The Seattle Sounders announced changes to the Ownership Group on Tuesday, with Owner Joe Roth selling his stake in the club to a collection of local investors that includes the likes of musicians Macklemore and Ciara, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and a total of 11 families with deep Seattle roots.
Roth will always be remembered for his integral role in not only bringing MLS to the Emerald City, but also for his ambition and vision in elevating the Seattle Sounders to one of the preeminent soccer clubs in North America.
“Joe was the inspiration of Sounders FC as we know it,” said Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer. “He came to the Northwest, chose Seattle, decided on his partners, and I was lucky enough to be one of those partners. His vision, drive, partnership, his caring about the community and our fans, delivering a first-class experience, atmosphere and product – he was the lynchpin in putting this whole thing together and for that I will forever be grateful.”
From 2007 to 2015, Roth served as the Majority Owner of Sounders FC, imbuing the upstart MLS side with the same aspiration and determination he brought to his day job of producing blockbuster Hollywood movies. Entering MLS at a time when staying afloat superseded growth and expansion in terms of league objectives, Roth dared Seattle to dream bigger.
Under his stewardship as Majority Owner, the Rave Green lifted the U.S. Open Cup on four occasions (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014) and won its first-ever Supporters’ Shield. His penchant for flair and excellence was critical in the acquisition of club legend and U.S. Men’s National Team forward Clint Dempsey.
“Joe thought big about this club,” said Hanauer. “And obviously with his Hollywood background and knowing that we’re in show business – part of our job is to deliver a show on Saturday nights – he had great vision in that regard. I’m really proud to have been his partner.”
Roth was a passionate owner with a sense for how to drum-up excitement. He masterminded bringing Dempsey into the club, as well as his iconic unveiling to Sounders fans back in August of 2013.
Taking the baton from Roth is an Ownership Group comprised of local investors, spearheaded by Terry Myerson, who penned a blog post detailing his decision to join the Sounders family.
“What motivated so many of us to come together was to make sure the Sounders were owned here in Seattle for our kids and for our community,” said Myerson. “It was a combination of meeting people involved in the club, the families’ incredible passion for the club, and everything just became more and more positive as we got further engaged and closer to the organization. The people, the staff – it’s just an incredible organization. And we see the impact on the community. We just had to make this happen.”
The Seattle Sounders organization has turned the page on its first ten years in MLS. Roth’s tireless, aspirational efforts since 2007 were critical in elevating the club into the elite status it currently enjoys.
But more importantly, he helped lay the foundation for the club to push on in the next ten years, with the Sounders always striving to reach the lofty goals dreamed up by the Hollywood producer when he first brought MLS to Seattle.