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|MLS - Friday, January 17, 2020|
|Stars and Stripes FC - Friday, January 17, 2020|
|Pro Soccer USA - Thursday, January 16, 2020|
|The Seattle TImes - Thursday, January 16, 2020|
|U.S. Soccer - Thursday, January 16, 2020|
|Pro Soccer USA - Thursday, January 16, 2020|
|Pro Soccer USA - Wednesday, January 15, 2020|
|Soccerwire.com - Wednesday, January 15, 2020|
|U.S. Soccer - Wednesday, January 15, 2020|
|JD Supra - Wednesday, January 15, 2020|
Even before the first cities in the United States were chosen to host Major League Soccer teams, Seattle was considered a viable location for a professional team. In 1994, as the U.S. was preparing to host the FIFA World Cup, more than 30 cities were pursuing the rights to an MLS team, Seattle being among them. However, despite the strong soccer fan base in Seattle, the absence of a soccer-only stadium was a drawback to establishing an MLS team. Cities seeking consideration for an inaugural MLS team were also expected to secure 10,000 assurances from fans for season tickets. By the June 3, 1994 deadline for MLS team bids, Seattle organizers had secured fewer than 1,500 such assurances. These low numbers were a result of competition between the ticket campaign for the MLS expansion team and for the American Professional Soccer League (APSL) Sounders expansion team.
In a June 14, 1994 announcement, Seattle was not included among the first seven cities to be awarded an MLS team. Five more teams were to be announced later in the year, and to improve their chances this time, Seattle MLS organizers began working with the University of Washington to secure use of Husky Stadium as an interim stadium while they pursued the construction of a permanent soccer-specific facility. In November 1994, the start of the first MLS season was postponed until 1996, and it was noted that the absence of an "adequate grass-field facility" in the area and the presence of the new APSL Seattle Sounders team had thwarted Seattle's MLS bid. In the end, Seattle was not among the cities chosen to establish a team during the first season of MLS.
In 1996, as Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen worked with the city to build a new football stadium for his team, the potential of an MLS expansion team that could be a co-tenant helped drive public support for the effort. Many of the state's voters supported the referendum to construct Seahawks Stadium because it was also expected to be a professional soccer venue. While the stadium problem was being resolved, a new issue emerged. By 2000, MLS was moving away from league-operated teams to investor-operated teams, so wealthy individuals would need to step forward for Seattle to obtain an MLS expansion team.
In 2003, Seattle was again listed as a possibility for an MLS expansion team when the ten-team league announced plans to expand into new markets. In 2004, MLS commissioner Don Garber indicated that Seattle had been "very close" to receiving the expansion team ultimately awarded to Salt Lake. Adrian Hanauer, then-owner of the United Soccer League's (USL) Sounders (formerly the APSL Sounders), was in discussions with MLS about an estimated payment of $1 million to secure rights to a Seattle franchise for 2006. However, when Seattle was passed over again in 2006, Hanauer announced that he would not be able to secure an expansion team without the help of more investors willing to cover the increasing MLS franchise fees which had grown beyond $10 million.
Century Link Field
Average 44,247 attendance in 2015
Emerald City Supporters
The Sounders FC Alliance was established at the request of minority owner Drew Carey. Based on the fan association at FC Barcelona, members of the Alliance have the ability to vote on the removal of the General Manager and on other team decisions. Season ticket holders become automatic members, while non-season ticket holders may buy into the Alliance for a fee. Membership benefits include voting privileges, an invitation to the annual meeting and other team perks. Members may also be elected to the Sounders FC Alliance Council by receiving at least 25 nominations from other members on an annual basis. The first vote on retaining or replacing Sounders General Manager Adrian Hanauer was scheduled to be held between October to December 2012. After 13,775 votes registered, Hanauer was retained by the Alliance. Drew Carey is the chairman of the Sounders FC Alliance.
Carey also requested that the Sounders have their own marching band, the first of its kind in MLS. This led to the creation of the Sound Wave, a 53-member marching band consisting of brass and marching percussion. The band plays music from multiple genres, such as Latin, rock and pop, and sits on the north end of CenturyLink Field. The March to the Match, in which fans march from Occidental Park to CenturyLink Field before each home match, has been accompanied by the Sound Wave.
Besides the Alliance, there are currently four recognized, independent supporters groups for the Sounders. Emerald City Supporters (ECS), which formed in 2005 to support the USL Sounders, is the largest supporter group and sits in the south end of the stadium in sections 121–123. Eastside Supporters is a group which can be found in section 150 which they call "The Pod". Gorilla FC is a Sounders supporters group that sits in the south end of CenturyLink Field in Sections 119 and 120. The North End Faithful sit in the north end of the stadium beneath the "Hawks Nest" in sections 100 and 144–152.