You Win, Take a Seat

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first Sounders FC council member.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first Sounders FC council member.

Introducing Iain, a marketing professional from Seattle. Iain’s the first candidate to accumulate the required 25 votes from the Members Association account holders.

“Being the first is pretty cool and actually it comes as a surprise,” says Iain. “I’m now the answer to a trivia question. Perhaps I’ll use this when asked to introduce myself by saying something interesting about myself.”

Bart Wiley of Sounders FC says 142 others are trying to join Iain on the council, a group which will serve as liaison between the fans and club management. Who’s running? Men and women, young and not-so-young, from longtime fans to former players.

“Due to the fact that we have so many actively campaigning for council, the deadline for voting is being extended,” says Wiley.

Unlike some ongoing races for public office, council candidates have kept the rhetoric positive, and have done so without the aid of spin doctors.

A dozen or so candidates congregated near the Starfire gates at last week’s Sounders game, shaking hands and distributing campaign flyers. Wiley indicates that a few more individuals are nearing 25 votes, including an unnamed former MLS veteran.

“To be honest, I was quite surprised to hear that I was the first,” Iain says. “I know it was very hard for me to get those last few votes. It felt like forever, and I think Bart must have been tired of my ‘Did I get that last vote?’ emails.”

And who, exactly, put Iain over the top?

“Her name was Eva, and she was a friend of a friend,” explains Iain. “I’ve never actually met her, but I owe her a drink.

“I felt a bit of pressure because if I didn't get her vote, I was running out of ideas for who else to ask,” he adds. “I might have just hung out at the local soccer pubs with my laptop in hand, offering a few pints for a vote.”

Originally, the council voting cutoff was planned for early August, but Wiley says it’s more important to extend the deadline, allowing people ample time to campaign during a time of year when many are traveling about.

Iain’s successful strategy was less about online technology and more so contacting friends and acquaintances. Fortunately, many were Sounders FC season ticket account holders.

“I don't think I got a single vote from anyone other than someone I knew personally, or was at least a friend of someone I knew well,” he says. “Sending emails to groups of friends to forward to their friends didn't yield any results that I know of.

“I was just lucky enough to know so many people who knew of my passion for the sport. I’ll say this, those last few votes are surely the hardest.”

Sounders Women Stopped Short

For the second year in a row, the Sounders women have been stopped at the semifinal stage of the W-League Championships.

Seattle’s run of four straight victories ended with a 1-0 defeat to FC Indiana on Thursday night at the finals in Virginia Beach. The Lionesses scored the game’s sole goal in the 87th minute.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t play to the best of our abilities,” says Chalise Baysa, the team’s top scorer. “We were especially disappointed with our first half, but we definitely got stronger as the game went on.”

The match was played in a steady rain, and nearby lightning prompted officials to extend the halftime by 10 minutes.

It was a Baysa bicycle kick which sent the Sounders back east with a 1-0 first-round win at Vancouver.

“Halfway through the season, we didn’t think there was a chance of making the playoffs, so to not only make the playoffs but beat Vancouver for a place in the final four was exciting for us,” Baysa says. “We wanted to get overcome the hump and get into the final, but we just couldn’t come away with the win.”

The Sounders, who finished third in 2003 and again last season, face defending champion Washington for third place on Saturday.

The W-League title game between Indiana and the perfect (13-0-0) Pali Blues will be aired (delayed) Saturday at 8 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel.

O’Brien Out, O’Brien In

Leighton O’Brien’s misfortune led to an opportunity for his younger brother, Ciaran.

Not long after Leighton was lost for 4-8 weeks with a broken arm, the USL Sounders got a call from Colorado offering Ciaran on loan.

Fernando Claivijo, the current Colorado and former Seattle SeaDogs coach, wasn’t merely being charitable. “We want him to play,” says Clavijo. Both O’Briens play in midfield and Ciaran was the No. 5 pick in this year’s MLS SuperDraft.

Also joining Seattle prior to their trip to San Juan for Friday’s league match with Puerto Rico was forward Kevin Forrest. An ex-Washington star, Forrest was selected by Colorado in the supplemental draft but has been training with the Sounders while recovering from injury.

Seattle’s next four matches are on the road, including the Aug. 12 Open Cup semifinal at Charleston. The Aug. 7 game at Portland will be nationally televised on FSC at 8 o’clock.

Turn On, Tune In

After spending a week in virtually ‘mute’ mode, the televisions of Soccer Nation get a wake-up call, first with the return of MLS matches, followed by the commencement of the Olympic Games.

First, the good news. It looks like the Team USA matches, both men and women, will be aired live on a mixture of MSNBC (Ch. 47 on Seattle area Comcast) and USA (Ch. 58). The U.S. women open against Norway on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 1:45 a.m. The men play Japan at 11 p.m. that night. Both are on MSNBC.

Now the bad news. The NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, according to a local Comcast representative, will not be available here. So, barring a late reversal, we may not see much in the way of group stage games involving Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho and the other top stars. Fortunately, beginning with the quarterfinal rounds, most matches move to an assortment of available cable channels.

Fox Soccer Channel brings back the MLS in a big way, with Saturday’s 6 p.m. game featuring SuperLiga finalist Houston and Columbus, No. 2 in the East. Barcelona’s preseason tour (without Messi) begins Sunday at 4 p.m. on FSC against CD Chivas. On Wednesday, Aug. 6, Barca visits Red Bull New York (4 p.m.).


Got Rave? The Team Shop at Qwest Field now has rave green Sounders FC tees available. Also new are green pennants and keychains. Coming soon are shirts in children’s sizes. All will be on sale online at…Oct. 15 is the deadline for 2011 MLS expansion applications. A determination of the two selected cities will be made prior to the 2009 season…Thanks to the strong leg of ex-Sounder Craig Waibel, 30 kids from Texas Children’s Hospital got free admission to Houston’s SuperLiga semifinal win over Mexico’s Panchuca this week. During a charitable benefit held at the Houston Texas’ practice facility, Waibel connected on 10 of 14 field goals, including a 57- and 63-yarder…Marcus Hahnemann’s Reading Royals finished preseason matches in southwest Sweden in freak heat. Earlier this week, the mercury reached a 125-year high of 86 degrees in Kungsbacka and the team’s hotel was not air conditioned. Hahnemann sought refuge at an outdoor Iron Maiden concert in nearby Gothenburg…College teams throughout the Northwest begin reporting for preseason drills next week. Division I programs report Aug. 6, followed by Div. II Aug. 11 and Div. III the following week. Amy Griffin, the associate head women’s coach at Washington, will miss the Huskies’ upcoming season and for good reason. Griffin is goalkeeper coach for the U.S. U17 team which plays at the FIFA World Championships in New Zealand beginning Oct. 28.