Roger Levesque first met Taylor Graham on a recruiting visit to Stanford University in 1999. Levesque slept on Graham’s futon during the trip, and the two would later become teammates with the Cardinal and at the professional level with Sounders FC.
Fifteen years later, Levesque and Graham are teaming up once again – this time in a different capacity.
Levesque was hired as the new Director of Community Outreach for Sounders FC. He started Monday at the club’s office in Pioneer Square, where Graham works as Senior Director of Business Operations.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Levesque said. “As a player, you don’t realize the amount that goes into it and the amount that people care behind the scenes. Being able to work with the group that puts the product out there is really exciting.”
Known for his work ethic and passion for the game, Levesque was a fan favorite during his nine years with the Sounders. He tallied six goals in three MLS seasons with the team and scored the game-winner in the 2009 U.S. Open Cup Final to clinch Seattle’s first major trophy.
Levesque decided to go back to school after retiring from professional soccer two years ago. He remained in Seattle and attended the University of Washington, receiving his MBA this past June.
Despite growing up more than 3,000 miles away in Portland, Maine, Levesque has found it hard to leave the Emerald City. The chance to work with Graham and other friends within the Sounders organization was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I want to be able to continue learning from him going forward,” Levesque said of Graham. “He has always been a great mentor.”
Levesque had an ongoing conversation with Graham in the past couple of years about the potential of working in the front office. That conversation heated up last summer, and it was determined that Community Outreach would coincide perfectly with Levesque’s experience and passion.
Not only was he a fan favorite, but the 33-year-old also stayed involved in Sounders community events while attending the UW and learning about the business side of sports.
“He’s a perfect leader for this department right now,” Graham said. “The entire organization is extremely fortunate to have him as an asset. He has such a great background in community, not just through his master’s program, but from being immersed in it as a player.”
Sounders fans adore Levesque, and that was confirmed at the team’s Annual Business Meeting on November 15 at the Paramount Theatre. Out of all the announcements made by the ownership group, Levesque’s hiring received the loudest cheer.
He always wanted to give back to the club that showed him so much love. Now, Levesque has the chance to do just that.
“Something that I bring to the table is my understanding of what the Sounders organization has meant over the years,” Levesque said. “For me, it’s exciting to see how everyone wants to engage with the Sounders. That’s one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to being in this role.”