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The Seattle Sounders are a Major League Soccer team that was created in 1974 in the state of Washington. The team has been in operation since the 1970s, competing in the North American Soccer League until the 1984 season, when the league was eventually abolished. As an expansion club, the team debuted in Major League Soccer in 2009. After numerous league iterations, it was ultimately permitted to enter the MLS, with primary shareholders Adrian Hanauer and Paul Allen financially supporting the team.
A cursory look at the league’s history reveals how hard the United States worked to make soccer popular in the country. Since its start in the mid-1970s, the league has gone through numerous phases, including a time when it did not exist at all. Seattle has been given rights to a franchise in the floundering North American Soccer League. And, with the backing of businessman Walt Daggatt, the city quickly started seeking for players to form a squad.
They signed John Best as a coach and other noteworthy players such as Everton’s Jimmy Gabriel and Pepe Fernandez with a $500,000 budget. On January 22, 1974, the club was officially renamed the Seattle Sounders after an open contest to include supporters in the process. The Seattle Sounders played their debut game at Memorial Stadium, which has a capacity of 13,000 people, versus the Denver Dynamos. The stadium was chosen since soccer games in the United States were barely attended by 3000-5000 people on average.
The stadium capacity for this game was 12,000, giving investors and fans faith that soccer may succeed in Seattle. At the time, the media paid little to no attention to soccer, making it difficult for teams to get recognition, but packing stadiums was one method to create noise and catch their attention. With a record of 10-7-3 in their first season in the NASL, Seattle nearly missed the playoffs, but the fans were hooked. That year, they finished third in the Western Conference. The club began to receive media attention by selling out games, which had never been done before in the United States.
The Sounders remained in the NASL and had a successful season in 1975 after signing ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mike England. Other clubs started to bolster their rosters as well, such as the New York Cosmos, who signed a player known as Pele, yes, that Pele! Seattle also extended the stadium to hold more than 17,000 people, and the stadium was always filled no matter how big they built it. The Sounders finished the season with a 15-7 record, making them one of the strongest teams in the league. They lost the playoff game against the Portland Timbers, and many fans of both teams remember this game because it created the rivalry between the clubs, which is today the most intense rivalry in the nation.
The next year, the main shareholder Walt Daggat was able to raise enough finances to purchase a football franchise for the city. That club would be the Seattle Seahawks, and both teams would now play all of their games in the Kingdome. The Sounders’ first game in the Kingdome attracted 56,000 fans, thanks to Pele, who scored two goals. The Sounders made it to the NASL Divisional playoffs with the addition of several important players but were defeated by the Minnesota Kicks.
The 1977 season introduced several new faces to the team, notably a new coach, Jimmy Gabriel. After a difficult start to the season, the Sounders finished with a 14-12 record, with large crowds still coming out to support the team. It also helped to have the league’s Rookie of the Year, Jimmy McAllister. The Sounders advanced to the conference finals and defeated the favorites, the Los Angeles Aztecs, to go to the finals and face the Cosmos in Portland for Soccer Bowl 77′. The Cosmos triumphed in Pele’s last game as a professional soccer player.
During this time, the NASL saw a golden age, with clubs spending millions of dollars to bring in foreign talent and well-known stars. The Cosmos with Pele was the most notable example, but many other great players came to the league to help put the United States on the map. The league’s attendance peaked in 1980, and by the following year, with big-name players only able to play a couple of years before retiring, attendance was starting to fall. Finally, the NASL ceased operations in 1986, when just two clubs remained interested in participating. This was the year of the World Cup, and once Mexico was picked to host, teams and leagues lost all hope that the league would make a return.
For the 2010 season, Seattle was chosen to host the first regular-season game once again. The game established an MLS attendance record, and the team was poised for another great season. However, the Sounders finished sixth in the Western Conference and were eliminated from the playoffs by the LA Galaxy. They did, however, win the MLS Open Cup for the second year in a row, putting the trophy ahead of the CONCACAF Champions League, which they lost to Saprissa.
The Sounders won the Open Cup three years in a row and didn’t lose a trophy until the 2012 season. This season, the squad finished third in the Western Conference but owing to a lack of goals, they did not have the goal contributions required to go to the playoffs. The club understood at the conclusion of the season that they needed a significant addition to pushing the squad to the next level.
Clint Dempsey was signed from Tottenham for nine million dollars with a four-year contract for 32 million dollars a year. He was the most expensive signing. With Dempsey’s support, the Sounders filled the stadium every game and smashed attendance records for sports other than soccer in the United States. Despite going trophyless in his first season with the Sounders, Dempsey was regarded as the club’s star, and the squad was created around him.
The Sounders finished first in the Western Conference, won the Supporters Shield, and won their fourth MLS Open Cup in 2014, with Dempsey scoring fifteen goals and assisting ten times. However, the 2015 season disappointed not just fans, but also players and coaches. This season, they only won the Cascadia Cup, and their discontent rose as the hunger for a championship intensified.
The supporters had high expectations for the 2016 season, but the squad took a turn for the worst and had one of its worst runs of games in club history. Sigi resigned from his post as a result of his poor performance. His aide Brian Schmetzer took his position, although only for a short time. Seattle had an incredible run of form after Schmetzer’s hiring, with eight wins, two loses, and four draws, and he was named permanent coach.
The club was also without its finest player, Clint Dempsey, who was ordered to leave the game due to a heart problem. All of this contributed to Seattle’s Cinderella narrative, as the team advanced to the MLS Cup final. They played Toronto FC, went all the way to a penalty shootout, and won, resulting in one of the most spectacular seasons in MLS history.
Seattle did not have a strong start to the 2017 season, but when they sought to make a late push for the playoffs, they were rewarded with a position in the Open Cup final. They played Toronto, but lost two to zero, giving Toronto their third title and domestic treble. After two outstanding seasons from home-grown player Jordan Morris, hopes were high for the 2018 season, but that all fell through when he tore his ACL at the start of the season.
The team kept winning games and broke the MLS record for most straight victories in a season. Paul Allen, a minority shareholder, died during the season as a result of cancer complications. This gave Seattle the incentive to win a title, and they went on to face the Portland Timbers in the conference finals. The game went to penalties, but the Timbers prevailed in what is regarded as one of the most entertaining conference finals in MLS history.
The Sounders were unable to defend their championship, but two years later, in 2019, they were given the opportunity to once again show to the MLS that they are the finest club in the league. In the build-up to this final, both of the finalists were considered underdogs, with LAFC, favored to win it all after an incredible rookie season by Mexican attacker Carlos Vela. Seattle defeated Dallas, Salt Lake, and LAFC to reach the final, where they will face Toronto FC for the third time in four years in front of their home supporters. Seattle triumphed 3-1 in front of a record-breaking home crowd of 69,000 people.
The Sounders elected to trade their first-round choice in the MLS SuperDraft to the Chicago Fire in exchange for a second-round pick and goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland for the 2020 season. Seattle is currently sixth in the MLS standings, although the league has only played two games since the start of the season. The MLS is now stopped until May 10th due to COVID-19.
|Team Name||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Established In||November 13, 2007|
|Based In||Seattle, Washington, U.S.|
|League||Major League Soccer|
|General Manager||Garth Lagerwey|
|Head Coach||Brian Schmetzer|
Seattle Sounders FC Fanmail Address:
Seattle Sounders FC
Virginia Mason Athletic Center
12 Seahawks Way
Renton, WA 98056
Seattle Sounders FC Contact Details
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