Well before the Sounders FC’s inaugural match in 2009, there were many indications that the soccer fans in Seattle had a strong passion for the team.
While the season ticket sales were through the roof, the most glaring sign that the fan base was going to be actively involved in the team came when the club put the naming rights in the hands of their fans.
In a vote held from March 27-31, 2008, fans got to choose between the monikers Republic, Alliance and FC. However, fans were also given the option to write in their pick and on April 7, 2008, Seattle Sounders FC was unveiled as the club’s name.
The name drew on 34 years of history of the Sounders in Seattle that started with the North American Soccer League in 1974 and was rekindled in 1994 when Alan Hinton brought the name back with the start of the A-League franchise.
A coach for the Sounders in both the NASL and the A-League, Hinton was proud to see the name kept alive, but perhaps more proud that so many fans in the region felt so strongly about the history of that name.
“I’m so happy that the love affair between the old Sounders and the new Sounders is very much alive and thriving,” Hinton said this week ahead of the fifth anniversary of the name being announced at the Space Needle. “I thought it was the right thing to do. The fans clearly wanted the Sounders name and I’m so happy that the ownership agreed to do that. It was the perfect and only name the team could have had.”
Naming the club was the first in a stream of initiatives aimed toward the club’s theme of Democracy in Sports. Over 14,500 people submitted votes, with 49% of those written in as some variation of Seattle Sounders.
“Without fans, you’ve got nothing. We’ve got very passionate fans that are very proud to wear the colors of the Sounders,” Hinton said. “We’ve got a history here and history of sports clubs is very special. It’s a proud deal and the Sounders have a lot to be proud of over many years.”