Joe Roth

One Month Down, 15 To Go

It’s been an exciting, busy and very rewarding first month. We talk as a group–Joe, Tod and I–every week, sometimes in person and by phone otherwise.
Five weeks after the franchise’s official birthdate, owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer

It’s been an exciting, busy and very rewarding first month. We talk as a group–Joe, Tod and I–every week, sometimes in person and by phone otherwise. A week ago or so, we essentially held a retreat over at Qwest. In addition to Tod and John Rizzardini, there are senior management people at the Seahawks who are involved in the soccer operations.

That’s just the meetings. We’re always calling one another, and John may have the toughest job to manage. He’s getting calls from all of us every day with suggestions and ideas.

That’s the great thing about where we are today: We can be innovative, take some risks, think big and come up with unlimited new ideas. We can do that because we have time and we have an organization–the Seahawks–already in place. At some point, we will have to whittle those ideas down to a manageable business. But for now, nothing is off the table.

Without a doubt, there’s a growing buzz about our MLS launch for 2009. Players are calling, coaches are calling and agents are calling, and people want jobs within the organization. They want to be associated with MLS in Seattle because they see how successful it’s going to be.

I get up to 20 calls and emails every day from people interested in being associated with the club. I’ve been able to respond to each call and email, but for now, we are just trying to organize all of that interest into buckets. In time, we will circle back as we better understand our needs. Then we can have intelligent conversations with those who are interested in getting connected. At this point, we are pushing ahead on other fronts.

Since the initial announcement, the real news has been our phenomenal sales of season ticket deposits. But before long we will have more news to report.

Some time in the first quarter of 2008 or soon thereafter, we should be ready with our name, logo and crest. Adidas needs nearly a year to get our uniform design ready, and we’re getting close with that as well. As for ticketing matters, the seating options and pricing should also be finalized in the spring. And right now I’d say we will announce our coach midway through the year, like some time this summer. Of course, that could change, depending on someone’s availability of some other unforeseen circumstances.

I’m starting to focus on putting the 2008 Sounders together, and I’m going about it in similar fashion to how I have dealt with previous seasons. Obviously there’s one critical difference from before: I will have a keen eye pointed toward 2009.

We want to put a winning side on the pitch in MLS. This means that I am looking at the 2008 roster not only for what it can accomplish in USL, but also the following year. I’ll be looking for players who can excel at the next level.

We will look to have a young, fast, aggressive team that will develop throughout the 2008 season. So, I have started to spend a lot of time on the phone with scouts, agents, coaches, players–anyone who can help me source the talent we are looking for in 2009.

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