A year ago, Seattle’s new MLS franchise more-less consisted of several guys in suits. Now Sounders FC truly has the look and feel of a team.
The home rave green shirts and sounders blue shorts, as well as the alternate kit, training gear and off-field adidas apparel, was formally unveiled at Thursday night’s Fashion Show. Also, at various times during the day, six of the 14 players paid visits to Qwest Field or team headquarters.
Sanna Nyassi, Sebastien Le Toux and Kasey Keller all bravely served as fashion show models, with Keller punctuating his trip down the runway by punting a ball deep into WaMu Theater.
Certainly Drew Carey provided some memorable moments. Carey literally brought up the rear after parading down the bright white path alongside The Price is Rightmodels Amber Lancaster and Gwen Osborn.
Drew, wearing the cascade shale jacket over his jersey and wrapped in a team scarf, hit the deck and, with the help of the models, twirled on his back while flashbulbs and laughter erupted from the audience. He then stood and strutted off in style.
There was something for everybody. Actress Josie Bissett, walking leadoff, wore the women’s home replica while her kids, Maya and Mason, were dressed in the youth kit. For those seeking a form fit, there was the sleeveless training tee. Want more room? How about the fleece hoodie?
The kit, the players, everything seems to be falling into place. What’s that, we need a coach? Just you wait.
The Fashion Show program was opened by the newly-minted Sound Wave marching band. Carey then came on stage, and later announced that the club members had also voted to be named Sounders FC Alliance.
Clearly, the vast majority of show attendees were passionate about the game because the loudest applause was saved for the appearance of the players.
Back in town for the first time since his October signing was Freddie Ljungberg, who made a brief appearance on stage before assisting Carey in opening the Pro Shop. Earlier in the day, expansion draft selections Nate Jaqua and Jeff Parke came by. Not so long after the holidays, they will all come to stay.
Whereas last Christmas the entire yet-to-be-named Sounders FC entourage could’ve shared a cab, back stage at the Fashion Show a collection of management and players filled three sofas and several chairs. For fans who’ve been starving for the arrival of top-flight pro soccer, it was a sight to behold.
Bright & Early
Well before Friday’s dawn, the pilgrimage to the Qwest Field Pro Shop had begun for the most fervent of Sounders FC faithful. Dan was the first to arrive, having caught a 6:30 a.m. bus from his home in Olympia.
Moments after the shop doors opened, Dan was pulling on an authentic long-sleeve home jersey. “They’re really nice shirts, and the kits are the best in the league by far,” he says.
Nearby, Max of Ballard displayed his haul: jerseys in both green and blue, plus the shale training top. Max had postponed his arrival at work to shop early, but he wasn’t planning to keep his trip a secret. “I’m wearing the green to work this afternoon.” Now, if he can just convince his girlfriend to get some season tickets.
The Pro Shop is located on the West side of Qwest Field and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays 12-5. You can also purchase all the gear online at SoundersFC.com.
Falcons on Fertile Florida Ground
For the second time in their eight seasons of existence, the Seattle Pacific University women’s program is one step from the summit. Saturday in Tampa, the Falcons face West Florida for the NCAA Division II championship.
If the setting, history and form have anything to do with the outcome, all three bode well for SPU. Four of the men’s program’s five national titles were won on Sunshine State soil, and Seattle Pacific has been raising its performance level with every outing this year. The Falcons (21-1-2) have won 10 straight and are unbeaten in 16.
“We’ve been to the semifinals three times, and my biggest mantra is that there is a reason why we are the only team from last year’s final four to be back,” says Falcons coach Chuck Sekyra. Four of his seniors played for the 2005 crown, but fell 2-1 in overtime to Nebraska Omaha.
“Three years ago, our players were like, ‘Wow, is it really happening?’” recalls Sekyra, himself a member of SPU championship teams in 1985 and ’86. “Now our team feels this is a job that needs to get done.”
Sekyra rates West Florida as the fastest, biggest and strongest team he’s seen, yet he likes his team’s chances. “We play like a team, we play together: defend together, attack together and possess the ball,” he says. “I believe team soccer will win out.”
Although the Falcons traveled the farthest to reach the finals, they feel at home.
“Jocelyn Charette, who played a year in Tampa, is serving as our chaperone around town, and, personally, I feel very comfortable down here from all the games during my days.
“Really, our whole team looked comfortable in the semifinal (a 3-1 win over Metro State),” Sekyra says. “But we just played in Kirksville, Mo., in 22-degree temperatures and a wind chill of 16. So we could be comfortable on the moon. My kids think Tampa is heaven.”
Turn On, Tune In
Saturday, Dec. 6
7 a.m. (PT), FSC, Arsenal v Wigan
Why Watch: Following the upset of Chelsea, ‘Gers better not overlook in-form Wigan
9:30 a.m. (PT), FSC, Manchester United v Sunderland
Why Watch: Struggling Blacks Cats, now minus Keane, could be in for big trouble
11:30 a.m. (PT), FSC, Lazio v Inter Milan
Why Watch: Fading Lazio can revive hopes with home win over Serie A leaders
12:30 p.m. (PT), CBS CSTV, Seattle Pacific v West Florida
Why Watch: Falcons aiming to claim first NCAA title on women’s side
1 p.m. (PT), GolTV, Barcelona v Valencia
Why Watch: Unbeaten on road, Valencia hopes to steal a point at Camp Nou
Sunday, Dec. 7
8 a.m. (PT), FSC, Everton v Aston Villa
Why Watch: Strangely, Toffees have only one home win & Villa would make a tough 2nd
11 a.m. (PT), ESPN2, Women’s College Cup Final
Why Watch: Unblemished Notre Dame goes for perfection in Carolina
12 p.m. (PT), GolTV, Real Madrid v Sevilla
Why Watch: Madrid has yet to lose at home, could rise to 2nd with victory
Tuesday, Dec. 9
11:45 a.m. (PT), ESPN2, Chelsea v Cluj
Why Watch: Blues, sans Lampard, need a victory to assure themselves of moving on
Wednesday, Dec. 10
11:45 a.m. (PT), ESPN2, Real Madrid v Zenit
Why Watch: Virtually meaningless yet rising star power in Zenit’s Arshavin & Real’s Higuaín
We offer condolences to the family, friends and kids who played for Frank Hall, the local legend who recently passed away. Hall was instrumental in growing the game, both in Pierce County and throughout the South Sound. He was a Washington Youth Soccer founder and is a hall of fame member. A youth coach since his arrival in the area in 1961, Hall was still helping to coach two youth teams as recently as a month ago. A celebration of his life is set for Lacey’s Columbia Hall on Dec. 16…Semifinal fixtures for the President’s Cup–the top prize for creational teams–will be contested Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6-7, at the Skagit River Soccer Park in Burlington. Winners advance to the cup finals, Dec. 13-14 at Starfire…The USL First Division has added the Cleveland City Stars to its 2009 lineup. Cleveland won the second division title this past season. Also new next season are the Austin Aztex…Owner of a world record 340 caps, Kristine Lilly returns to the U.S. national team Dec. 13 and 17 for friendlies with China. Lilly missed the Olympics after giving birth to her first child, a daughter, last June.