Meeting Recap: August 2019

August meeting recap

Well, technically you’ll all be seeing this in September so we should start with OMG WHERE HAS THIS SEASON GONE?!  It’s been a doozy – but now it’s time for us to kick ourselves into gear and keep jostling for our position in this very close and fluid Western Conference race.  Since LAFC has made some deal with the devil to get All The Shield Points, our goal is #2 and that home playoff game – the only problem is all the other teams that want that same thing.  I believe in our Tough Kids.

The Alliance meeting on August 6 was a working meeting with most of our time spent talking about some early August game day events and the (ongoing) Supporter Group issues with the Fan Code of Conduct.  (Those who are not aware of the issue and would like to learn more can search for #AUnitedFront on Twitter for some additional information from groups around the league).

The Alliance Council walks a fine line here – the Supporter Groups are independent entities with their own relationships with the Front Office and the League and the Alliance Council sits alongside them but has no official role in their organizations.  That being said, Alliance Council has publicly come out on the side of inclusion (see our Calling Foul campaign as an example) and given that stance, we officially drafted and published an Opinion Statement standing in solidarity against hate, bigotry, racism and intolerance in this sport.  We will continue to watch to see the league response, as will many (including the Sounders Front Office) in the hope that there is an opportunity for dialog on this issue.

The last part of our meeting was a discussion around volunteering and coordination for some big events that the Alliance Council is responsible for supporting or organizing.  We hope that you all enjoyed the Season Ticket Member Celebration on the 25th (some of us were still working on enjoying that win over Portland on the 23rd and missed it… bummer) and we’re getting into the planning for the Annual Business Meeting in November.  Ever wanted to be a part of planning and supporting these sorts of things?  If so, run for Alliance Council yourself!  We’re wrapping up the end of this business year (sad) but the new one starts in December and we’d love to see you be part of it.  For more information on joining Council just click here: So You Want To Be A Council Member.  Will you be part of the shaping of the fan experience next year?

And that was the meeting for August!  Lots of targeted conversation and planning – lots of excitement around how we finish up this season.  Fall is here, it’s time to push up in the standings and get ready to see if we can make a run for the Cup again.  Until the next time – Scarves Up

Meeting Recap: July 2019

Sitting (semi) Pretty In The Emerald City

Okay, where did July go? As I write this I see August peaking its head around the corner and demanding some attention – I’ve got sights firmly set on 2 dates right now though.  Brad Smith’s loan is up at the end of this month (if you’re reading this in the Future please adjust as necessary) and the Secondary Transfer Window closes on August 7.  Right now we’re sitting 2nd in the West but it’s an uneasy seat to hold; with recent injuries and the new single elimination playoff schedule I think we’re all a bit anxious to see what shakes out.

We had a decent amount to get through in our Alliance Council meeting in July – starting with a really great conversation with Mikaela Purvis – the Director of Fan Relations for the Club.   She walked us through the STH survey results and shared where we have opportunity to help with communication of Alliance Member benefits.   For example, did you know that if you’re an Alliance Member and you can’t use your tickets to a game you can arrange ahead of time to trade them for seats at a future game?   (I didn’t).  That’s cool.   We should be talking more about those sorts of things.  Spoiler alert – we’re going to do that.

We also talked about the fan celebration happening the afternoon of August 25th , how last year went, and what ideas we all had for making the most of the time that we will have with players.

Next – Round Table and General Updates… so here’s the lightening round version:

  • Have you noticed our social media ramping up? Kudos to Kelsey for driving that engagement. Look for us on Twitter and Facebook!
  • Scarf vote time! We completed our review of the scarf designs and sent them to the FO: look for your opportunity to vote on next year’s most fashionable neck warmer!
  • A couple of months ago we did an internal survey about the Alliance Council and our own feelings/experiences as part of that group. Martin will share more detail and thoughts with us in the upcoming months.

Lastly, we talked about our #CallingFowl campaign to drive awareness of our perceived disconnect between a proposed league wide sponsorship deal between MLS and Chik-Fil-A.   You can read more about it here:  #CallingFowl.   This subject has garnered some of the highest levels of engagement on Twitter, Facebook and our website in Council history.  We’re proud that we’ve driven conversations around this topic within the fan base and the Sounders Front Office – we stand by our beliefs that soccer is an inclusive sport and should be welcoming to all.  We will keep you up to date of any additional feedback or actions here.

With that – we adjourned into a warm July evening in Pioneer square looking forward to the second half of the season.  Scarves up, everyone… it’s run time.

 

Meeting Recap: June 2019

June will break your heart. I can see it already. She’ll shatter you into a million pieces. Marie Lu

*sigh*  Hello June.  It’s been a bit of a month, hasn’t it?  In the midst of a struggling run of form (nice timing, International Break) the Alliance Council had our monthly meeting on June 4  where we talked about all sorts of positive and creative things.   Let’s focus on that, shall we?

First, we said think you to Molly as she stepped away from her role running the Social Media aspects of the Council and had a vote to fill that position on the Exec Team.  We’re happy to welcome KELSEY as our new Media Queen – look for her to rally us cats and get us all sorted with things like hashtags.  I hear they are a thing now. #Hashtag

The next order of business was a serious one – positioning on the rumored Chick-fil-A/League sponsorship deal.  Most of the conversation was around our role as voices for the Alliance and if it was our place to speak up regarding business decisions.  There is a very clearly defined line around our responsibilities in our Charter; when it comes to how the Club is run (and business decisions in general) we don’t have a vote.  This is a good thing – we should be leaving the running of the Sounders (and by extension MLS) to the people who are charged with running that.  HOWEVER… we do get to have an Opinion and we feel that it’s fully within our purpose to voice that on behalf of Alliance Members.  In the end, we agreed that we wanted to say something and created a targeted working group to pull together materials.  Look for that soon.

Our last, and perhaps funnest (yes, that’s a word) formal activity was to talk about our submission for the Sounders Best XI.  Since our vote counted for 25% of the weighting in the selection this was Serious Business.  .  There was a lot of “remember when” and recounting of personal experiences that influenced people’s thinking.  I think the only thing we agreed on was that we wished that we had a bench to fill because we’ve been pretty spoiled with some awesome players over the years.  Me, I decided that I would put in my choices based on their overall impact to the team trying to keep in mind that the teams of 10 years ago were doing something different than the team does now.  It was either that or go to my fallback – best hair.

We wrapped with a quick round table and update from the other working groups.  SEASON TICKET HOLDER SCARF SUBMISSIONS ARE COMING SOON!  Keep an eye out for news from the Club and get your crayons, pens, pencils, ready to be creative. Imagine all those scarves in Century Link with YOUR design on them. Need inspiration? ‘ Best hair’ is a valid theme…  just saying.

The guys are back in action here in a couple of weeks so get those voices ready and stretch – it’s almost scarves up time!

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.