A Wave & A Welcome

Who would you like to trade places with, the Governor, the Mayor or Bill Fry?

Who would you like to trade places with, the Governor, the Mayor or Bill Fry?

As it turns out, all are apparently hot-blooded soccer fans, but Fry has higher priority when it comes to choosing his seats for the inaugural season of Major League Soccer in Seattle.

Fry was among the first wave of fans to purchase season ticket memberships for the city’s new MLS franchise. Christine Gregoire and Greg Nickels can also be counted among the 8,000 strong, but they are further back in a figurative line which wraps well around Qwest Field.

“Eight-thousand is fantastic, but it’s just the start,” said Fry, a youth coach and president of the West Seattle Soccer Club. “I would love to see them fill-up the stadium.”

After finding the MLS in Seattle website, Fry paid his deposit a full day ahead of the team’s official announcement. Still, he is about 250 places from the front of the line.

“This is my emerging passion, soccer,” said Fry, who will purchase four tickets. “I’m a pretty big sports fan, but I’ve been eagerly looking forward to the arrival of MLS.

“I think signing-up early was a symbolic gesture of sorts, because I really hope and expect people will want to see the game at the highest possible level.”

Price was right

Of course, a lot of people are also envious of Raymond Bonnell. Not only did he win a drawing for two complimentary season tickets, Bonnell also got a rare photo op with Drew Carey, the team’s high-profile minority owner.

Raymond and his wife, Niki, are confessed soccer fans, and have supported the Sounders for many years. In fact, Niki was a member of the Sounders women’s team last summer.

“If we hadn’t won, we probably would’ve been among the first few hundred to buy,” said Raymond, a resident of Kent. “It’s too good of a deal to pass up, to become a season ticket-holder of a new professional sports franchise.”

As teachers, the Bonnells had Veterans Day off. But when they arrived at the George & Dragon Pub there was precious little room to move. They took their free raffle tickets and then waited for the drawing. With the capacity crowd hushed, Carey called Raymond’s number.

“I’d never won anything before,” he said, “so it was a pretty neat experience, although I also wouldn’t mind winning the lotto someday.”

Choice Seats

Both Bonnell and Fry are planning to sit near midfield. “But the beauty of the 100 level at Qwest, is that they’re all great seats,” said Bonnell.

A former Washington State football player, Bonnell nevertheless was a fan found in a compromising position during last weekend’s Apple Cup. His younger brother Carl is a Huskies quarterback.

However, when Raymond begins attending MLS games in ’09 his allegiance will be unwavering toward the home team, he says.

“You get pretty emotionally involved for a couple hours and it’s a good time,” said Bonnell, whose parents have also bought memberships. “Yeah, it might get a bit more crazy with an MLS team, but generally soccer games tend to have more of a family atmosphere.”

And the family is growing larger every day.