Seattle Sounders FC General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey has long stated that winning Concacaf Champions League is one of the organization’s foremost goals, and the potentially historic milestone is now two matches away with the club’s run to this year’s CCL Final.
The upcoming two-legged matchup with Liga MX side Pumas UNAM is a truly massive one on an international scale, and Lagerwey’s excitement for the moment was palpable in the GM’s boisterous pregame speech to supporters before Seattle’s match against Inter Miami CF at Lumen Field on April 16.
Speaking in an interview with SoundersFC.com, Lagerwey explained the impetus behind his level of excitement, with the club now afforded a chance to take both MLS and the city of Seattle into uncharted waters.
“I think it’s an incredible, historic opportunity,” said Lagerwey. “I know I’ve been perhaps hyperbolic in some of my public speaking about it but everything I say is sincere. This is for immortality. No MLS team has won it, this is our chance. But also it’s for not just the team, but it’s for the community.
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The Seattle Sounders are going to the Concacaf Champions League Final for the first time in club history. Come support the team as we take on Liga MX's Pumas UNAM and try to become the first MLS club to win CCL and go to the FIFA Club World Cup!
“It’s for the Pacific Northwest. When you think about opportunities to host games in the ’26 World Cup, being able to fill our building for a Champions League Final is the best possible advertisement we can make for our community as a whole in terms of supporting a World Cup.”
Seattle have managed to stock the trophy case since the club’s 2009 entry into MLS, with four US Open Cups, two MLS Cups and a Supporters’ Shield already to their name. But there is undeniably something different about CCL given the reality that no MLS club has ever conquered the continental tournament, and the heavy degree of difficulty that comes with it.
“I think it would be the biggest achievement in club history, period,” said Lagerwey. “It’s certainly the hardest tournament to win, if you think about what you have to achieve just to qualify for the tournament and then the process you have to go through playing games both home and away, just a massive amount of travel, starting early in the season, just all the difficulties, there can be no greater degree of difficulty then winning this tournament.”
Finish the job and a place in the history books is secure, not to mention the fact that the CCL winner books a ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup, a competition that would pit Seattle against some of the top clubs in the world and give the Sounders a chance to compete on the global stage.
“It’s just really exciting to be a part of those moments,” added Lagerwey. “We all want to do everything we can to try to sell out the building, have a great crowd and show the world that we can do this, that we as Seattle, we as a Pacific Northwest community, we can support our team and we’re capable of winning intercontinental championships.
“If you’re able to do it, the opportunity at the Club World Cup becomes the opportunity to become a global club. It’s a pretty unique opportunity.”