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!

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!

Meeting recap: March 2019

Alliance Council Meeting March 5th 2019

By: Carmen Hall

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:

  1. We spent 2/3 of our time talking about the future
  2. Then we wrote the first draft of a Vision/Mission Statement for the Alliance Council
  3. 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!