Sounders FC has hosted visits from five European giants in Chelsea, Barcelona, Celtic, Manchester United and now Tottenham Hotspur. Aside from being first-class clubs on the field, all have also shared a club philosophy of community involvement.
That basic tenet is also shared by Sounders FC. While Spurs were in town the two clubs collaborated to put on several camps around the Seattle area, bringing in tow club legends Roger Levesque and Ledley King for one camp in particular that focused on training with Special Olympics athletes at Seattle University’s Championship Field.
“Being out here with coaches from Tottenham who work with their youth academies has been a great opportunity. It’s one of the premier clubs in the world and to see how they do it and how they relate to youth and coaching is pretty cool to see,” said Levesque, who played 10 seasons with the Sounders at the USL and MLS levels. “It’s definitely an awesome thing that they’re doing in terms of piggy-backing on the game.”
Tottenham Hotspur does frequent work with Special Olympics Great Britain, just as Sounders FC has been a contributor to the work done by Special Olympics Washington. Working side-by-side with camp coaches allowed both clubs to further their own development in how they approach coaching young athletes.
“It’s broadening our horizons,” said King, who played 14 seasons with Spurs before retiring in 2012 and now serving as a club ambassador. “There are certain ways that we do things at home and it’s good to listen to other people’s ideas and bounce off of each other to grow and to become better. We bring over our philosophies, but we’re very open to learning new things as well.”
For Levesque, the chance to work alongside another club was a valuable opportunity. From the time he came to Seattle, he had taken an active role in the community involvement of the club, and that has continued since his retirement in 2012. His involvement last week reinforced his belief in the importance of staying active in the community that has done such a tremendous job of supporting the club through the years.
That notion is especially impactful when juxtaposed with the involvement of Tottenham Hostpur on the club’s visit to Seattle.
“We know in Seattle the impact the Sounders can have on the local community, but to hear that Tottenham has community involvement as a priority is awesome in its own right. It makes me think that the Sounders organization is on the right track in terms of connecting with the community and having an impact on the next generation of soccer players,” Levesque said. “Any chance I can get to make an impact, I jump at the chance. Not only to have that impact, but I feel like I can contribute to the direction and values of the Sounders and giving that back to the community is important to me as well.”
Like Levesque, King grew to legendary status while playing extensively with one team and being involved in many facets of the club. His role as ambassador is one that he embraces with open arms as he continues to play an active role in the club’s community initiatives.
“As a young kid, my first thoughts were to work as hard as I could to become a successful footballer. Never did I dream that I would be captain of the team for such a long time and win some silverware with the club. To go on to continue working beyond playing has been great,” King said. “It’s been invaluable.”
In the culminating event of the week, Sounders FC and Tottenham Hotspur played to an entertaining 3-3 draw at CenturyLink Field on Saturday before a crowd of 55,349.