a bit) so we had a quick round table ending with a SHOUT OUT WHOOP WHOOP to Molly for k-i-double l- ing it on the socials. She did a fantastic job on the zulily reveal party and really caught some great moments of the guys being… themselves… before the event. High five!
That’s it! First games are right around the corner and, let’s face it, we’re all ready to see the Rave Green back in action. Season Ticket packages are shipping and they just announced some new budget friendly food options… it’s happening, Fam!
Welcome new Council Member Carmen Hall! Carmen reached her 25th vote about
an hour before the meeting started.
We’re happy to have her.
Tonight’s meeting was about 2019’s priorities, what work groups we’d like to create, and our expectations for the year. We spent a good hour in the conversation about how work groups work effectively and what causes stalls. Many of the normal working teams are there for things you’ve seen in the past: scarf vote, jersey team, outreach, food &beverage, etc. A blast from the past this year: Merchandise – not limited to attire, but that could be a dominant focus and we’d like to have some youth feedback too. We are quite frustrated that sitting v. standing was flat-out shut down, and we think you are too. We’re looking to address this one differently.
We passed a bylaw that codifies how the voting procedures for the Executive Committee will work – nothing terribly exciting here, but it’s easier to do this than look up stuff in Sturgis. Who am I kidding? It’s easier to do this than go find my copy of Sturgis.
We also passed a statement honoring former Coach Sigi Schmid, who passed away on December 25th, 2018. The statement was penned by Cameron Collins (Thanks Cam!), and we’ll get it posted here on our site as soon as an introductory statement has been written.This is posted here. Please feel free to leave your memories and comments.
There’s progress regarding Player Recognition (Ring of
Honor? Hall of Fame? Who to include? What are the limitations? ) Some very nice
work has been done regarding the voting procedures (great work, Cameron) and
the addition of visual references (way to go Kelsey Gallo). Next the group needs to finalize it so that
it can go to the front office for feedback and suggestions for moving forward.
That left us with a little time for open conversation and
wrap up. January 8th was a
rescheduled meeting and does not count toward our attendance tally.
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.
Tuesday, August 7th was a working meeting, meaning there was no presentation from the front office regarding any aspect of the Club’s business. We dove in by discussing the possible future structure(s) of the Alliance Council representation and how to get more people involved: we hypothesized what might be best if the Alliance were to grow to fifty-thousand members, sixty, seventy, one hundred thousand members?
From there we divided up in pairs and did mini Q&As regarding our personal motivations to get projects moving: why did we join Alliance Council? What motivated us to move things forward? We put all of them up on the glass case to examine our similarities and look for areas that could be addressed with the Club.
Next, we took on our Ten Years of the Alliance project – this year is our anniversary. With few (pretty much zero) resources outside of the room, how can we acknowledge the tenth year of the Alliance? What stories would we like to capture, and how would we like to capture them? I had come into the meeting with a pre-prepared skeleton outline, and the Visibility Group had also made a list – between the two, it’s an extensive idea. While we all are doubtful that we can accomplish all of it, we can see the value to diving in and getting as much captured as possible. Martin Buckley, President, surveyed each individual in the room to ascertain the person’s willingness to write up blog pieces for this project. Every person present agreed to help get the project done.
Lastly, we agreed to take shifts at a table during the Season Ticket Member event on August 19th. The celebration is for full season ticket members and should be a lot of fun. We’ll have a table there where season ticket members can view samples of the 2019 season ticket member scarves that are up for vote to be included in next year’s full season package – hope to see you there!
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
First portion of the meeting was from Todd Albright, Director of Marketing and Gameday Presentation. Todd is a good dude, we like him a lot. He has a great job: we’re envious. Normally he comes in and presents with Kyle Sheldon, but that guy quit to go make Oscar-worthy movies (like who would choose that?!). Todd showed us some of the marketing stuff that Kyle (that quitter!) created before he skipped town, and then we moved into Todd’s area of focus. He presented the cool website that they created for the 100th meetup between Sounders and the team to the south: lots of imagery for the less-geeky in the fanbase, video for the geekier, and then lots to read for the uber-geeks. Nick Biela wanted to know if the url would be soundersfc.com/100matches/forc . hahahahaha I said he’d just outed himself as the uber geeky ( I hope that is indeed the url!).
We got details on our new anthem singer, Johnathan Wright (we love him) and how he was discovered.
Todd is working on a project to deck out the tunnel and then bring TV cameras into the tunnel for the walk-out onto the pitch. Some of the sexy details might change seasonally or for big rivalries (remember The Wall for the 40th Anniversary? Something big like that but flexible and built to create hype for our guys and let our opponents know they’re dirt. Maybe we can auction off the ability to type in messages and I can let Giovinco know how I really feel about his whiny antics? No? Well it was a good idea: RAVE Foundation would have made a killing.
Remainder of the meeting: We finalized the revision to Bylaw 10 , elected Jeff Williams to replace Karl Picard (now Ex-Officio) as our at-large member on the Executive Committee, and work group leaders gave updates.