Owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer shares his thoughts on Philadelphia joining Major League Soccer for the 2010 season and how it might affect Seattle’s first season.
I was very excited to watch the press conference held last Thursday in Philadelphia. Certainly it brought back the feeling that I had during our announcement a few months ago.
I am really happy for the fans of that great city, and look forward 2010 when they are in the league. They have a great ownership group, a great management team, a great fan base, and I am certain that they will be successful.
Also, speaking from experience, the fact that they have 2-plus years to plan for their launch will be very helpful. Building a world-class organization takes time.
The two years will probably drive the fans crazy and drag on, but from a management perspective, the time will fly by. Also, given that a stadium will be constructed in Chester, obviously, this adds to the necessary runway.
Of course, having 16 teams in 2009 would have been nice. Still, the unbalanced conferences are not a significant negative. The most important issue for MLS is slow, steady, managed growth.
Although we have not yet had these discussions, I would imagine that the 2010 launch for Philadelphia means improved strength for our 2009 Seattle MLS roster, such as an anticipated No. 1 pick in the 2009 SuperDraft, and no competition during the expansion draft. Combined with the chance to bring a few players from the 2008 Sounders to the MLS roster, this means that we should have an extremely competitive side in 2009.
The expansion in MLS is very exciting, and I know that there are many other cities vying for the next slots in expansion. Right along with the fans, I will be as interested to see how all this evolves.