In conjunction with the Alliance Council, Seattle Sounders FC today announced that the voting process for its second-ever General Manager Vote is preparing to launch. A unique feature in American sports, the ability for fans to vote to retain the club’s general manager is an important part of the Rave Green’s culture, stemming back to the team’s MLS launch.
As the club prepares for the second GM Vote in team history, it wishes to share relevant information about the procedure with both media and fans.
HISTORY OF THE VOTE
In 2008, as a condition of joining the Ownership Group of the newly-minted Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer, Drew Carey championed the concept of Democracy in Sports – a model the team adopted and made one of its guiding principles. Under this belief, fans of the team are empowered to have a real, tangible say in the organization. The club feels that its fans have the right to determine the overall course of the team that they so passionately support.
“It was important for me to do [the GM vote], because that’s the only reason I wanted to be a part of the Ownership Group in the first place,” said Sounders FC Owner Drew Carey. “If they would have said, ‘no, we don’t want to do that,’ I wouldn’t have been a part of the Ownership Group. It was very important to me. There’s no other fan-base in the country that can do that for any other sport – have the opportunity to get rid of the GM if they don’t like what’s going on. This is really like a failsafe system for when things are going badly. It’s to keep the fans from divorcing the team and to quit participating with the team. It’s better than writing a letter to the editor, it’s better than to quit buying tickets, it’s better than complaining on a message board.
Carey continues, “This is the strongest message you can send to a team. It’s your voice and your club. Get out there and vote.”
WATCH – OWNER DREW CAREY ON DEMOCRACY IN SPORTS: SoundersFC.com/GMVote
One of the most visible pillars of Democracy in Sports is the GM Vote, which allows members of the team’s Alliance the opportunity to cast either a vote of retention or a vote of no confidence every four years of a general manager’s time in office.
In 2012, the club held its first-ever GM Vote, with Owner and then-General Manager Adrian Hanauer retained with a 96.3% approval rating and 13,775 votes cast by Alliance members. Current General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey was hired prior to the 2015 season, marking 2018 as his fourth full season as GM and providing an opportunity for fans to vote on his retention.
WHO CAN VOTE
Alliance Members are granted voting privileges. The Alliance was established in 2008 and it exists to offer its members a voice in their club. By purchasing season tickets, fans are granted membership in the Alliance and receive all associated benefits. This includes full-season package holders, half-season package holders and suite holders.
ABOUT THE VOTE
Eligible fans are able to vote either yes or no in regard to the retention of the club’s general manager. A vote of yes signals retention, while a vote of no signals a vote of no confidence.
The vote is weighted, such that each Season Ticket Member holds as many votes as seats owned. For example, a fan with four season tickets then has four votes to cast in the GM Vote. Account holders with multiple seats may designate their additional votes to others through a specific process and should speak to their account representative to do so. If additional votes in an account are not specifically designated, then all votes in an account are cast in the same direction as the primary vote for that account.
This year’s GM Vote opens on September 19, with voting running through October 17.
HOW TO VOTE
Alliance members can vote online at SoundersFC.com/GMVote or in person at CenturyLink Field during the team’s home matches on September 19, September 29 or October 8.
The club’s bylaws require that 40% of eligible Alliance members participate in the GM Vote for the final tally to be considered valid, so those with votes are highly encouraged to take part in order to ensure that the final vote can be official.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Given that the aforementioned 40% of eligible Alliance members cast a vote, the results are then tallied. In order for a vote of no confidence to move forward, it must be chosen by the super-majority of no less than 67% of all votes cast.
Results of the vote are to be announced at the club’s Annual Business Meeting in November.
ABOUT CURRENT GENERAL MANAGER & PRESIDENT OF SOCCER GARTH LAGERWEY
Hired in 2015, Lagerwey has overseen Sounders FC’s soccer operations as the organization has achieved some of its greatest successes. Under his direction, the club captured its first MLS Cup in 2016, followed by a second consecutive Western Conference Championship and trip to MLS Cup in 2017.
The Rave Green have continued their tradition of qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs each year of the organization’s MLS existence in the seasons with Lagerwey at the helm, with the club currently sitting on a 10-9-5 record as of August 21, riding a team record six-match winning streak (three points out of postseason position, 10 matches to go).
The club has also been competitive in CONCACAF Champions League play, which is a stated goal of the organization. Under Lagerwey, Sounders FC has secured qualification in two iterations of the tournament (2015-2016 and 2017-2018), securing Quarterfinal Round appearances both times before eventually falling to Liga MX powers Club América and Chivas Guadalajara, respectively. Since Lagerwey’s arrival, Seattle has played 10 CONCACAF Champions League matches, going 4-4-2 (15 goals for / 13 goals against).
Notable additions that Lagerwey has brought to the team include current Designated Players Nicolás Lodeiro (2016 MLS Newcomer of the Year) and Raúl Ruidíaz, in addition to internationals Román Torres, Gustav Svensson, Víctor Rodríguez, Kelvin Leerdam, Kim Kee-hee, Nouhou and Brad Smith, while drafting or acquiring domestic players such as Jordan Morris (2016 MLS Rookie of the Year), Cristian Roldan, Will Bruin and Harry Shipp.
The number of Homegrown players under Lagerwey has doubled from five to 10, and Sounders FC has seen seven players from S2, the club’s USL affiliate, signed to First Team contracts.
Additionally, the organization’s Academy program has seen unprecedented success, winning several major titles over the past few years, including the 2018 U-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy championship, the 2018 Generation Adidas Cup, a third-place finish in the 2017 U-19 U.S. Soccer Development Academy championship and winning the Youdan Trophy in England three times (2016-2018).
More than 20 Sounders Academy players are now affiliated with U.S. Soccer youth teams, while the club has eight official youth partner clubs to help identify and train top young prospects.