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

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Day Dawning in Seattle Soccer

For those who need to catch their breath and mull over the ending of the 15-year run of the Seattle Sounders of the United Soccer Leagues, this post might be coming too soon. If so, please accept my apologies in advance, and rest assured that GOALSeattle.com is all about keeping Seattle soccer history alive.

I am choosing to look forward only because that is what my heart is telling me to do. There is so much to anticipate, so much to ponder, so much left undone that will very soon take shape and be done.

I like the phrase I used when we were getting out the vote to call Seattle MLS the "Sounders." It was: "Tradition from the first kick." My attempt at blending the past with the future, the old clubs with the new.

It is indeed a brand new day.

Here are a few things to watch for between now and kick-off in April 2009:

Head coach hiring: It literally could be done at any moment, but my guess is the announcement timing will be based on whom the club hires. If they decide it is Brian Schmetzer then they can announce it in October. If they decide it is Sigi Schmid, then it gets more complicated. Schmid is leading the Columbus Crew to a wonderful season, and it might just go all the way to MLS Cup (November 23rd). If it does, Sounders FC would have to really scramble, because...

Expansion player draft: The MLS expansion draft will take place shortly after MLS Cup, perhaps as early as November 25th. Sounders FC will want a head coach in place before the draft. I wonder how long before the draft they'll shoot for? You would think they would want some time for the coach to study his player options. Of course Schmid and Paul Mariner (another coaching candidate) know the MLS rosters well. Schmetzer has the time to study up.

Full kit reveal: As the winter shopping season gets underway we'll likely see more of Sounders FC's uniform and get a chance to buy one. Will the away kit be revealed and go on sale in December, too?

Starfire Digs: The target date to have Sounders FC practice fields ready to go is December 2008. Club offices are also being finished at the Tukwila soccer haven.

MLS SuperDraft: Sounders FC have been carefully scouting college talent in preparation for the MLS SuperDraft. The draft will take place in St. Louis on January 15th. The first round will be televised on ESPN2. Sounders FC have the first pick overall and in each round unless they decide to make a trade. See links on the GOALSeattle Sounders FC Roster Page.

January transfer window: The next FIFA transfer window opens in January 2009. Sounders FC may point to that window when looking at foreign talent.

First Sounders FC training camp: The earliest day that MLS clubs can ask players to report to camp in Saturday, January 26th. No doubt Sounders FC will be ready to get going on that day.

2009 MLS Season Schedule: While there is no 'set date' for the league schedule to be released, it has happened as early as February in the past. Sometimes the league releases the opening week fixtures and then the rest later on. The 2008 schedule was released on February 7th.

Advertising & Ticket Sales: We can anticipate that at some point we'll see TV ads for the new club, perhaps to boost ticket sales. Right now Sounders FC have stagnated at just under 18,000 full season tickets. It is a tremendous number, best in the USA. They've got a goal of getting to 20,000 by April and selling out all home matches at around 25k.

Radio Deal & other Voices: We know that King and Kong are on board with Kevin Calabro. The next step is announcing the radio part and who'll be joining Kevin in the other broadcasting areas.

Join the Sounders FC anticipation at www.SeattleSoccerTalk.com

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