Seattle Sounders FC is an American professional soccer club based in Seattle. The Sounders compete as a member of the Western Conference of Major League Soccer (MLS).
Seattle Sounders FC Youth Development System
Seattle Sounders FC Academy System
The Sounders established their affiliated academy team in 2010, and hired manager Dick McCormick and technical director Darren Sawatzky to develop local players. The academy fields teams in four age levels in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy system, and is affiliated with youth clubs in Washington, North Carolina, and Central California. Several academy products have been signed by the Sounders under the MLS Homegrown Player Rule, including DeAndre Yedlin, Sean Okoli, Jordan Morris, and Henry Wingo.
Seattle Sounders FC Discovery Program
The Sounders Discovery Program (SDP) is for players born 2007 (U-14), 2008 (U-13), and 2009 (U-12). The priority of this program is DISCOVERY. This program is used for the Sounders Academy to discover future professional players, but more importantly, for players to discover and develop their talent through game exploration, high level training, proven educational methods and top-level coaching. Seattle Sounders FC believes in a healthy and vibrant local club structure. The Academy has developed important club relationships across the country, as well as official local partners such as Seattle United, Eastside FC, and Pac NW.
The Sounders Discovery Program will supplement the club environment by providing selected players with twice-weekly training as well as special event programming. Sounders Discovery Program players will continue to train and participate in meaningful matches with their respective club team.
SOUNDERS FC PLAYER PATHWAY
Since its introduction in 2014, the Discovery Program has developed into an important part of Sounders FC Player Pathway. Players selected for this program, have gone on to represent both Sounders FC and Youth National teams at various levels.
Sounders FC – Danny Leyva, Ethan Dobbelaere, Josh Atencio
Tacoma Defiance – Ray Serrano, Alec Diaz, Danny Robles
US National Teams – 30 players have represented the US in a variety of ages
Seattle Sounders FC PLAYER SELECTION
Players can be selected for the Sounders Discovery Program in 3 ways:
- Scouting Identification
- Personal Player Application
- Youth Programs Identification
Player selection is a fluid process and the Sounders FC Recruitment Department is constantly evaluating players.
Sounders Discovery Program will also host open training days throughout spring and summer for players who wish to receive exposure to Academy staff.
To attend an open training day and for further information, please register by clicking here.
Seattle Sounders FC Recruitment
We are proud to have a first class reputation for developing elite soccer players. Furthermore, our priority is to provide each individual with the opportunity to grow and contribute to our community. Each season, we have developed our players to a level where they are signing a professional contract with our MLS First Team, USL Second Team, or in obtaining a scholarship to a top accredited NCAA University.
There are three mechanisms by which we search for talent:
- Scout Identification
- Personal Player Application
- Youth Programs Identification
Seattle Sounders FC Scout Identification
Our Academy scouts observe matches on a weekly basis and are directed accordingly by the Head of Recruitment for the Seattle Sounders FC Academy. Our Academy uses a detailed, long-term talent identification model in order to discover our future players.
Our scouts conduct themselves in the most ethical and professional manner with the highest standards of integrity. Our scouts possess business cards, as well as official Sounders FC identification at all times.
The scouting team respects the rules of the US Soccer Development Academy, and act in an honest and transparent manner. Scouting reports are communicated to the Head of Recruitment, who will make all contacts when permitted, per league rules.
Players can initiate contact with the club at any time by filling out the application below or by contacting the Academy directly.
Seattle Sounders FC Personal Player Application
To apply for a trial or for further information, please submit your application by clicking here.
Once we receive your application, the information will be submitted to our Head of Recruitment for consideration. Please note that due to high volume of interest, the club will only contact players if they receive an invite to join the club on trial.
Seattle Sounders FC Youth Programs Identification
Players are identified by our staff at one of our many Youth Programs that are held at different times and locations throughout the year. There is an official scouting protocol present at all Youth Programs, and scouting reports obtained at camps are communicated directly to the Head of Recruitment.
Seattle Sounders FC Homestay
The Sounders FC Homestay Program offers young players from around the country a unique opportunity to train and play with the Sounders FC Academy. These committed athletes have been identified by the Sounders recruiting department as individuals with the talent to develop as players within the Academy and make their way to the first team.
Sharing your home with a Sounders FC player will provide a unique and enriching opportunity for your entire family!
- Experience the reward of helping a young athlete achieve his dreams
- Support the Sounders FC MLS Cup Champions by directly contributing to the future of the club’s player development
- Deepen your connection with the Club and the entire Sounders FC community
- Monthly stipend of $750 per player
- Two tickets to every Sounders FC 2020 home match
- Academy community support throughout the year, including management of players’ NCAA eligibility and academic schedules by our in-house Head of Education
To learn more about the homestay opportunity, please click here.
Seattle Sounders FC Academy Partners
Seattle Sounders FC has several academy partners throughout the United States.
Seattle United became the first Official Youth Club Partner in Western Washington for Seattle Sounders FC on November 17, 2015. The partnership provides new programming, coaching education and unique interactions through Sounders FC events. The partnership will also see Sounders FC and Seattle United partner in a new jointly operated program to provide boys and girls under the age of 13 the chance to train and be developed under the Sounders FC technical staff and scouts, as well as participating in Sounders FC Academy trainings. The partnership also allows Seattle United players an opportunity to be placed in Sounders FC Academy teams.
You can find more information about Seattle United via the following link: SeattleUnited.com
Spokane Soccer Club Shadow, the largest youth soccer organization in Eastern Washington, joins Seattle United and North Carolina’s Twin City Youth Soccer Association as youth partners of the Sounders FC Academy in an organizational effort to expand and improve its youth development infrastructure through strategic partnerships with youth soccer organizations. Sounders FC and SSC Shadow agreed to an initial partnership in May, which enabled the club to extend its youth developmental infrastructure into a strategic pipeline. Now as an official youth partner, the ties are being strengthened between the greater Spokane area and the state’s lone MLS club.
You can find more information about Spokane Soccer Club Shadow via the following link: http://www.spokanesoccerclubshadow.org/
Eastside FC, the premier soccer club of the Eastside Youth Soccer Association (EYSA) – the first association organized within the Washington State Youth Soccer Association (WSYSA) – became an official youth partner with Sounders FC on March 11, 2016. Eastside FC comprises of more than 70 teams competing at the highest level locally, regionally and nationally. The club has a history of players, coaches and directors connected to Sounders FC, including Homegrown Player Jordan Morris, who played with the ’94 squad from U-11 to U-17 and won six Washington State titles. The partnership provides a clear pathway for players to compete at the next level, exclusive access with Sounders FC coaching education and curriculum and the addition of rave green into the new Eastside FC kit. Eastside FC looks to incorporate the ideas and practices of the Sounders FC Academy into its developmental model. The club attributes its long-running success to dedicated and professional coaches, a highly structured curriculum for player development and best-in-class facilities
You can find more information about Eastside FC via the following link: http://www.eastsidefc.org/.
PacNW Soccer Club, the premier soccer club of the Greater Renton Tukwila Junior Soccer Association and Kent Covington Youth Soccer Association, became an official youth partner with Sounders FC on March 1, 2016. PacNW comprises more than 60 teams competing at the highest level locally, regionally and nationally. The partnership provides a clear pathway for players to compete at the next level, and exclusive access to Sounders FC coaching education and curriculum. PacNW is proud to be one of the leading feeder clubs for placing players on Sounders FC Academy teams.
You can find more information about PacNW via the following link: http://www.pacificnorthwestsoccerclub.org/
The Central Washington Sounders (CWS), formerly known as Central Washington Soccer Academy, is the premier club of Central Washington. The club joins out-of-market affiliates Spokane Soccer Club Shadow and North Carolina’s Twin City, in addition to local agreements with Seattle United, Eastside FC and Pacific Northwest Soccer Club, as Sounders FC continues to grow its developmental reach. With CWS as an official youth partner, Sounders FC will provide coaching education opportunities, a unique, integrated curriculum and a direct pipeline for players into Sounders Academy. Currently, CWS has 464 participants, ranging from the U-6 Junior Developmental Academy through the U-19 premier club. The club recently announced an expansion into North Central Washington as it looks to identify and develop talent outside of its current reach under the guidance of Sounders FC.
You can find more information about Central Washington Sounders via the following link: http://centralwashingtonsocceracademy.com/
Central California Aztecs (CCA) serves a sprawling area in Central California as a premier youth development destination, and joins North Carolina’s Twin City Youth Soccer Association as Sounders FC’s two out-of-state agreements. With CCA as a youth affiliate, Sounders FC will provide coaching education opportunities, a unique, integrated curriculum and a direct pipeline for players into Sounders Academy. Currently, CCA features 45 teams, including a competitive academy program from the U-12 level through U-18. The Aztecs covers a region stretching from Lancaster to Bakersfield to Fresno – a driving distance radius of two hours.
You can find more information about Central California Aztecsvia the following link: http://www.ccaztecs.org/home
Previously known as the Skagit Storm, Northwest United has been at the core of the Pacific Northwest soccer community for years and, in the past decade, has grown into one of the largest clubs within the Pacific Northwest. The club serves players from Skagit, Island, Snohomish and Whatcom Counties, with over 30 participating teams. The official partnership with Sounders FC allows Northwest United players and coaches unique opportunities such as education, an exclusive, integrated curriculum and technical support, ID camps and more, while Northwest United serves as a scouting base for Sounders FC Academy programs, identifying young, high-level talent north of Everett, Washington through to the Canadian border.
You can find more information about Northwest United FC via the following link: http://www.nwunited.org/
Frequently Asked Questions
The Sounders FC Academy is where the some of the nations most talented soccer players come to train and play with the goal of signing for Seattle Sounders FC and earning a professional contract.
Players are selected in a number of ways. Scout Identification Personal Player Application Youth Programs Identification
Unlike other clubs, we are a professional soccer club that competes at the highest level in the USA and as such can offer the following: A chance to earn a professional contract and sign for Seattle Sounders FC 1st Team. A chance to earn a professional contract and sign for the Seattle Sounders FC S2 Team. Coaching, guidance, evaluation and direct contact with Sounders FC 1st Team/S2 coaches. Opportunities to training with the Seattle Sounders FC 1st team. Opportunities to train and play in USL Pro League for S2. Play in games at CenturyLink Stadium and compete in exclusive MLS events. Invitations to top level international tournaments with some of the world’s best clubs.
The Academy is composed of 3 full-time teams and 3 part-time teams:
Our players are provided a variety of high level opportunities dependent on their age level:
Our U-12 (SDP) team plays against Cascadia MLS Clubs and participates in other special events.
Our U-13 (SDP) team plays against Cascadia MLS Clubs, attends a US Soccer Regional event and participates in other special events.
Our U-14 (SDP) team plays against Cascadia MLS Clubs, attends a US Soccer Regional event and participates in other special events.
Our U-15 team plays in MLS Generation adidas Cup Regional Events. The team also participates in the US Soccer Developmental Academy.
Our U-17 team plays in MLS Generation adidas Cup, three prestigious events culminating with International competition. The team also participates in the US Soccer Developmental Academy.
Our U-19 team plays in the US Soccer Developmental Academy and many of it’s players participate for S2 in the USL.
The Academy is free for all selected players and has many additional benefits. Such benefits include a comprehensive, experienced and qualified staff, equipment package for all full-time players (including full uniform and the latest adidas footwear), tickets to Seattle Sounders FC matches and other unique and exclusive opportunities.
Starfire Sports is the home of the Academy as well as the technical staff headquarters for the club. It is the training facility for the Seattle Sounders FC first team and the training and game facility for S2.
Teams either train 5:00 p.m. or at 6:30 p.m. during the week.
No. All players retain their eligibility. Academy players are also permitted to play in professional matches with S2 and still maintain their college eligibility.
Yes. We have a wide network of college contacts and an impressive list of Academy alumni at some of the country’s most impressive educational institutions.
Yes. We have players from all ages that get called into camps and tournaments for their national team.
Yes! Follow us on Twitter @SoundersAcademy and on Facebook.com/SoundersAcademy
For more information on the Sounders FC Academy, please email [email protected]
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Seattle Sounders FC Overview
Soccer team Seattle Sounders FC is located in Seattle, Washington. Major League Soccer’s Western Conference includes the Seattle Sounders (MLS). Founded on November 13, 2007, the squad joined Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2009 as an expansion team. Sounders are the same name as the former North American Soccer League franchise that competed from 1974 through 1983 and are now a phoenix club with a new name.
Adrian Hanauer is the club’s principal owner, with the estates of Paul Allen and Drew Carey, as well as 14 local Seattle families, making up the club’s minority owners. Brian Schmetzer, a former USL Sounders coach and assistant coach, was named head coach in July 2016 after Sigi Schmid’s departure. Lumen Field, home of the Seattle Sounders, has a limited seating capacity of 37,722 for league games. ‘Sound Wave’, a 53-member marching band, is one of several ensembles that support the team at home games. The Cascadia Cup is a fierce competition between Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
On March 19, 2009, the Sounders defeated the New York Red Bulls 3–0 in their opening encounter. This year’s Seattle Sounders have won four U.S. Open Cup titles, as well as two MLS Cups (2016 and 2019), making them one of the league’s most successful teams. For the past twelve seasons, the team has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs and the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals, making the final four times. Five years in a row, the team broke the record for most fans per game in Major League Soccer. The Sounders are one of North America’s most valuable sports franchises.
Clint Dempsey and Fredy Montero, as well as long-time captain Osvaldo Alonso and current captain Nicolás Lodeiro, have all played for the team. Besides that, the Sounders also run a players’ academy and lower level teams that have produced homegrown players including attacker Jordan Morris and current Newcastle United F.C. defender DeAndre Yedlin
Seattle Sounders FC History
Seattle was considered a possible destination for a professional team even before the first cities in the United States were picked to host MLS teams. More than 30 cities in the United States were vying for the opportunity to host an MLS team in 1994, with Seattle being one of them. However, the absence of a soccer-only stadium was a major setback in Seattle’s efforts to acquire an MLS team. At least 10,000 season ticket guarantees from potential MLS franchise cities were required as part of the application process. Fewer than 1,500 such guarantees had been obtained by the deadline of June 3, 1994 for MLS team proposals by Seattle organizers.
Because of competition from MLS and the American Professional Soccer League (APSL) Sounders ticket campaigns, the MLS expansion team’s ticket sales fell short of expectations. A June 14, 1994 announcement stated that Seattle was not among the initial seven cities to get an MLS franchise. This time around, Seattle MLS officials began working with the University of Washington to obtain the use of Husky Stadium as an interim stadium while they pursued the construction of a permanent soccer-specific facility. It was reported that Seattle’s MLS candidacy had been stymied by the presence of the new APSL Seattle Sounders squad and the lack of a “appropriate grass-field facility” in the area in November 1994, when the start of the first MLS season was postponed until 1996. Although Seattle was considered for an MLS team in the first season, it was not one of those selected. It was Paul Allen’s desire to have an MLS expansion team as a co-tenant that helped spur public support for the construction of a new football stadium in Seattle in 1996. Seahawks Stadium was favored by many state residents since it would also be used for professional soccer games.
During the time it took to fix the stadium problem, another problem arose. For Seattle to get an MLS expansion team in 2000, affluent individuals would have to come forward. When the ten-team MLS revealed plans to expand into additional markets in 2003, Seattle was once again mentioned as a possible location for an expansion franchise. Seattle had come “extremely close” to being given the expansion team that was eventually handed over to Salt Lake City, according to MLS Commissioner Don Garber in 2004. As owner of the United Soccer League (USL) Sounders, Adrian Hanauer was in talks with Major League Soccer (MLS) regarding an anticipated $1 million payment to guarantee Seattle’s franchise rights for the 2006 season. Once again being passed over in 2006, Hanauer said that he could not acquire an expansion team without the help of more investors prepared to fund an escalating MLS franchise cost that had climbed to $10 million and beyond.
Expansion and inaugural season
It was in 2007 that Hanauer joined forces with Hollywood producer Joe Roth to undertake a $30 million effort to bring MLS to Seattle. Seattle’s bid received a major boost when Paul Allen, the owner of the First and Goal firm that ran Qwest Field (now Lumen Field), joined the consortium. A fourth member of the ownership group, TV personality Drew Carey, was said to have joined the MLS expansion rumor mill in the first week of November of 2007. On November 13, 2007, a news conference was held to announce that Seattle had been granted an expansion franchise.
The news marked Seattle’s return to top-level soccer for the first time since the collapse of its NASL team in 1983. As a result of the announcement, the Seattle Sounders of the USL First Division will play their final season in the year prior to the formation of their new MLS team. A ceremony at the Space Needle on April 7th, 2008, announced the team name “Seattle Sounders FC,” as well as the team logo, colors, and badge design. After departing the Columbus Crew after their MLS Cup victory, Sigi Schmid was presented as the inaugural head coach of the team on December 16, 2008.
In the 2009 season, Seattle Sounders FC became the league’s 15th team. The club sold out all 22,000 of its season ticket packages for its inaugural season, making them the MLS team with the most season ticket holders. On March 19, 2009, in front of a sold-out crowd of 32,523, the team played their first home match, defeating the New York Red Bulls 3–0. The first Golden Scarf was presented to MLS Commissioner Don Garber before the game. The Seattle Sounders became the first MLS expansion team to win its first three games, all of which were shutouts. 66,848 supporters attended a friendly match with FC Barcelona on August 5, 2009, which was later broken by 67,052 fans for a match against Manchester United and 69,274 fans for a match against Toronto FC in the 2019 MLS Cup.
When the Seattle Sounders won the U.S. Open Cup tournament on September 2, 2009, they became the second MLS expansion team in league history to do so in their first season. D.C. United was defeated 2–1 at RFK Stadium in the process. They qualified for the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League preliminary stage by winning the U.S. Open Cup. It was on October 17, 2009, when the Sounders qualified for the playoffs in their first season as an MLS expansion team. They clinched a postseason berth by beating the Kansas City Wizards 3–2 in overtime in Kansas City. 12 wins, 7 loses and 11 ties were Seattle’s final regular season record. With an average of 30,943 people per game, the team broke the previous MLS attendance record. The 2009 MLS Cup Playoffs ended with a 1–0 aggregate loss to the Houston Dynamo in a two-legged conference semifinal series. All of the Sounders’ regular season and postseason home games, as well as their four U.S. Open Cup games (all played at Starfire Sports Complex) were sold out throughout the 2009 season.
Early years (2010–2013)
There are now 32,000 Sounders fans registered for this year’s season, up from 28,000 in last year. The Seattle Seahawks hosted the Philadelphia Union in their season opener at Qwest Field. Brad Evans and Fredy Montero each scored a goal as the Sounders cruised to a 2-0 victory. After the win, Seattle lost eight of their next 14 games. Second half of the regular season saw a dramatic turnaround for the Seattle Seahawks. A 2–1 victory over Kansas City on October 10, 2010, sealed the team’s postseason berth for the second year in a row after the team had won 10 of its previous 15 games. They had a record of 14 wins, 10 losses, and 6 draws at the end of the season. The Los Angeles Galaxy knocked the Seattle Sounders out of the playoffs in the conference semifinals with a 3–1 aggregate score. Every league game was sold out, breaking the club’s single-season attendance record with a total of 36,173 people.
The Sounders also took part in the CONCACAF Champions League and the U.S. Open Cup during the 2010 season. Seattle made it through the group round of the Champions League, defeating Isidro Metapán 2–1 on aggregate, but was knocked out early. Seattle Sounders FC won the U.S. Open Cup after defeating Portland Timbers, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Chivas USA on the road and at home, respectively, before facing Columbus Crew in the championship game at Qwest Field.
Seattle became the first club since 1983 to win the U.S. Open Cup final with a 2–1 scoreline on October 5, 2010. Seattle’s return to the Champions League in 2011 was secured in front of a U.S. Open Cup record crowd of 31,311. For the third consecutive year, the Seattle Sounders hosted the MLS season opener, a match they ultimately lost 1–0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy. Additionally, the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps returned to Major League Soccer during the season, resulting in the return of the Cascadia Cup, which the Sounders won thanks to an undefeated record against both teams. Seattle Sounders FC’s standout midfielder Steve Zakuani broke his leg in a match against the Colorado Rapids on April 22, 2011, and his season was over. Even though the Sounders had a sluggish start to the season (3 wins in their first 10 games), they finished second in the league with 18 victories, 9 ties, and 7 defeats and qualified for the playoffs for the third year in a row.
It was a record crowd of 35,615 at CenturyLink Field on October 4, 2011, when the Seattle Sounders beat the Chicago Fire 2–0 to win the U.S. Open Cup for the first time in 42 years. Seattle was beaten 3–2 on aggregate by Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference semifinals of the MLS playoffs. Only two goals were scored in the second leg, which the team defeated 3–0 in Salt Lake City. Mauro Rosales, a Sounders midfielder, was named the league’s Newcomer of the Year in 2011. Seattle’s 38,496 average attendance in 2011 shattered its own league record for the second year in a row. A record-breaking crowd of 64,140 witnessed the club’s final regular season home match against the San Jose Earthquakes on October 15, 2011, which was billed as a farewell for goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Seattle became the second MLS team in history to win a competitive match in Mexico in the 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League on August 23, 2011, defeating CF Monterrey 1–0.
Losing 7-3 on aggregate to Santos Laguna, the team finished second in their group and qualified for the quarterfinals of the competition. In April and May of 2012, Seattle went on a five-match winning streak before going nine games without a victory in June. The losing run came to an end on July 7 when the Colorado Rapids welcomed back Steve Zakuani after his recuperation. Seattle was the first side to reach the U.S. Open Cup Finals four years in a row since 1937, however they were defeated by Sporting Kansas City on penalties after a 1–1 draw. Sammy Ochoa netted a goal in each of the squad’s four wins in Champions League group play, advancing the team to the knockout stage. Despite finishing third in the Western Conference, the Sounders were able to make the playoffs for the first time in their history. On aggregate, Seattle came within one goal of tying Los Angeles 3–0 in the Conference Finals, but they lost 4–2 after conceding an away goal in the second leg.
For the first time in their MLS history, the Sounders’ 2012 season concluded without a major prize, as the team failed to qualify for the 2013–14 CONCACAF Champions League.. One of the team’s most prolific goal scorers was 28-year-old striker Eddie Johnson, who tallied 14 goals in his first season with the club and went on to win Comeback Player of the Year honors. DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traoré, and Obafemi Martins, who had paid his release clause to his Spanish club, were all signed during the Sounders’ 2013 preseason. Sporting CP in Portugal loaned Fredy Montero with an option to buy in January, and by July, the veteran forward had been sold permanently to the Portuguese club. Montero departed Seattle on loan to Colombian team Millonarios F.C. The 2012–13 Champions League knockout phase pitted the Sounders against Mexican team Tigres UANL to begin the 2013 season.
The Sounders scored three unanswered goals in the second half to win 3–1 and move to the semifinals after losing 1–0 on the road and squandering an away goal in the second leg. This was the first time a non-Mexican team from the CONCACAF Champions League knockout stages has been eliminated by an MLS squad. Seattle and Santos Laguna met again in the semifinals, although Seattle lost 1–0 at home and drew 1–1 away. A record crowd of 44,038 saw the Sounders extend their five-year trend of breaking the MLS’s all-time attendance mark in 2013.
Due to injuries to key players, the Sounders’ MLS season got off to the worst possible start, going 0-5 in their first five games without a win. It was the end of a seven-year run for the Sounders in the U.S. Open Cup after they lost to the second-tier Tampa Bay Rowdies in the third round. Seattle’s record improved when players returned, and by the end of June, the squad had a six-win, four-loss record in 14 games.
When the Sounders signed Clint Dempsey from Tottenham Hotspur in August 2013, it was the greatest move in the history of the league and a record salary of $32 million over the course of four years. At one time, the squad was within one point of the league’s leading Red Bulls thanks to a string of victories that stretched into September, but a losing streak in October dropped them to fourth place in the conference.
To advance to the conference finals, the Sounders defeated the Colorado Rapids by a score of 2–0. Sounders were beaten 2–1 in Seattle and 3–2 in Portland, putting them out of the playoffs in an uninspiring showing. Averaging 43,144 and 44,038, the Sounders proceeded to set new records for the fourth and fifth consecutive year in 2012 and 2013. Additional parts of the Hawks’ Nest and the upper deck of CenturyLink Field were opened for select regular season games, which helped boost attendance. It was the second-largest single-match attendance in league history for the August 25, 2013, home game versus the Portland Timbers.
First Supporters Shield (2014)
The Sounders brought in Toronto’s Stefan Frei to replace starter goalkeeper Michael Gspurning following a dismal 2013 campaign. As part of a significant reorganization, the club said goodbye to several veteran players, including Eddie Johnson, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Mauro Rosales, and Steve Zakuani. Brad Evans was chosen the team’s new captain. An experienced MLS player from Guatemala, Marco Pappa, has been added to the squad. DeAndre Yedlin was loaned back to Seattle Sounders from Tottenham Hotspur until the end of the MLS season, despite being a homegrown player. Fourth trophy: The Sounders beat Philadelphia Union in extra time to win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in 2014. The Sounders beat the LA Galaxy 2–0 in the last game of the 2014 regular season to capture their first Supporters’ Shield.
The Seattle Sounders progressed to the Western Conference Finals with a 1-0 win over FC Dallas thanks to the away goals rule. They tied the Galaxy on aggregate but lost on away goals after losing 1–0 on the road and beating them 2–1 at home. There were no other teams in MLS Cup history that had a better record than Los Angeles.
Garth Lagerwey, formerly of Real Salt Lake, was named as the club’s general manager in January 2015 to replace Adrian Hanauer. The Seahawks failed to build on their 2014 success. In June, the squad was at the top of the Western Conference, thanks to a series of victories. However, Obafemi Martins was forced to leave a game against the Portland Timbers due to a groin injury, and Clint Dempsey was punished for tearing the wallet of a referee, both of which occurred during a 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match. Injuries and suspensions to the team’s main attacking combo during the summer led to a downward spiral, with Seattle winning just once in nine games. Late in August, Martins had returned and led the squad on an 8-match winning streak to claim fourth place in the Western Conference and a playoff spot. This year’s CONCACAF Champions League group winners were the Sounders, who overcame Vancouver Whitecaps and Club Deportivo Olimpic with three wins each.
Nelson Haedo Valdez, a Paraguayan international, joined Andreas Ivanschitz and Román Torres as the club’s newest designated players in August 2015. Erik Friberg also returned to the club after a stay in Europe. A “curse” for the Sounders was broken when they beat the LA Galaxy 3–2 in the first knockout round of the playoffs, snapping a three-match losing streak against LA. When the Western Conference semifinals versus FC Dallas were level on aggregate after extra time in Frisco, Texas, the playoff run would culminate in a penalty shootout. Adrian Hanauer became the club’s majority owner in November 2015, following Joe Roth. During the 2015 season, the team achieved a new attendance record with an average attendance of 44,247 fans.
Schmetzer era and first MLS Cup (2016–2018)
This season would be hindered by Obafemi Martins’ unexpected departure from the Sounders to join Shanghai Greenland Shenhua F.C. in the Chinese Super League. The loss of Jordan Morris, a homegrown talent, was slightly lessened by the relocation. Other players that GM Lagerwey dealt during the offseason include Marco Pappa and Lamar Neagle of the New York Jets. It was disappointing to see the Sounders underwhelm in their first half-season in 2016, as they finished with 6 wins, 12 losses, and 2 ties. Coach Sigi Schmid was dismissed by long-time assistant coach Brian Schmetzer after the Sounders’ 3–0 loss against Sporting Kansas City on July 24.
The Sounders had only one shot on goal in that match. Both Uruguay midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro and ex-designated player Alvaro Fernández returned to the club the same day, both on designated player contracts. This season, the Sounders improved from ninth to fourth in the Western Conference standings despite a sluggish start and the loss of player Clint Dempsey, who had to quit playing after tests revealed an abnormal heartbeat. Consequently, Schmetzer was named the team’s new head coach.
Both Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro were selected MLS Newcomer of the Year at the end of this season for their 4 goals and 8 assists each in 13 games, respectively, during the regular season. A 1–0 win over Sporting Kansas City and a 4–2 aggregate victory over FC Dallas saw the Sounders progress to the Conference Final of the playoffs. Finally, the Sounders won their first-ever MLS Cup with a 3-1 aggregate victory over the Colorado Rapids in the final. To win the 2016 MLS Cup, the Sounders needed a penalty shootout victory over Toronto FC, which they did 5–4 in extra time, to claim their first championship in the league’s history.
As a “cinderella season,” the team’s performance was recognized as one of the most dramatic in MLS history. It was with the additions of two academy graduates and several seasoned players from the MLS and elsewhere that the Sounders began their title defense. Before being called up to the US national team for the World Cup qualifiers, Dempsey scored in his first match back following a lengthy absence. In the first 17 games of the season, they only won five times, but then went on a 13-match unbeaten streak and won more games to finish second in the Western Conference. During the playoffs, the Sounders defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps and Houston Dynamo to win the Western Conference and return to BMO Field for the MLS Cup final against Toronto. Seattle was beaten 2–0 by Toronto, who became the first team in MLS history to complete a domestic triple. This season began with a run to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, when they were beaten by eventual champions C.D. Guadalajara 3–1 on aggregate. Jordan Morris was ruled out for the rest of the season after injuring his ACL in the Round of 16.
The Sounders went 0-15 in their first 15 games without Morris and numerous other injured starters, and by the end of the season, they had dropped to the bottom of the Western Conference. After bringing in Peruvian forward Ral Ruidaz as a Designated Player, the team went on a long unbeaten streak, which helped them reach the playoffs by the end of August. The team’s eight-game winning streak came to an end on September 1 after they broke the MLS record for most consecutive wins following a shootout. After beating Vancouver 2–1 on September 15, they were on a nine-game winning streak until going on the road and falling to the Philadelphia Union on September 19.
A record of 18 wins, 11 defeats, and 5 ties placed the Sounders in second place in the Western Conference for the 2018 season. The Sounders finished the season with the best half-season in league history, winning 14 of their final 16 games. Sounders minority owner Paul Allen passed away on October 15th, 2018, from non-Hodgkin lymphoma-related complications, leaving his inheritance in the hands of his sister Jody Allen, who is now acting as executrix. It was then on to Conference Semi-Finals, where the Seattle Sounders lost to the Portland Timbers 2–1 on the road before winning 3–2 at home to level things at 2–2. Following a shootout, Portland prevailed 4–2; the home leg is remembered for its thrilling conclusion as one of the best playoff matches in league history.
Second MLS Cup title (2019)
Osvaldo Alonso, the team’s captain and first-year player, was released into free agency and signed with Minnesota United FC before the start of the season.. Chad Marshall, the team’s first-year defender, announced his retirement from professional soccer on May 22. He left the team unexpectedly in the middle of the season. Even with these two players gone and Román Torres serving a 10-match suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in August, the Sounders finished 2nd in the Western Conference and 4th overall in the league, good enough to qualify for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League and make an MLS Cup Playoffs record 11th time.
The Sounders were able to defeat LAFC in the Conference Finals, allowing them to face Toronto FC in the MLS Cup Final for the third time in four years. It was a record crowd of 69,274 for a soccer game at CenturyLink Field, where the Sounders triumphed 3–1.
Colors and Badge
In the form of a heraldic shield, the badge symbolizes “the cooperation between ownership, the community, players and fans” with its two-tiered design. The Space Needle, a well-known Seattle icon, is featured in the logo. Sounder Blue, Rave Green, and Cascade Shale are the team’s official colors, representing the Puget Sound, the forests of the Northwest, and the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle. Fans voted on a name for the squad between March 27 and 31, 2008, in an online poll. Seattle FC, Seattle Republic, and Seattle Alliance were excluded from the first list of candidates in order to create a clean slate. It was disappointing to many in the Seattle community that the historic Sounders moniker had not been included, despite fan research and internal committees’ efforts.
Due to the criticism to their first choice, the team has put a fourth write-in option for the team’s name on the ballot. Nearly half of the more than 14,500 votes cast for a new team name featured some variation of “Sounders” in its name. Upon announcing the club’s name, Hanauer noted the importance of adhering to longstanding customs: “The Sounders have traditionally been the moniker given to the top-level team in our region. With the new MLS franchise, we now have the opportunity to forge our own identity, as we have done so successfully in the NASL and USL 1st Division.” On January 22, 1974, the winner of a public contest to name the NASL team was announced as “Sounders.”
Microsoft was unveiled as the team’s sponsor in a five-year deal worth an estimated $20 million on May 28, 2008, by the team’s owners. Sounders shirts were emblazoned with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live logos and later replaced with the Xbox One as part of a sponsorship agreement (simply shown as “XBOX”).
There were numerous one-year extensions of the Microsoft sponsorship in 2013 and 2014 that lasted until 2016, despite the fact that a consultant was hired to look for additional jersey ties in 2012. Emirates was rumored to be interested in sponsoring the event as part of a marketing push in Seattle, leading to the second extension. Xbox titles like Halo 5 and Gears of War 4 have been promoted on the shirt over the years. WME-IMG was hired by the Sounders in 2017 to look into new jersey sponsorships and other advertising opportunities just before Microsoft’s contract expired.
A multiyear jersey sponsorship arrangement with Seattle-based online retailer Zulily was revealed on January 17th, 2019, at an unknown cost to the squad. While Zulily has taken over sponsorship of the NWSL’s Seattle Reign, CenturyLink Field’s name rights were not included in the deal. WaFd Bank was revealed as the club’s first sleeve patch sponsor ahead of the MLS is Back Tournament in July 2020.
Seattle Sounders FC Stadium
Lumen Field, the Seattle Seahawks’ stadium, serves as the home field for the Seattle Sounders FC. The Seahawks, who have a 30-year lease on CenturyLink Field, were owned by Paul Allen, a former Sounders minority owner. They were able to use Lumen Field without paying rent because of this arrangement. A lease renewal with First & Goal Inc. to continue using Lumen Field through the 2028 season was announced by the team in 2015.
As part of a sponsorship agreement with Microsoft, the field was once known as “The Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field” for Sounders games. Lumen Field, a 69,000-seat venue built for both teams, is the ideal venue for both home and away games. In order to create “a more intimate environment” for MLS matches, the Sounders cover specific parts of the stadium with tarpaulins. For international friendly matches and select league games, the club does open the entire stadium. Only 12,000 tickets were projected to be sold per game in the team’s original business strategy.
For the start of the 2009 season, the stadium’s capacity was lowered to 24,500 due to excessive demand. However, the capacity has been expanded numerous times, from 38,500 in 2012 to 39,115 in 2015 and 37,722 in 2019, due to ongoing high demand. 66,452 fans showed up to watch the Seattle Sounders beat the Portland Timbers 3–0 on October 7, 2012, setting a new MLS attendance record. Clint Dempsey made his home debut for the Sounders against the Portland Timbers on August 25, 2013, and the Sounders beat the Timbers 1–0 in front of 67,385 fans.
Lumen Field has previously hosted international soccer events on temporary natural grass while the Sounders play on FieldTurf. FIFA awarded a 2-star quality certification to a newly constructed FieldTurf field in 2012, the highest rating possible. It is possible that the pitch could be permanently restored with natural grass if the Major League Soccer rules require it.
Installing a new turf surface in early 2016 was part of FieldTurf’s extended leasing agreement, which had begun to show signs of wear on the previous surface. A few miles away in the city of Tukwila, the Starfire Sports Complex houses the team’s training facilities and administrative headquarters. U.S. Open Cup games are also held at Starfire Field, a more intimate venue than Lumen Field. It has been stated by Sounders representatives that they prefer smaller cup matchups with a more intimate environment.
Seattle Sounders FC Supporters
Drew Carey requested the formation of the Sounders FC Alliance. Members of the Alliance can vote on the expulsion of the general manager and other team choices based on the FC Barcelona fan association. Non-season ticket holders can join the Alliance for a charge, although season ticket holders are automatically in. Voting rights, an invitation to the annual meeting, and other amenities are all included in membership. To be elected to the Alliance Council, a member must get at least 25 nominations from other members each year. Adrian Hanauer’s fate as general manager of the Seattle Sounders was set to be decided between the months of October and December of last year.
A total of 13,775 Alliance members cast ballots, and Hanauer was re-elected. Sounders FC Alliance chairman Drew Carey. MLS’s first marching band was a special request from Carey for the Sounders. This resulted in the formation of the Sound Wave, a 53-piece marching band made up of brass and percussion. In addition to Latin, rock, and pop, the band plays music from a variety of other genres. The Sound Wave has always accompanied the March to the Match, a pre-game procession from Occidental Park to Lumen Field.
In addition to the Sounders Alliance, there are now four other recognized, independent fan organizations. The largest group of Sounders fans, Emerald City Supporters (ECS), formed in 2005 and located in sections 121–123 of the stadium’s south end. Members of “The Pod,” a group known as Eastside Supporters, can be found in section 150 of the stadium. Gorilla FC is a club of Seattle Sounders fans located in Sections 119 and 120 on the stadium’s south side. Sections 100 and 144–152 in the north end of the stadium are home to the “North End Faithful.”
Seattle Sounders FC Rivalries
The Seattle–Portland and Seattle–Vancouver rivalry began in the NASL in the mid-seventies and continued through the United States Soccer League and Major League Soccer. For the USL teams in Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, the fan-driven Cascadia Cup was established in 2004. As a consequence of regular season matchups, each team’s supporters’ group exchanges the trophy. When the Sounders joined MLS in 2009, Seattle was left out of the Cascadia Cup for two seasons, but Portland and Vancouver were granted expansion teams in 2011.
In the 2009 MLS season, the San Jose Earthquakes and their supporters started a competition called the Heritage Cup. The MLS teams that bear the names of their NASL predecessors are eligible to compete in the tournament. The winner is decided by the final standings in their respective leagues. The Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy have played multiple times in the MLS Cup Playoffs, even though there is no recognized rivalry between the two teams. Also, the rivalry between the two most successful coaches in league history, Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid, played a role. From 2017 to 2018, Schmid was the head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy, following his resignation from the Sounders.
The club’s three owners and an ownership group of 14 families make up the club’s ownership group. Adrian Hanauer, the former owner of Seattle Sounders, is the majority owner. In addition to Jody Allen, the Microsoft co-founder and owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, there are two other independent minority owners: Drew Carey, a comedian and game show host, and the Paul Allen estate. His mother Lenore Hanauer also became a minority owner of Tacoma-based Reign FC in the NWSL in January 2019, but there was no relationship between the two clubs; OL Groupe gained majority control of Reign the following year. By joining forces with Paul Allen, the team was able to pool resources, including more than half of the company’s full-time employees, and consolidate ticket and marketing operations as well as financial processes. On April 30, 2014, the Sounders became a totally independent business organization after this partnership expired. Since 2007, Joe Roth has been the majority owner of the team, which he handed over to Hanauer in 2015. Roth stepped down as a member of the club’s board in 2019. Terry Myerson and his wife Katie Myerson, Russell Wilson, Ciara, Macklemore and Tricia Davis, Satya Nadella and Anu Nadella, Amy Hood and Max Kleinman, Joe Belfiore and Kristina Belfiore, S. Somasegar and Akila Somasegar, Chee Chew and Christine Chew, David Nathanson and Sabina Nathanson, Brian McAndrews and Elise Holschuh, and Mark Agne an Agne The investment was made possible through Myerson’s relationships and talks, which lasted 15 months. The extended ownership group will have an executive board that will make decisions on the club’s affairs.. Tomozawa became president of business operations after Donna LeDuc and Peter Tomozawa were added to the minority ownership group. Tod Leiweke and his wife, Tara, will become part owners of the Seattle Kraken in October 2020. Melissa and Ken Griffey Jr. also became part of the ownership group in September. The Sounders currently have Brian Schmetzer as their head coach. Sigi Schmid’s departure in July 2016 necessitated his promotion to interim head coach from assistant coach. In November 2016, after the team qualified for the playoffs, Schmetzer became the team’s permanent head coach. Gonzalo Pineda, a former Liga MX and MLS player, and Djimi Traoré, a former Seattle Sounders and Liverpool F.C. player, will serve as the team’s assistant coaches. Coaching the team’s goalkeepers is a job that Tom Dutra has had since 2008. Real Salt Lake’s general manager and president of soccer, Garth Lagerwey, was brought in to replace Adrian Hanauer in January 2015. Chris Henderson, a former Major League Soccer (MLS) player from Everett, Washington, was appointed technical director on January 24th, 2009. Taking over for longtime Seahawks executive Gary Wright, Taylor Graham, a former Sounders defender, was named Vice President of Business Operations in 2012. Professional sports team of the year in 2009 was awarded to Seattle Sounders FC because of their record-setting attendance and playoff appearances in their rookie season. Tod Leiweke, the former CEO of both the Seahawks and the Sounders, was named the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 2009 Executive of the Year. In 2009, MLS Executive of the Year was awarded to Gary Wright. As a sports executive in Seattle in 2012, he was voted Sports Star Executive of the Year. When it comes to annual revenue and operating income, the Sounders are the league’s most profitable team, according to Forbes in 2015. When it comes to MLS franchises, Seattle Sounders are valued at $245 million, which is 717 percent higher than the expansion fee it paid to join. In significant part, their high attendance and local popularity are responsible for the team’s financial success.
City of Seattle, Washington
When it comes to the sea, Seattle has a reputation for being one of the best. It is the county seat of King County, Washington. Located in both Washington and in North America’s Pacific Northwest, Seattle is the most populous city in both states. With a population of 3.98 million, Seattle is the 15th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, according to Census figures released in 2019. At a 2.1% annual growth rate, Seattle was the fastest-growing large city in the United States in July 2013 and was still in the top five in May 2015. Seattle had a 3.1% annual growth rate in July 2016 and was the fastest-growing major U.S. city.
Latitude 47°36’35″N makes Seattle the northernmost city in the United States with a population of at least 500,000, further north than Canadian cities like Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. It covers an area of 83.9 square miles on the ground (217.3 km2). Seattle has a hilly terrain. Capitol Hill, First Hill, West Seattle, Beacon Hill, Magnolia Hill, Denny Hill, and Queen Anne are among the city’s many hills. Olympic Peninsula, the Cascade Mountains, and Lake Sammamish lie east of Lake Washington, while the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas lay west of Puget Sound. Parkland covers more than 5,540 acres (2,242 hectares) in the city.