Julius Caesar was warned “beware the ides of March” by a soothsayer– I’m not sure that FC Cincinnati needed an oracle to foresee how their first MLS game might go but there are some things that, in retrospect, seem predetermined by the fates. Whew, that was fun to watch! This month’s meeting on March 5th could be summarized as follows:
We spent 2/3 of our time talking about the future
Then we wrote the first draft of a Vision/Mission Statement for the Alliance Council
We quickly covered the feedback we’d heard about the Value Menu – we’re passing that along to the Club along with some recommendations for better signage in the stadium to make it easier to find.
That’s it. That’s what we did. Technically my write up is done so indulge me and let’s talk about why we blew off the intended agenda to spend so much time in the ‘art of the possible’ space. First, happy 10 years in MLS! That’s not just a milestone for the Club but for the Alliance as well. And, as 10 year olds often do, we got slightly introspective and asked ourselves a variant of the age old question: What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? Adrian has said that the goal is full stadium sellouts within the next 10 years; assuming that our STH ranks scale with that vision, we’re going to welcome a lot more Alliance members into the stands. We recognize that there is a need to evolve the Council to differently represent the Fan voice as the Alliance grows along with the Club vision. We had a really involved conversation on what we thought our opportunities were and, frankly, if we thought that change was attainable. Generally speaking, we’d like to have Council representation better mirror the Alliance base, be stronger, and more visible. But we need to define what that looks like and how to get there. Thus enters the Vision/Mission statement. We wanted a North Star – something that we could look at as we make strategic and tactical decisions and check our intentions. We should be able to tie everything that we do back to the principles that we outlay in our Vision. We came out of the meeting with an initial draft that we’re bouncing around in email a bit since we wanted some time to let it soak. This is important, and we want to get it right. This was a really great working session and everyone was participating openly and respectfully as we discussed some hard topics with honesty. And while everybody really contributed during this exercise, Louis and Todd helped the team think aspirational and Martin managed to herd all us chickens and keep us productive. Look for more on this as we keep working on it. I’m writing this on the morning of Saturday, March 9 – today we play Colorado and here’s hoping for another 3 points at home and staying on the top of the table. Spring is coming, the days are getting longer, and it only snowed once this week so things are looking good in Soundersland – Scarves up, Seattle, let’s take them all!
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.