David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Friday, July 18, 2008

Q & A with Bart Wiley about the Members Association

Wiley says it's Drew's baby and he is there to support all sides.

The past week or so on www.SeattleSoccerTalk.com we've had some spirited discussions in regards to the ticket sales in the South end of Qwest Field and the overall role the Members Association might play in the match day experience.

I talked with Bart Wiley of Sounders FC to see what he envisions for the unique association and for the South end where standing supporters will be.

Fans are giving feedback here.

1. From the club perspective, what are a few of the goals, hopes and dreams for the SSFC Membership Association?

To create the most vibrant, energetic match-day atmosphere in Major League Soccer.

To actively engage ownership and the front office, and, through a collaborated effort, listen, plan, advise, and implement. This will happen through Council, the Advisory Board and continued outreach through e-newsletters and voting.

To continue to grow the Association and educate Members on the importance of being an active member – whether through Council, support at matches, or voicing opinion through the voting process.

2. What is your role in this adventure?

To listen, ask questions, listen some more, and then work with Members to accomplish goals.

Drew Carey is the Chairman – I support him and the Members Association as Executive Director.

3. This seems like Drew Carey's 'baby,' but how much will he actually be involved?

This is Drew’s ‘baby’ – he will play an active role in many ways – general advice moving forward, serving as host at the annual meeting, and by attending Member events throughout the year – as his schedule allows.

He is passionate about this group and will continue to play a huge role in the overall direction.

4. Speaking of Drew Carey projects, there has been much talk by fans about the Sounders FC Marching Band. Will the band fall under the direction of the Membership Association, or just how will the two interact?

Like the Members Association, the band was Drew’s idea.

The band exists on it’s own but will be fully integrated into the match-day environment and community events. It will also support the Members Association / Supporters groups on match-day.

5. Do you already have a general idea of how you hope the atmosphere is at matches in 2009? What are you envisioning? How will the MA be involved in making decisions about match-day atmosphere?

We want the atmosphere on match-day to be unrivaled – we want the atmosphere to be intoxicating – we want the atmosphere to spurn on the players – we want the atmosphere to be a huge home field advantage for our side.

We envision Supporters groups taking the lead in providing atmosphere - constant energy through song / chants, flag waving, continual music either from the band or ethnically diverse musical groups…and other elements as they are approved by Qwest Field.

The MA will be actively involved – there will soon be a Supporters Group meeting.

6. When is the first all-members meeting, and what is topic number one on the agenda?


7. When some soccer fans here the term 'supporters' they might think of the kind of fans who stand, sing, chant and wave flags. Is the MA a way to get all fans together and talking about SSFC issues? What challenges do you think bringing so many different types of fans together might present?

There will be challenges but education will be the key.

Each Member may not be an active match-day Supporter, but they will certainly support the club.

Supporters may not be Members (they may not have season tickets or they may not purchase a $125 stand-alone membership) but they play an active role in providing atmosphere on match-days.

This challenge will continually be addressed as we move forward.

8. The South End of Qwest Field is where standing supporters will be located. It is also an area where plenty of seats still remain to be sold. Will SSFC be working with current supporters groups such as the ECS to market those seats to a rowdier type of soccer fan?


9. You've been a club spokesman for the USL Seattle Sounders when it comes to communicating with supporters groups. What differences do you think there will be in your new role with the SSFC MA? How hard is it to tell fans "No" when they are passionate about something?

I’ll play a more active role with Sounders FC supporters. I’ll engage more often, listen more often, and ask questions more often.

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