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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Sunday, November 30, 2008

USL Sounder in YouTube commercial

What to do while waiting around to see if Sounders FC are going to offer you a contract? Why not do a YouTube commercial for a chiropractor? If you are Roger Levesque, that is just what you do.

Seattle Sounders : From the top

A few of you may have noticed that the GOALSeattle.com Museum photo archives from 1974-2007 are out of commission. Don't worry, the photos aren't lost, just not accessible. Now I've got the webmasterly task of going back to the yearly pages and seeing what absolutely 'must' be brought forward using our new photo system.

It all began in 1974 for the original NASL Sounders and that is where we also begin with our photo 'resurrections.'

View the new 1974 Seattle Sounders Scrapbook.

The permanent link will be on the 1974 Seattle Sounders Museum page.

Next up: 1975.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bermuda blaster Smith wants fresh start in Seattle

Smith reacts after beating Houston's Craig Waibel for a goal.
(Photo by Ellen Blanchard)

We've got ten new names to follow now, and even if some are traded away before kick off 2009, the new Sounders FC players are news right now.

Bermuda blaster Khano Smith, a mixture of athleticism, cockiness, brilliance and occasional mind-bogglingly bad tackles, talks with the Bermuda Sun about coming to Seattle:

"I was out of contract so I wasn't protected this time, as I have been in other seasons, so I knew it was a possibility that I would be picked up. "I talked to the Seattle manager and technical director and they were keen to have me over there. They've offered me a good deal and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

In the Royal Gazette, Smith says: "This is a completely new experience for me and it feels strange, but the Sounders wanted me and that's a really nice feeling.

"I've spoken with their technical director and he said he was excited to have me onboard and was looking forward to me becoming a Sounders player."

A Revs blogger says you get what you get with Smith: "Despite the valleys and peaks, Khano Smith must be appreciated for the player he was: a playfully unpredictable performer who occasionally teased you with glimpses of his full potential."

More to read today:
Goal.com says the key word is 'upside'
Columbus Dispatch: Blame Crew if Sigi goes

Friday, November 28, 2008

HOT TICKET: Gary Boyle sees Seattle soccer stock rising

Professional soccer in Seattle is going completely the opposite direction of the local and especially the national economy. No one is noticing this more that Sounders FC Customer Sales Rep. Gary Boyle. Gary has gone from sharing space at Pacific Feather Company in SoDo to rubbing elbows with Seahawks staff at the swank new Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton.

If the name 'Gary Boyle' sounds familiar, that's because Gary is one of the employees who has transitioned up from the USL Sounders to the Major League Soccer Sounders FC. In fact, he was one of the very first to do so.

If you haven't been keeping track of Sounders FC ticket sales, here is fair warning: most, if not all of Sounders FC's matches will sell out in 2009, some even before the season starts. Of the anticipated 24,500 seats available per match, only just over 6,000 are left unsold. Time to think about combining with friends on a set of season tickets, eh?

Gary Boyle last season with the USL Sounders.
(Rick Morrison photo)

Gary has seen the change in ticket demand blast off from the tepid sales of the United Soccer Leagues Sounders to the red hot surge for Sounders FC.

"As you know," Gary states, "the difference in the caliber (of play between USL and MLS) is not that great. It’s the perception of major league and minor league (that has fueled ticket sales). We both know the soccer community has been waiting for this for a long time." It doesn't hurt that Gary is now surrounded by an office 'team,' either. "The resources we have here make a big difference. First and Goal is an amazing company. I am now one of ten sales representatives."

Most people reading this blog will know Gary through his work with the Sounders of old and new. Gary heard that the USL Sounders were reorganizing their front office in 2001. "I found out that the Sounders were re-organizing from Chris Collins, applied and was offered the Director of Ticket Sales job a few years back." Boyle is a Huskies fan and has officiated high school basketball for thirty-four seasons.

Now the 2009 Sounders FC campaign is fast-approaching, and Boyle is right in the middle of an office buzzing with excitement and effort. "The vibe is incredible. This is the hardest working staff I have ever been a part of. The coolest aspect is how the Seahawks ticket staff has bought into the process, and have sold a lot of seats." How many altogether for the office? Over 18,000 season tickets with four months still to go before kick off. It is the highest total in the 13-year history of Major League Soccer. "Our ultimate goal," notes Boyle, "is 22,000. We won’t go beyond that. We must have inventory for group sales, and some walk-up. We still have a lot of leads, and with more players to be announced and a coach coming, we will reach our goal."

Seattle's ownership group are watching the ticket sales numbers closely. Joe Roth is very interested in ticket sales. He keeps in contact with Gary Wright (club VP) and Chuck Arnold (First and Goal) often. The news remains positive.

If you are going to risk it without a season ticket, you'll need to keep an eye on February, when the league schedule is expected to come out. "Partial packages will be available when the schedule comes out," Gary says. "They will be selected games, probably half the season. As soon as the schedule is announced, single games tickets will go on sale."

At some point the ticket office may have a similar situation to the one they have with the Seahawks: no more tickets left to sell. Will the club consider opening up the Hawk's Nest or other seats then? "If we get in the 20,000 mark for season tickets, it (the 24,500 cut-off) will probably go up a bit. Not sure what that number will be though. It is important to have tickets available for groups, over the long haul, we will always need them."

In the meantime Boyle and the gang are busy convincing fans about the remaining unsold lower bowl seats. "We try and tell fans that there are no bad seats at Qwest Field. Some of the best seats for soccer are from the eighteen yard mark to the end line, and behind the goals. We also have a good amount of club seats left."

Contact Gary Boyle for Sounders FC ticket requests:
Online Request Form
Online Ticket Brochure
425.203.8303 (T)
425.203.8150 (F)


You can read more about Gary in this article from SoccerSeattleStyle.com.

Sounders FC Marching Band in Thanksgiving Parade

Here's a short clip of the Sounders FC Marching Band in the Seattle Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, courtesy of KING 5 TV.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sounders 'patch' for Pro Evolution Soccer

If you play 'Pro Evolution,' then a patch for Sounders 2009 kits has been created for you!

Asiat has posted the patch download link here.

Looking good, Mr. Ljungberg.

I'd also like to point out that the patch has same/same for colors on the shirts and shorts, as it should be!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

First takes on the Sounders' expansion draft

Midfielder Brad Evans

Expansion drafts are by nature hard to judge because so much of what makes them either great, good, bad or awful happens months after they take place.

I think it is accurate to say that Sounders fans are generally underwhelmed with Seattle's choices as a first response. I think it is also accurate to say that fans of other Major League Soccer clubs are generally not overly impressed with the players we picked, either. The forums on GOALSeattle and BigSoccer show that the draft has pretty much been an initial 'let down' for fans.

Listen to the post-draft media conference call from SoundersFC.com here.
Read some day-after media stories in these links posted in the GS forums.
The Seattle Soccer Show talks about the draft: direct audio link

Soccer pundits are also starting to weigh in with their opinions. Goal.com's Kyle McCarthy actually likes what he sees in the draft. He notes that Sigi Schmid's fingerprints appear to be all over the selections: "Upon further examination, Schmid isn't the only one who should like these picks. The ten selections are generally prudent in salary (Jaqua and Vagenas make the most, both hovering around $150,000) and stocked with upside."

Midfielder /winger Khano Smith

Steve Davis says the Sounders have sent signals as much with who they didn't draft as who they did. "Salary considerations might similarly help explain why experienced fellows like Duilio Davino, Chris Klein, Terry Cooke, Viktor Sikora, Mulrooney, Hartman and a few others were available but weren't selected. All that experience comes at a price -- which is exactly why clubs feel OK about leaving some of those guys exposed. They know Seattle is already in a position where they need to pinch the pennies, so they leave their more pricey vets off the protected list, fairly confident those guys would still be in their familiar colors once Seattle had made its selections."

One of the more biting reviews of the Seattle draft came from up north where Toronto media continue to hound every Sounders move. In a blog entitled "Drafting daft" Ray Johnston declares: "Expectations are low, the seats are sold and the shirt-seller has arrived -- so, draft accordingly. The biggest risk SFC general manager Adrian Hanauer might be willing to take this year is simply getting a team on the field. Seattle has been fairly predictable with its moves to date and the 10 names selected will presumably be warm bodies ready to fill out a roster built around Ljungberg, Sanna Nyassi, goalkeeper Kasey Keller and local hero S├ębastien Le Toux.

On to Smith. To be honest, I thought the initial press release contained a typo and Johann Smith was the player heading to Seattle. But a second press release from TFC confirmed I was wrong and I started to think about TFC life without Smith (Insert cricket sounds)."

Kartik Krishnaiyer of MajorLeagueSoccerTalk.com goes the other direction, praising the Sounders' draft as reflecting an insider's knowledge of the league, though he's still not thrilled with the Ljungberg signing: "The Sounders FC expansion draft was conducted Wednesday and the new Seattle franchise did quite well. Nate Jaqua returned to MLS after a successful season in Europe, largely with the idea of playing for the Sounders, so his choice was pre ordained. But the other choices much like San Jose a year ago took a knowledge of MLS to make. The Sounders have passed the test with flying colors and now have a very competitive team despite the questionable DP signing of Freddie Ljungberg."

The guys headed our way are also caught a bit off-guard as they contemplate moving to the Northwest. Brad Evans was hit especially hard as he celebrated a league cup win with his mates only four days ago, now he's off to Seattle. Crew fans report he looked pretty glum at the Crew celebrations.

In Chicago, surprise pick Steven King expressed mixed feelings. "I'm excited to have this opportunity for a fresh start," he told the Tribune, "but at the same time I was enjoying my time in Chicago. I'm sad my time ended here so quickly. I knew I was in the running. I had a lot of playing time compared to most of the guys on the list and I'm also a young guy. I was ready to know. I was tired of waiting."

Midfielder Steven King

Seattle Sports Blog Hotdog & Friends has their own opinions, too. "With only three defenders selected in the expansion draft, Hanauer sends a strong signal that he is going to lock up some defenders from his USL team. Taylor Graham, who’s Wikipedia page briefly listed him as a member of Sounders FC, is one such defender. Danny Jackson, the skipper and Graham’s partner in central defense, could be another."

What does GOALSeattle.com have to say about the draft? How about this: I'm glad that it is over. The Sounders accomplished a few things I was hoping they would. They got Nate Jaqua, and helped their midfield with Brad Evans and Khano Smith. They gave themselves experience in the back with Vagenas, though I am skeptical that "experience" in his case might end up meaning "Slow and injury-prone." Seattle also got a few younger guys who could come on under the right training. So let's say that three of these guys actually become starters. Then it is a good day for Sounders fans. It would be the first and maybe only time ever we would be getting 3/11ths of a club on the same day.

Like the rest of us I am going to have to wait and see which ones of these guys make their marks in training camp. While Jaqua is the only player to give me an initial spark, I can see Khano, Evans, Parke and a couple of the young defenders being important players down the line.

In the end, GM Adrian Hanauer is quick to remind : "This is just one of the steps in building our team," said Hanauer. "We're also in discussions with USL and international players. We wanted to bring in players that would allow us to fit everyone under the salary cap and use our allocation budget wisely. We came into the draft prepared, picking players with skill, experience, youth and more. Ultimately it was an enjoyable and rewarding experience."

Still need MORE?
Read Ives' take on his blog, with reader comments
See how fans are voting about the Seattle draft on BigSoccer
Ridge Mahoney, Soccer America

Sounders expand their roster in expansion draft

Welcome back to the PNW, Nate Jaqua!

Seattle Sounders FC have made their ten expansion draft player choices. The list was made public at MLSnet.com.

Chosen by the Sounders were Nate Jaqua, Brad Evans, Steven King, Jeff Parke, James Riley, Khano Smith, Jarrod Smith, Nathan Sturgis, Peter Vagenas and Tyson Wahl. See the updated Sounders roster page here.

Below are links to the player bio pages and also some video from YouTube. Major League Soccer made a highlight reel of the drafted guys that you can view here. The official Sounders press release on the draft is here.

Nate Jaqua (Houston)

Brad Evans (Columbus)

Stephen King (Chicago)

Jeff Parke (New York)

James Riley (San Jose)

Khano Smith (New England)

Jarrod Smith (Toronto FC)

Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake)

Peter Vagenas (Los Angeles)

Tyson Wahl (Kansas City)

In a teleconference with media after the names were announced Sounders FC General Manager Adrian Hanauer and Technical Director Chris Henderson spoke about the process. Hanauer stressed the thorough nature of how the club had approached the drafting process. Hours of film had been watched, software was used to compile data of every player's touch of the ball from last season. References were interviewed, and finally the players themselves were called and asked how they would feel about becoming Sounders.

Hanauer called the draft "extremely balanced, with a combination of experienced veterans, guys with two or three years experience, and young guys with an enormous upside." He went on to say that the defensive slant of the draft was due to the current offensive players already signed. Hanauer also concluded that these players would still be fighting for spots along with any others brought in for training camp in late January.

Cris Henderson spoke briefly about the biggest surprise in the draft, Seattle tabbing New Zealand international forward Jarrod Smith from Toronto FC . Henderson called Smith an excellent target forward candidate who is also looking to move up with his national side. Henderson also commented on the selection of New York Red Bulls' defender Jeff Parke. Henderson played with him briefly in New York and feels confident the currently suspended player can be a defensive rock in the back for Seattle. Henderson played down worries about Park's suspension (four more matches for drug use) and his free agency, hinting that the Sounders feel confident they can sign him.

Read the press conference transcript here.

Soccer By Ives
Seattle P-I

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sigi Schmid could be Sounders head coach by Monday

Update 10/26: ProstAmerika reports that a contract from Seattle has been sent to Schmid.

In the middle of preparations involving the expansion draft, where Sounders FC will pick ten players for the new club, comes revelation that Sigi Schmid is about to sign as Seattle's first-ever head coach.

Further, after being crowned league champions just last Sunday, Columbus Crew may be filing tampering charges against the Sounders.

Professional writer and blogger "Ives" has posted the following:

From the SoccerByIves blog:

Just two days after becoming the first coach in MLS history to win MLS Cup titles with two different teams, Sigi Schmid stands poised to try to win a title with a third team. Schmid is on the verge of accepting a deal to become the first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC, multiple sources within MLS told SBI on Tuesday. Schmid's current contract with the MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew expires on Sunday, meaning he could be introduced as Seattle's head coach as soon as Monday.

Ives goes on to say that Brian Schmetzer is likely to be one of Schmid's assistant coaches.

The drama began heating up earlier in the day when the Columbus Dispatch posted in a story that a league source has said Columbus has filed 'tampering charges' against Seattle for talking with Schmid before his contract ends this coming Sunday.

Last year Chicago Fire filed tampering charges against New York Red Bulls after Juan Carlos Osorio moved from the Windy City to coach the Bulls all the way to MLS Cup 2008.

So, what do you think, Sounders fans? Happy it looks to be Sigi? Glad that Schmetzer has a place?

Expansion Draft banter goes into hyperdrive

It can be overwhelming to jump into the middle of the Sounders' expansion draft talk. Just today scores of news stories and blogs are out about who Seattle might take. I wagered my guess in the GS forums, but made it a 'rough draft,' because frankly so many things need to be considered that all any of us can do is guess.

Adrian Hanauer and Chris Henderson have a running start at this. They have been speculating and preparing for months, waiting for the list of available players to be released. Now that it has they are in San Francisco using a multitasking system of software and video to evaluate the players further. Meanwhile the club will also be manning the phones in case other MLS clubs come calling to offer trade incentives. Who knows which current clubs might need or want an 'unprotected' player and be willing to give Seattle something in return for drafting him.

For those who are brave and willing to jump right into the fray, our forum thread on the draft is essential reading. For those who just want a few calm, rational voices to give them a sense of a few options, I'd suggest reading Beautiful Game Seattle's take and also Peter Wilt's (former Chicago Fire GM) blog. Both do a good job of listing some choices and also addressing the salary challenges. SoccerByIves calls the draft a "game of chicken." Good thing Hanauer is a nationally respected poker player, then.

The Sounders are on the clock and must start making selections on Wednesday at 10:00 AM Seattle time.

In other Sounders FC news it appears that league champion Columbus Crew are on edge about losing their head coach Sigi Schmid to Seattle. Talk is that Columbus might have filed tampering charges against Seattle.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Numbers and names abound as clock ticks on Sounders FC draft choices

Lots of names have been presented to Sounders FC as they sift through the player data to choose the 10 guys they'll add to the club roster from the expansion draft.

Major League Soccer released the names of the players available today, and the Sounders released a statement soon after:

RENTON, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC officials have begun the final phase of their selection process for the 2008 Major League Soccer Expansion Draft. General manager Adrian Hanauer and technical director Chris Henderson will take 10 players in the draft this Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 1 p.m. ET.

Seattle, set to become the 15th MLS team in the 2009 season, will claim one player from 10 existing teams; four teams will not lose any player. The league has distributed the list of available players.

Sounders FC has already signed four players for its inaugural season: Kasey Keller, goalkeeper; Sebastien Le Toux, forward; Freddie Ljungberg, midfielder; and Sanna Nyassi, midfielder.

Hanauer and Henderson will make their final determinations from the Emeryville, Ca., offices of Match Analysis, a provider of video and statistical analysis tools, archiving services, and value-added content for professional soccer.

Fans and pundits are mulling over which players the Sounders might select. Seattle must balance a need for midfielders and defenders, youth and experience, with lower and higher salaries as they make their list of ten.

In the two most-recent expansion drafts Toronto (2007) traded away nearly every player they picked and built their roster with the guys they got in return. In 2008 San Jose ended up keeping almost all of their expansion draft choices.

The Sounders have made moves (signing Keller and Ljungberg) that say "we want to win now," so there is reason to expect Seattle will take a few veterans in the draft if they can fit them within the MLS salary cap.

It has long been rumored that forward and Oregon native Nate Jaqua (Houston Dynamo) would be left unprotected, and he has been. Unless the Sounders have made some other deal with Houston, Jaqua seems like a lock to be one of the ten. If experience is the goal then Chicago's Brandon Prideaux, a journeyman MLS defender from the Seattle area, is unprotected and available.

The league champion Columbus Crew left midfielder Eddie Gaven available. Certainly he would have to be tempting for Hanauer and Henderson.

Many young prospects also dot the available players list. Sounders FC could take a defender on the verge of starting quality such as Kansas City's Tyson Wahl. They could gamble that Chicago's Calen Carr will mend from his injuries and spark again at forward.

More controversial figures are also options. New England's Khano Smith is a dynamite dribbler with speed to spare, but he also tends to hog the ball and foul too much. Jeff Parke (New York Red Bulls) would be a very nice start to building the SSFC defense, but he is also currently under a suspension from the league that will last four matches into the 2009 season (performance enhancing drug use).

This is an important few days in the life of the new Seattle franchise. Wednesday around 10:00 AM Seattle time we'll know which direction(s) Hanauer and Henderson decided to go. Then the focus will switch to other signees and possible trades leading up to training camp in late January 2009.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Columbus are Champs; Sounders to get 'the list'

Congratulations to the Columbus Crew, who will fly into Seattle sometime next year for a match with the Sounders as defending Major League Soccer Champions.

The Crew were worthy winners 3-1 over New York Red Bulls. Guillermo Barros Schelotto tallied assists on all three Crew goals to be named match MVP.

In Seattle, Monday will be a big day for Sounders FC as they learn the list of players available to them in the expansion draft. From what will be almost 200 names, Seattle will be taking 10 players to build up their 2009 MLS roster.

The list should be available on MLSnet.com this afternoon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fan Scan: Sounders FC kits 'leaked!'

UPDATE: Sounders kits were seen at MLS Cup on Sunday Nov. 23rd.

Click photo for full page scan!

You know we live for stuff like this!

An ECS member got his latest Eurosport catalog today, and guess what? It had a full page of Sounders gear including the home and away kits.

So of course the fan scanned the page so we all could see it early!

Now, still consider going to the Dec. 4 fashion show, though. A very good cause.

So which will you get first, the home or the away?

Talk about the first-ever SSFC kits here.

The magazine lists the top combinations in the photo above as the actual away / home kits. In other words, away is blue top with green shorts and home is green top with blue shorts (if the Eurosport catalog is to be believed.) Frankly, I like the full-color kits the best, and the blue with green shorts the least. Which combos do you like best?

Sounders bloggers address 2009 MLS changes

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber gave his annual State of the League address last night and revealed some changes that will apply to the new Seattle Sounders FC franchise joining in 2009.
You can read Sounders FC blogger feedback about the league changes at SounderAtHeart.com and ProstAmerika.com.

Sounders FC will kick off on March 21, 2009 as the league stretches its slate of matches to an earlier date.

Sounders FC will not be fielding a reserve squad as the league has decided to scrap its reserve division in favor of increasing roster size for 'senior players.'

The playoff set-up will return to being the top two teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences, and then the next best four clubs.

Seattle will play in the Western Conference with LA Galaxy, Chivas USA, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo.

It was also noted by Garber that Seattle have sold 18,000 full season tickets so far.

Frank MacDonald of SoundersFC.com looks at the changes Sounders FC will be adapting to.

Here is the MLS press release.

Sounders FC fans are talking about the news in the GOALSeattle.com forums.

Dave Clark of SounderAtHeart writes "Overall I think that the lack of a Reserve League will not be a negative. It should mean that the MLS clubs’ youth academies take on greater importance, and that some kind of formalized loaner agreement will exist between MLS clubs and team(s) in the USL or other CONCAF based leagues. This should help all of CONCACAF and MLS. For the Expansion Draft it will likely mean that fewer young players are taken, and for the SuperDraft the Generation Adidas players will have even greater stock."

DELETED report from USL meetings...

I am sorry to report that the blog that originally was posted here is no longer available.

The United Soccer Leagues has voiced 'concern' over the content of news taken directly from their league meetings. I have taken down the post at the request of the author.

I am only speaking on behalf of www.GOALSeattle.com when I say that this sort of 'closed door policy' is rather silly, and does little to protect clubs or 'grow' interest in soccer and the struggling USL-1.

Some of the more important notes from the deleted article are already around the internet, and for that you can thank the people who read this blog.

The representatives of the club who sent us information with honest intent are to be commended, and we will follow their progress to get a club for their area, despite the sometimes paranoid antics of the USL offices.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Keller delivers a brief 'caution' to Freddie Ljungberg

Drew Carey meets with members

An ECS member snaps a shot with Drew Carey last night.

GoSounders.com has a recap of the November 20 Sounders FC Membership Association meeting. You can read more from Jose Romero in his Seattle Times Sounders blog.

Now up for a vote amongst members are what to call the Association, and what to name the Sounders FC band.

Signed players Sebastien Le Toux and Sanna Nysassi were on hand to address the fans and talk about the excitement for the 2009 debut season.

Steve Clare reports on the night for ProstAmerika.com: The first ever meeting of the Sounders FC Membership Association attracted more than 500 people to Qwest Field, a quite remarkable achievement for a meeting that wasn’t high on blockbuster announcements. Drew Carey, Bart Wiley and Gary Wright ran the show in the absence of those front office members heading to Los Angeles to watch the MLS Cup Final. Sounders FC’s two lesser known players were introduced to the crowd but most of those attending seemed well versed in the talents of Seba Le Toux and Sanna Nyassi. The quiet Gambian who frankly looked like he prefers playing to sitting on a podium, did however come up with the memorable line of the night in the question and answer session. Asked which players, he was most looking forward to playing against, he reminded the meeting that he regularly calls his brother, Sainey currently playing at the New England Revolution and vows to “whoop your ass” when the two sides meet next year.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sounders FC enroll at Wexley School for Girls

How's that for a headline, eh?

Yet it seems to be true. According to the linked blog:

Wexley School for Girls was named agency of record for Seattle Sounders FC. The agency will create an integrated advertising campaign that covers TV, print, radio and web, with a focus on building a fan base using grass roots and social media tactics. Spending was not released.

Wexley isn't just any ad agency, or even just any Seattle ad agency. They feature 21st-century retro-styled themes and tactics to reach a savvy tech-head audience.

Perhaps Sounders FC will 'out-quirky' even the long-running Seattle Mariners commercials? Give it a go, Girls!

In other SSFC business-side news, the club also has partnered with Digitaria to create 'a more compelling experience' online for Sounders FC fans.

"We wanted to bring the same level of excitement to our Web site that our team delivers on the field," said Bill Chapin, Director of Marketing and Partnership Development for the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC (www.soundersfc.com) "We looked at several digital marketing firms and Digitaria provides leading-edge expertise for creating highly engaging destination and social communities."

As part of the development of the new site, the Sounders FC will form a fan advisory board to help in the development of the redesigned site. The new site is scheduled to launch in February 2009.

On the scouting side, Sounders FC have shown their desire to get in with the big boys of world football by aligning themselves with Scout7. Scout7 is the world-wide leader and a pioneer in the delivery of information management systems in professional soccer. Its list of European clients has grown to nearly 100 since 2001.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MLS Cup Final '08 - Watch it, or admit you aren't a fan

Dave Clark joins us as a guest blogger to explain why he's passionate about watching MLS Cup this weekend.
by Dave Clark, SounderatHeart.com

Sure it isn't the sparkly match-up the league wanted (Chicago and RedBull New York would have been preferred), but the fact is that when the Crew and Red Bull take the field a champion will be crowned, a Cup awarded and a Group Stage entry into the 09 CONCACAF Champions League will be awarded.

We are talking about the best team in the league for the season with the Supporter's Shield winning Columbus Crew, they have the league's best player and the league's best coach. In New York we have a former Aston Villa player who has scored 33 times in his 47 league matches and a replacement keeper who scored a goal from 80 yards out. Oh, and the little team that could, isn't small town C-bus, but Big City RBNY the last team to qualify for the playoffs and they are doing it with two players serving 10 game suspensions for being performance enhancing idiots.

This is a game deserving to be watched. There are marquee names, good storylines, a possible Sounders FC coach in black&yellow and it is the Cup Final. If you aren't watching at home with your friends and ignoring the misery of the NFL, go to the George&Dragon and hang with the ECS.

MLS needs your support now. The NHL had over 4 Million US households watch the Stanley Cup Finals. Last year's MLS Cup Final was at right at 1 Million, if you include ABC and Telefutura.

Soccer in the USA isn't a success yet. Attendance is down. TV ratings are down. More people watch golf, tennis, NASCAR or the NHL than watch our beloved game. Ratings for top level European matches, even with crappy schedules are decent, but for the home league our support sucks.

And it is your fault.

Every single one of you who gets all arrogant and says you will not watch until the play gets better, or until MLS is out of NFL stadiums, or until there are better storylines.

Sunday the game is in the Home Depot Center, built for soccer and for the National Team. It will be full of 27,000 fans on grass with good width and length on a day when the best team in the league faces a team that has made an amazing run.

Watch the game Sunday the 23rd of November on ABC or Telefutura, whatever your language preference. Because if you really want to watch Jim Zorn coach the 'Skins to victory over the Seahawks in a meaningless game, you are a fool.

But don't just watch the Cup Final of 08. Watch it with your friends that normally ignore the sport. Tell them about GBS and Angel. Show them the Cepero goal. Talk about how Schmidt is on the shortlist to coach SSFC next year.
This is our league - support it.

Video of Cepero, Angel, GBS and Robbie Rogers:

Photos from Sounders' Argentina Tour

Thanks to Rich Hawks, former and future Sounders equipment manager, GOALSeattle has over 125 photos to share from the end of the USL Sounders era.

View the gallery here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

'Waite' is over in Kitsap; Pumas will prowl Bremerton in 2009

Glass door entry to Kitsap Pumas offices.

See also: Kitsap Sun video

Bremerton, WA - The Kitsap Soccer club today announced fans have voted in the club name "Pumas" for the team that will kick off its first season in 2009.

Lucita Flores-Alvarenga, who voted for "Pumas" in the recent online name the club contest, was on-hand to receive the first two season tickets in club history. The announcement, held at the club offices, was attended by Bremerton Mayor Carey Bozeman, city council members, local soccer officials, fans, media and businesses.

Guests sign book as they enter before the announcement.

The club colors of blue, black and gold were displayed using a new logo for the club's mascot, "Pedro the Puma." An official club logo will be designed by Sungrafx of Silverdale, WA, and will be announced at a later date. The club will wear jerseys 'hooped' with blue and white, and blue shorts.

Shortly after the announcement the club sold its first six season tickets.

Talk about the club & the name "Kitsap Pumas" in the GOALKitsap Forums!

Kitsap Pumas will play in the Northwest Division of the Premier Development League of the United Soccer Leagues. Pumas will play clubs in Vancouver, Victoria and Abottsford BC, Spokane and possibly Yakima, WA, and Portland and Salem Oregon. Kitsap Pumas' closest rivals will be Tacoma Tide FC, who will play in the same division a mere 30 minutes to the south.

Pumas' offices full of excited supporters.

Owner Robin Waite and club Executive Director Ben Pecora spoke to the audience about the journey to founding, and then naming the club. Waite revealed hopes to host a "Kitsap Challenge Tournament" next season at the club's home, Bremerton Memorial Stadium. The tournament would feature out of state competition playing the Pumas.

Waite and Pecora are leaving in a few days for the United Soccer Leagues annual meetings. There the club will build its schedule and network with other clubs.

Robin Waite (left, owner) Lucita Flores-Alvarenga (ticket-winner) and Ben Pecora, KSC Executive Director.

Waiting game pays off

Robin Waite first looked into bringing professional soccer to West Sound back in late 2005. It was a bit less than two years after Seattle Sounders co-owner Adrian Hanauer's initial bid to bring Major League Soccer to Seattle had been edged out by Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA. As one of the owning 'partners' of the United Soccer Leagues Sounders, Waite was given permission to explore moving that club to Kitsap County. Initially Waite looked at the Kitsap Fairgrounds stadium site for a possible move. The county even spent money to look into design ideas to make the rodeo and car derby venue work for soccer.

Not the final logo: This is the mascot, Pedro the Puma. Waite says the final club logo might honor Chief Kitsap.

Later Waite took his search to Poulsbo, where he commissioned a stadium design on land he owns near the Wal-Mart complex and a satellite Olympic College campus. (See the GOALKitsap Museum page for more on this.) While Adrian Hanauer was successfully teaming up with new investors to bring MLS to Seattle, and thus doom the USL Sounders to extinction, Waite turned his focus to the largest city in Kitsap County, Bremerton. There he found willing city and school officials and a centrally-located venue in need of some TLC. Memorial Stadium has long been the home of the Bremerton High School Knights and the Olympic College Rangers. It has also seen semi-pro football when the West Sound Orcas played there a few years back.

Waite has been dealing with USL officials about how to 'transfer' the existing Sounders franchise while at the same time talking with Bremerton people about using Memorial. Waite's ambitions were high from the start: he wanted the USL Sounders to come over as-is and play in the top level of the league. That became a tough sell among other USL First Division club owners, some of whom reportedly balked at the idea of Kitsap being 'major league' enough for the still-minor league USL-1. In the end the league decided to grant Waite a Premier Development League (PDL) franchise in the third level of the league structure. Waite immediately went on record as saying his goal is to move the club up to the next-highest level (USL-2) as soon as other clubs on the west coast are ready to join the same division.

It's been quite a wait for both Waite and the Kitsap soccer fans who have been following the saga for over three years. In 2009 Seattle Sounders FC will kick off in Major League Soccer at Qwest Field. A few minutes west by air, but an hour by ferry, the Kitsap Pumas will also debut.
Tacoma Tide FC sit ready to take on the Pumas in the 'Narrows Bridge Bell' rivalry cup next season.

East, South, West...Puget Sound has arrived as the 'Sound of Soccer.'

Sunday, November 16, 2008

College Round-up: Locals rise, fall in NCAA playoffs

It was a mixed weekend for Washington college clubs in the various levels of the NCAA playoffs. In Texas the Washington Husky Women staged a dramatic rally from a 2-0 deficit to defeat LSU 3-2 last Friday, but the Dawgs fell on Sunday in the second round to home side Texas A & M, 3-1.

The Seattle Pacific Falcon Women beat UC SanDiego 3-1 to gain entry into the NCAA II round of 16. Joining the Falcons will be the Western Washington Vikings. The Bellingham group beat CSU Dominguez Hills 1-0 on Sunday to stay alive.

The 6th ranked Puget Sound Loggers of the NCAA III fell 1-0 at home to get eliminated from title contention.

The WSU Cougars are out after a 1-0 loss to the Texas Longhorns.

The regional community college final fours have been decided. In the men's bracket it will be Walla Walla v. Peninsula in one semifinal and Spokane v. Chemeketa in the other. The semifinals will be held November 22 at Starfire. The Final will take place the next day at the same venue. On the women's side the final four pits Walla Walla against Shoreline and Columbia Basin against Clackamas.

Sounders Super Search takes over Tukwila

More videos: 11 x 11 Final Cut

Nearly 300 players descended on Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila on November 15 for the second open try outs held by Seattle Sounders FC in an effort to find a player who will be named to the 28-man roster by fans and scouts after the Super Bowl early next year.

Talk about the Sounders Super Search in the GOALSeattle.com forums.

The three finalists chosen from the Tukwila tryouts were Gareth Waite of Orinda, California, Oliver Wellman of Bellevue who plays for Western Washington, and Erik Sterling of Federal Way, who was a star at Decatur in high school.

On hand to cover the event for GOALSeattle.com was soccer fan Tracie McKinnon. Tracie helps run "The Pulse" soccer report over at www.WPS-Soccer.com. The Pulse is a thorough recap of all the local youth soccer action and club news.

See a few more of Tracie's photos here.

by Tracie McKinnon

We arrived late to the Sounder Tryouts to see about 300 or so young men just kinda lounging around not doing anything. We missed the mini drills and such.
All the coaching staff were huddled together on another field talking and going over their notes. This was going to be the 'first cut'. We saw the faces of the guys and their families that did make it. Some were smiling from ear to ear and some were kinda shocked by it all.

The guys left on the field that didn't make the cut weren't feeling sorry for themselves. They either went home to try another day or went to the field where the next round was being held.
Stands were pretty well covered with people watching for their son, brother or friend to make the next round.

Squads broke up into 2 groups playing half field each for scrimmages. There are some guys that really wanted this spot on the roster! And some seemed like it was no big deal.

There was one player, a goalie, that I thought did very well. This 'keeper talked with the players on the field, let them know what he wanted them to do etc. I was hoping that he would make it. I liked watching him play. Another player, with a red shirt and green socks, looked very good in defense and wanted to make the cut too. I believe his name is Sam and I met him at the ANC playing for Ireland.
So then the coaches came back together with their notes and after talking, made another cut.
"Sam" was still in it but the goalie I was hoping for was cut. He will land somewhere though. He's too good at what he was doing to not play.
Next they we're playing 11v11. Now its 'crunch time'! Show 'em what ya got boys!

Guys we're showing what foot skills and leadership they have on the field during a game.
A couple of really fast forwards and mids. Nice 'boots' by the defenders. All the makings for an exciting game. Again the coaches started looking at all the players, taking their notes.

Now on to the final cuts.Guys that got picked were given what I believe to be a Sounders scarf.
Way to go, guys! All the hard work you showed is paying off! Now its up to the fans of the game for a small portion of it.

The final tryout will be broadcast on Sunday, February 1, 2009, following Super Bowl XLIII on KING 5. Viewers will have the opportunity to narrow the finalists to three. A distinguished panel of judges will determine the winner.

The winner will be awarded a spot on the 2009 Sounders FC roster.


More coverage:
KING 5 News has online video here. SoundersFC.com is currently featuring a wrap-up video from Tony Ventrella. Jose Romero of the Seattle Times has a feature on the event, and even more in his new Sounders FC blog.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sounders players take ANC Bosnia 6-2 in benefit match

Recent and former players from the Seattle Sounders and ANC Bosnia got together for a benefit match sponsored by AllNationsCup.org November 14th at Starfire Sports Stadium. Around 400 fans watched the Sounders bump the amateur Bosnian locals 6-2.

The Sounders wore their 2008 pre-season 'blacks,' and were assisted by team equipment manager Rich Hawks, who will carry on his duties next season with Sounders FC in Major League Soccer.

Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar (#77) suited up for the Sounders players.
A few photos from the evening can be viewed in this gallery.

Seattle's goals were scored by Roger Levesque (2), Jason Cascio, Colin Rigby (2) and Craig Tomlinson. Chris Eylander started in goal for a Seattle club coached by Taylor Graham. Also seeing time on the pitch were Leighton O'Brien, Noah Merl, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Kevin Sakuda, Adam West, Justin Abel, Tim Merritt, Chris Sanders, Viet Nguyen and John Fishbaugher, with a few others.

The match saw some nice chanting and sign displays by the Emerald City Supporters as well. The ECS gathered at Mad Pizza before the match to down a few prepare for the November night. The rain held off and the temperature was actually comfortable.

After the match I walked over to where the new Sounders FC practice facility & locker rooms are being built (north back edge of Starfire indoor soccer area) and snapped a few photos. The Field Turf for the full size practice field for SSFC is currently in large rolls at the back of the Starfire parking lot. That field and the grass pitch have yet to be put in. The shorter drills pitches (Field Turf) are already down.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sounders FC Youth System update

We talked with SSFC Youth Director Darren Sawatzky about how things are coming along for that side of the club. Our Q & A exclusive is posted on our Examiner.com blog.

College Round-up: The playoffs

Steven Fung saves for UW. Sheena Nguyen UW Daily photo.

The Washington Huskies Men host Oregon State tonight in their final home match of the season. For the Dawgs an NCAA playoff bid seems to have slipped away, but the club of course hopes to finish well tonight, as Sheena Nguyen reports in the UW Daily today.

The UW Women are off to Texas to play LSU in the first round of the NCAA's. Honsen Lin gives fans a preview.

From the Seattle Times: Seattle Pacific will host a Division II West regional match at 1 p.m. Saturday at Interbay Stadium. The Falcons, 17-1-2 and ranked fourth nationally, received a first-round bye. They are the No. 2 seed in the regional.

The Falcons will play UC San Diego, which beat BYU-Hawaii 1-0 Thursday night at Interbay.

Western Washington, the No. 1 seed in the region, also has a first-round bye and will host a match Sunday. The Vikings (16-2-2) will play the winner of today's match between San Francisco State and Cal State Dominguez Hills.

The Western Washington Men won the GNAC, but were not selected to the NCAA II tournament, reports Daniel O'Hair in the Western Front.

The regional community college playoffs for men and women are underway. NWAACC.org has the playoff brackets for the guys and the gals.

In Tacoma, the UPS Loggers set a league record by going a perfect 16-0 in conference play, and will host a NCAA III playoff match this Sunday.

TONIGHT: Benefit match at Starfire with Sounders players

Tonight at 7:30 PM at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila the All Nations Cup is hosting a benefit match between 2008 ANC winners Bosnia and a team featuring former Sounders players and local guests.

Scheduled to attend and play for the 'Sounders' are Leighton O'Brien, Viet Nguyen, Colin Rigby, Kevin Sakuda, Justin Abel, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Youssouf Kante, John Fishbaugher, Adam West, and Andrew Gregor, among others.

Read more in this GOALSeattle forums thread.

Parking is free tonight at Starfire. Tickets are $10 (Children under 12 are free) and the money raised goes to the ANC School of Soccer, an organization that helps immigrant kids pay for the soccer equipment to play the world's game right here in Seattle. The school uses soccer as a way to integrate kids into American society:

We have a program running in South Everett; one with the Muckleshoot Tribe, being extended to several tribes soon; one starting in Tukwila; a program starting for incarcerated youth and we’re starting one for African-American children.

Through soccer these children get integrated into American society as contributors. We work on making them proud of who they are and of their culturally rich background. They learn respect for others and their differences.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sounders FC Draw Battle Lines – Well, Remove Them Actually

The perfect (plastic) pitch?

Sounders FC say they will get out out their toothbrushes and scrub all night before a match if that is what is takes to get NFL gridball lines off of their Qwest Field Field Turf pitch. Or something like that.

Steve Clare talks with SSFC's Bart Wiley about their good intentions in this new article.

“One of our main objectives when we sent the MLS preferred dates for scheduling was to make sure that we could play without football lines," Wiley tells Clare. "We preached all along from day one we want to maintain the integrity and the purity of the game. We’ve done our best to do everything top notch at the best level and we want to make sure that there are no football lines on the field – to sell what we’ve been selling so far, whether they be seasoned veterans of soccer or just learning the game,. We don’t want them to see anything that resembles American Football on the field and we’re going to kill ourselves to make sure there are no football lines on the field."

Talk about Qwest Field's pitch in the GS Forums.

Sounders FC Registers Over 350 Hopefuls for Saturday Tryouts

Sounders FC Registers Over 350 Hopefuls for Saturday Tryouts

WHO: 350 potential Sounders FC players (24 prospects will travel to Seattle from outside and 16 U.S. states will be represented).

WHAT: Sounders FC staff will oversee the three-hour tryouts. The field will be narrowed in the first hour through a series of speed and fitness drills followed by skills tests and mini-games.

Saturday, November 15 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Registration starts at 9 a.m.

WHERE: Starfire Sports Complex

14800 Starfire Way

Tukwila, WA 98188


The tryout on Saturday is the second of three tryouts during the month of November.

The open tryouts will be filmed for a reality based television show which will be televised on BELO properties, including: KING 5, KONG 6/16 and NWCN in late January of 2009. A minimum of three finalists from each market will take part in a televised one-hour tryout in Seattle.

The final tryout will be broadcast on Sunday, February 1, 2009, following Super Bowl XLIII on KING 5. Viewers will have the opportunity to narrow the finalists to three. A distinguished panel of judges will determine the winner. The winner will be awarded a spot on the 2009 Sounders FC roster.

To register or more information visit www.soundersfc.com.

Around the Sound of Soccer for November 13th

The Youth Media Institute in Seattle produced this soccer PSA.

It continues to amaze me that there is enough (pro) off-season soccer news in the Puget Sound area to run and have frequent content on three area blogs. Just this week Tacoma Tide FC published another player update and then issued a new 'toolbar' for supporters to use on their web browsers as a way of supporting the club.

Over in West Sound Kitsap Soccer Club will reveal their name, crest and club colors on Monday November 17th. GOALKitsap.com got a sneak peek at the colors and updated its look.

Seattle, HQ for the "Sound of Soccer," continues to churn out the news. Sounders FC held their first open tryouts in Spokane last weekend. This week the MLS club announced they will be debuting their new uniforms at a benefit fashion show on December 4th. The club website also took a look back at the first year of developing SSFC, and visited with GM Adrian Hanauer.

Beyond the pros, the college seasons are heading towards their playoffs. The Seattle Pacific Women and Western Washington Women will be in Seattle (Interbay) for the West Regionals the 13th-15th.

The Washington Women will be in Texas this Friday to play LSU in the NCAA's.

In North Sound, Matt Pele was named GNAC Player of the Year for Western Washington's Men, and Viking head coach Travis Connell was awarded Coach of the Year honors.

In South Sound the UPS Loggers Women earned a bye into the playoffs and will host a match this Sunday.

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