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

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Joe Roth will have final say in SSFC's big moves

Joe Roth carefully considers the major moves for Sounders FC.
(Jenni Conner)

When Seattle was awarded Major League Soccer's 15th franchise for 2009 it was clear that Joe Roth had added a final piece to the puzzle in garnering league approval.

When Seattle MLS presented its now-notorious list of possible club names it was Joe Roth who reopened the voting that eventually allowed "Sounders FC" to become the name.

When Sounders FC announced a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with X-box and Microsoft Roth took the podium and declared "One of the things that is so helpful for me is that I came to this opportunity with no knowledge, so you can make impossibly high standards." He went on to say his approach for Sounders FC is just that: ask first for the impossibly high and see if it is possible.

As the club approaches the next big moves, which seem to be hiring a head coach and signing a designated player, I am keeping Roth's stated approach in mind.

I've been told that Roth is the final say-so guy in the organization and since he is the majority owner that isn't hard to believe. The big stuff not only crosses Joe's desk, but waits for his investigation and approval before happening.

This isn't necessarily good news for the 2008 Seattle Sounders players and coaches. Roth will look first for an international soccer star as "DP," and an experienced, well-connected internationally-known head coach. He won't be the least bit impressed with the current season the USL-1 Sounders are having. He'll set the bar high above that.

The MLS salary cap will bring Roth down to earth a bit, I'd guess, as will his conversations with GM Adrian Hanauer. Together Sounders FC supporters can only hope that the 'blend' of shooting for the stars and making big impressions, while at the same time understanding the local Seattle soccer world, will mesh and provide the best for the club.

Brian Schmetzer does not fit in the 'impossibly high standards' category (except perhaps in terms of all current Seattle-area coaches). The USL Sounders head coach is qualified, but doesn't have MLS coaching experience and is not a known name internationally. Still, you'd think that Schmetzer would be a great candidate for somewhere on the coaching staff for the strengths he can bring: local connections, understanding of US soccer, winning resume.

The current Sounders roster may have been genuinely unsettled at the signing of Kasey Keller this week. It was Roth again aiming high, and again getting what he wanted. Who is the most-decorated goalkeeper in American history? Who would establish that position in the history of the club as of the highest order and professionalism? Who would be the absolute best choice under the given salary conditions and considering local soccer history? Keller, of course, and Roth got him.

Sounders FC. X-box. Keller. Three moves approved by Joe Roth.

Using Roth's impossibly high standards routine, it may be time to watch Europe for our first coach and the entire globe for our first designated player.

Talk about this blog entry here.
Talk about the search for a Sounders FC head coach here.

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