Since joining Major League Soccer in 2009, there have been several defining moments for the Seattle Sounders.
The 3-0 win over New York Red Bulls at home in the inaugural match in 2009 set the tone for the team’s unprecedented level of sustained success. Marco Pappa’s late brace in a 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy to secure the 2014 Supporters’ Shield. Stefan Frei’s save and Roman Torres’ penalty to lift the club’s first-ever MLS Cup in 2016. And, of course, defeating Toronto FC 3-1 in front of 70,000 fans at Lumen Field as they won MLS Cup for the second time.
These moments define the Sounders. And these moments are innately Seattle.
The Sounders FC Center at Longacres and March to the 50th campaign, both of which were unveiled on Wednesday, are the latest moments that will shape the legacy of the Sounders organization and its connection to Seattle. In particular, the training facility is a physical embodiment of the club’s deep roots in the Pacific Northwest.
“This is a club with a rich and deep history,” said Chief Marketing & Revenue Officer Taylor Graham. “We’re moving to a home that has that and more. Commercial history with Boeing; sporting history with the racetrack, and Pacific Northwest and Puget Sound history with the Indigenous communities – the Duwamish have occupied these lands since long before the Sounders were around.
“It is only right, and why I love this club, that we are acknowledging and celebrating those respective histories,” continued Graham. “It’s what makes Seattle great. Seattle is at the intersection of history, technology, innovation, sport and life. All of those things combined are why many choose to live here. That is all exemplified in the Sounders FC Center at Longacres.”
This club is the connection between the players and the fans. While some of the most indelible memories have occurred on the pitch, none of them are possible without the supporters. Since the club’s inception, fans have always defined what it means to be a Sounder, ensuring that the organization mirrors the soul of Seattle.
“The unique and synergistic opportunity to celebrate 50 years of foundation with the opening of a training facility to mark the next 50 years is a pinch yourself moment to be a part of it,” said Chief Operating Officer Maya Mendoza-Exstrom. “The thing that differentiates our sport over every other professional sport, every other environment in the world, is soccer is inherently hyper local. The manifestation of a soccer team is nothing without expressing the values of a place.”
It was the fans and supporters who gave the team the name Seattle Sounders in 1974, and again in 2008 as the team prepared to join Major League Soccer. Every four years, Alliance Members vote on General Manager retention, and the Alliance Council ensures that the organization accurately reflects the will of the fans who’ve made the club so successful. All of those mechanisms have ensured that the Sounders organization and brand are firmly rooted in the ethos of Seattle.
As the Sounders embark on the March to the 50th, a celebration of the club’s history and legacy in the buildup to the 50th anniversary in 2024, the organization is once again engaging in meaningful dialogue with fans to see if, and how, to evolve the club’s brand and visual identities.
“The starting premise of this exploration is founded on two things: (1) connecting with our past in new ways, that is the right thing to do for this club, and (2) this will be driven by our fans,” added Graham. “Our club is what our fans says it is, not what we believe it is from the inside. Their involvement, their participation is not only welcomed, it’s essential because those voices and inputs will set this club up for success. Our role is to collect that information and figure out how to apply it.… As we begin the March to the 50th, this is the next critical juncture in which our fans will drive the future of this club.”
In the Sounders FC Center at Longacres, the club will have a new, state-of-the-art campus that displays their ambition and commitment to the community. The new training facility paves the way for an exciting future, while the March to the 50th will celebrate our heritage, giving all fans a platform to chart the course for the next five decades.
“The growth opportunities for this club over the next five years are incredible,” said Mendoza-Exstrom. “I think all of us who work inside the organization feel that weight of the badge on our chest and the duty to steward this club toward the next 50 years.”
You can explore all of the details about the Sounders FC Center at Longacres HERE.
To learn more about the March to the 50th and take the survey, click HERE.