MLS Club Preview: Seattle Sounders FC - New Kid On The Block
Brief History and Information: In November of 2007, MLS commissioner Don Garber announced that the Seattle Sounders FC would be the latest club to join MLS. Previously, Seattle had been home of the Sounders in the NASL from 1974 to 1983. Since 1994, the Sounders have played in the USL First Division. Microsoft and XBOX Live will be sponsoring and partnering with the club in a deal worth $20 million over five years. The club will play at Qwest Field, the same field as the Seattle Seahawks. The field will be called "The XBOX Pitch At Qwest Field."
Front Office: Seattle has a very strong front office. Ownership of the club is split between several different investors.
Joe Roth, majority owner - founder of Revolution Studios; chairman of Walt Disney Studios and Twentieth Century Fox
Drew Carey, minority owner - comedian, actor, and writer; avid fan of LA Galaxy and USA national team
Adrian Hanauer, minority owner/general manager - former majority owner of the Sounders in the USL; won the USL championship in 2005 and 2007; will act as coach and general manager
Tod Leiweke, CEO - CEO of Seattle Seahawks; has 25 years experience in sports
Gary Wright, Senior VP of business operations - will handle business operations of the club including public relations and marketing
Chris Henderson, technical operations - will act as assistant manager
Squad: Currently, the Sounders have two players signed up for the club: Kasey Keller and Sebastien Le Toux. According to MLS rules, the club can begin signing players in 2008. The Sounders will also be first in line in the 2009 MLS Draft. They can also attempt to sign players from other MLS clubs in an expansion draft. One possibility that the club might use is to sign players from the Sounders' USL team.
Sebastien Le Toux, forward/midfielder -French player who played for the Sounders in the USL; scored 22 goals last season; named USL MVP; formerly played for F.C. Lorient in French League 2 and Stade Renais in League 1
Kasey Keller, goalkeeper - Olympia, WA native who is a four time World Cup participant; named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year three times (1997, 1999, 2005); formerly played for Fulham and other European clubs
Thoughts: Seattle seems to have a very good front office capable of bringing in top class players. It'll be very interesting to see who they will sign on. Only time will tell if Seattle Sounders FC will be able to compete and succeed in MLS.
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