Seattle Sounders FC today announced that it has appointed Garth Lagerwey as General Manager and President of Soccer, effective immediately. Lagerwey spent the past seven-plus seasons with Real Salt Lake as General Manager and Senior Vice President of Soccer Operations, serving as architect of the team that claimed the 2009 MLS Cup and an appearance in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League Final. Lagerwey assumes control of Sounders FC’s soccer operations from former General Manager and current Owner Adrian Hanauer, with the latter shifting focus to the club’s business operations.
"I always said that if the best General Manager was available, I would hire that person to replace me. I believe that Garth is that man,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. "This decision will allow me to focus more time on strategy surrounding the long-term future of our club."
Hanauer continues, “Sounders FC is a unique club with rich history and traditions, rooted in the notion of democracy in sports and a strong bond with our fans. In Garth we have found someone who understands and respects these traditions, and is capable of furthering our on-field success.”
As General Manager and President of Soccer, Lagerwey will oversee all Sounders FC soccer operations, including technical staff management, player personnel and transactions, scouting and the oversight of S2 and the Sounders FC Academy system. Like Hanauer before him, Lagerwey assumes a position that is subject to fan vote every four years as part of the Sounders FC Alliance Charter.
“I’m really excited to join Sounders FC. I understand in coming here I am inheriting a trust, and in many ways I’m now a steward of that trust. It’s not merely Sounders since 2009 — it’s Sounders since 1974,” said Lagerwey. “I am humbled by that responsibility and will do my best to live up to those communal expectations in managing Sounders FC as a generational entity that has been an integral part of people's lives for 40 years.”
Lagerwey was hired as General Manager of Real Salt Lake on September 19, 2007. He had an immediate effect on the club, guiding a team that finished last in the Western Conference in 2007 to seven straight MLS Cup Playoff appearances from 2008-14. Under his leadership, the Claret and Cobalt accumulated a 101-68-63 record in just over seven seasons, winning the 2009 MLS Cup and earning another MLS Cup appearance in 2013, in addition to a berth in the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. RSL also became the first MLS club to finish runner-up in the CONCACAF Champions League, falling to Liga MX side Monterrey in the 2010-11 tournament final.
Lagerwey previously worked as an attorney for the law firm Latham & Watkins, where he served as an associate in the Corporate Department of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, where he played collegiate soccer, and a law degree from Georgetown University.
The Chicago native spent five seasons in MLS as a goalkeeper from 1996-2000 for the Kansas City Wizards, Dallas Burn and Miami Fusion. He made 51 career appearances and 46 starts, accumulating a 25-22-0 record.