We Are Sounders FC - The Alliance Council
It can be a trite cliche in American sports. "We Are XXXX" is a chant or slogan bandied about the sports landscape so often and it rarely makes sense. It is a way to connect fans to the team, but in reality only amateur sports like college or high school are the fans really part of the team - except in Seattle. Among the top flight leagues and teams in the USA and Canada no other team empowers its broad fanbase like Seattle.
One of the common symbols of that empowerment is the Alliance Council, where I was proud to serve from mid-2009 to mid-2012. During that time I watched the Council grow to a couple dozen members (nominate here). We’ve done things to help improve the gameday experience for all fans – ran 2009 Supporters’ Summit, ran 2011 End of Year Business Meeting, negotiated for non-supporters group members to get part of the Cascadia Away allocation, passed governing documents. You can check the Alliance Council blog for more.
Over the past year we’ve worked towards more fan influence on the 3rd kit in the future, fan influence on the season ticket scarf, a fan vote for an official charity partner of the Alliance and have been a sounding board for ideas the club has as well. Once a month in meetings that last between one and two hours fans that sit next to you meet with each other and representatives of the club to make the Sounders FC experience better for you.
It’s a simple symbol. A group of fans elected by fans represents the dedicated throngs. A group with influence over the future of the Football Club. All it takes is effort and interest and it does not matter where you sit or stand.
I was elected by visiting neighbors in section 214 after explaining how passionate I was for the organization and future of Seattle Sounders FC. Others earn their spot through their supporters’ groups. Some have formed micro-sites encouraging their election. Others bring tablets to pre-game bars and walked people through the process to be elected. All serve with a simple passion encapsulated in the ECS song – “we are the blue, we are the green…”
Each member of the Council is a part of the club. From the Council officers and committee leaders who spend even more time than the average member to those that show up to voice their specific concerns they are a part of a club, an organization bigger than they are, but an organization that grants influence. It comes out of the ideas of minority owner Drew Carey.
It is also something that is part of what it means to be a Sounder. We are a people who likes to hear as many voices as possible. That can slow progress down once in a while, but when we move greatness happens. Our club is a part of our region.
The forthcoming vote to retain Adrian Hanauer as the GM of the team is the largest demonstration of how fans are part of the club. His four years are up and season ticketholders will grant him a simple up or down vote. If a majority votes him down, he's out and only an owner.
Every single member of the Alliance will be a part of that vote. Every single one of you is Sounders FC. That’s the future of this series. Over the coming weeks you’ll meet the other people behind Seattle Sounders FC – supporters and fans, the back office types, soccer moms, soldiers, Academy players, junior alliance members, the NASL/A-League/USL legends among us, residents of Renton, Yakima, Anaheim, Manhattan and of course Seattle – We Are Sounders FC.