Sounders move on as separation from Seahawks nears

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comApril 30, 2014 

Wednesday marks the final day of the business partnership that has united the Seattle Seahawks with Seattle Sounders FC since the Major League Soccer club’s founding in 2007.

The change got a tangible head start on Monday, when the Sounders shifted their business offices to 159 S. Jackson St. at Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle — right along the route supporters take on their pregame March to the Match.

“It’s not coincidental,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “... We wanted it to be in Pioneer Square, but having it be on the route to the march was just that much better.”

Just as the physical move from the Seahawks’ Virginia Mason Athletic Center to the shadow of CenturyLink Field is partly symbolic, Hanauer indicated the advantages of separating business operations from those of the Seahawks also are similarly intangible — at least for now.

“I was in our space yesterday and it was all soccer people all focused on the Sounders,” he said. “Everything in the building was focused on the Sounders, all the imagery, all the messaging, the brand, everybody selling Sounders tickets. And there is just something about the energy that creates, and the creativity and the collaboration that hopefully leads to a better business.”

Immediate changes are straightforward but relatively minor: the new office, a new phone number, and a new receptionist answering the phone.

The bigger stuff will be announced later, or may never be announced at all.

On Thursday, for example, Peter McLoughlin will remain president of the Seahawks and of First & Goal, but he will no longer be the president of the Sounders. Hanauer said no one will take that title in the soccer team’s new structure, although that could change if the club determines such a position is needed.

And just as Sounders supporters might not immediately notice major changes, coach Sigi Schmid said he and his players might not either — especially with team operations remaining at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

“Nothing that really affects the guys and the players on the team,” Schmid said. “I think everybody’s excited. Some guys haven’t seen the new offices, some guys have. Just seeing how that all works in. ... I have to trust what the people higher up than me say, and everybody’s saying this is a positive thing and it’s a part of our evolution and our growth as a club.”

ADDED TIME

Fifth-year forward David Estrada was back at Sounders training after making three appearances on loan with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the North American Soccer League. “You want to stay here and try to break into the 18 and try to help the team out,” Estrada said. “But you’ve got to understand sometimes that maybe you’re not as sharp as you feel that you are, and that was basically the opportunity to get a few games in. I took it as that: just an opportunity.” ... Forward Jordan Morris, who has played with the Sounders Academy, Stanford and the United States U-21 national team, has signed to play the summer season with the Pierce County-based Sounders U-23 of the Premier Development League. The U-23 will make its season debut May 5 with a friendly against Western Washington University at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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