What potent blood hath modest May ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
A little later getting this in than normal.. so let’s take just a minute to appreciate that we closed out the transfer window with 2 new players (kinda… WELCOME BACK, JOEVIN) and are sitting 2nd in the West. What is this… July??!
So, what did we do this month? Glad you asked!
Clearing the Docket: We closed out the Player Recognition workstream (for now) and sent out their final write up. When the timing is right, we’re back on this like Brad Smith on Alberth Elis.
Making New Friends: Todd gave us a great presentation on the RAVE Foundation, their mission, and their current event calendar for 2019. Whew, these folks are doing some awesome things out there using soccer as a medium and you should go check them out. It would be really great if the Alliance Council could do more with RAVE and work together to help build that community – we’re hoping that Todd helps create that bridge for some partnership in the future. No pressure, Todd. We’re just watching you.
Let’s Talk About Us: Our next chunk of time was spent talking about Alliance Council outreach. See, we want amazing and diverse people to represent the Alliance Members and to do that we need to find ways to toot our own horn a bit. We recognize that a certain percentage of the current Alliance don’t have the backstory on the creation of the Alliance so we need to work on getting better visibility into the Democracy In Sports concept in general. If we get people excited in the Alliance, then we can get people excited about participating in Council.
Nicholaus runs this initiative as an At Large member of our Executive Team (aka: this is IMPORTANT) and helped lead the conversation including a roundtable brainstorm of ideas from the group for outreach opportunities. We had a lot of ideas – some we’re already doing (spoiler alert… see you at the Fan Event this summer) and some that we need to work with the Front Office on to implement. If we do this right, You Will Hear Us (see what I did there?)
One of the easiest things that we can do is to generate more, valuable content for this site. It broke my heart a little bit to find that my recaps aren’t a big driver of clicks (I SWEAT OVER THESE THINGS, PEOPLE!) but I get it – who likes meeting notes no matter how they’re written? So we’re going to work on doing better there. If you DO happen to read this (HI MOM!) and have an idea on what sort of things you’d like to see leave a note in the comments below.
We wrapped up with a quick level set session for a meeting that we had with Club Ownership and Front Office folks before the Dynamo game on the 11th where we discussed the work we’d been doing with the Council of the Future. We have some small working sessions to set up to keep that moving forward. Stay tuned.
Schedule wise we’re looking at drought of home games until the end of June – pro-tip: Scarves Up works from *wherever* you happen to watch our guys play. You know what to do.
Stepping into Spring, Ready to Take Care of Business
Hello April! So much has happened since our March meeting – we had a time change, the cherry blossoms are… blossoming…, everyone came back healthy from the International break, and after a hearty game of bunkerball in Vancouver our Sounders are sitting on the best start in club history. And we’re just getting this month started!
In the spirit of the season, the Alliance Council also sprung right back into business on the 2nd by focusing on wrapping up some loose ends from previous meetings and checking in with our workgroups.
First on our agenda was a read out from the jersey workgroup. Prior to our Council meeting they had a working session with Taylor Graham where they walked through 2020 mock ups and talked about the feeling and vision for 2021. We have a pretty quick turn around to get our thoughts back to the club and overall the feel from the group was that it’s starting to feel like we have a bit more strength behind our voices. Time will tell how much influence any of us have when it comes to working with adidas and their templates and that includes the front office. And no, don’t ask me any details about upcoming designs – I’m not part of that workgroup and the closest I got to that meeting was sitting near the pizza that was left over from their dinner. BTW, I now have Opinions about the amount of green pepper should be on a pizza. Opinions.
Next we continued our work on Future Council. We locked in our North Star – you can read more here if you haven’t already seen it. We feel good about it and it’s something that we’ll be checking ourselves against as we look at how we make our plans and priorities. After finishing our Vision, we talked about some possible organizational changes as the Council scales over the years – we’ve all been in those large meetings which are pretty terrible and don’t seem to bear fruit at the end. Bigger isn’t better without a deliberate structure and set of expectations. Luckily, we have the time to test out some ideas and see if we’re getting the results that we want over the next couple of seasons. This workgroup will continue to work on next tactical steps and bring back those recommendations to the larger team.
In the new business roundtable, Chris talked about starting planning for early 2020 season Inclusion activities such as World Autism Day that we missed this year and then we seeded the agenda for next month: get updates from the Player Recognition, Youth Outreach and RAVE Foundation workgroups and start early planning the Annual Business Meeting (specifically talking about venue options that support a larger in-person audience and streaming if possible).
And we wrapped up a little early. Which is probably good, because if you’ve looked at the schedule for April we all could use some extra rest – the Sounders still have 6 (6!!!!!) games to play in April including 2 (2!!!!!!) against LAFC in a week. A WEEK! Buckle up and strap in – this is going to be a crazy month. Scarves up, Seattle!
Julius Caesar was warned “beware the ides of March” by a soothsayer– I’m not sure that FC Cincinnati needed an oracle to foresee how their first MLS game might go but there are some things that, in retrospect, seem predetermined by the fates. Whew, that was fun to watch! This month’s meeting on March 5th could be summarized as follows:
We spent 2/3 of our time talking about the future
Then we wrote the first draft of a Vision/Mission Statement for the Alliance Council
We quickly covered the feedback we’d heard about the Value Menu – we’re passing that along to the Club along with some recommendations for better signage in the stadium to make it easier to find.
That’s it. That’s what we did. Technically my write up is done so indulge me and let’s talk about why we blew off the intended agenda to spend so much time in the ‘art of the possible’ space. First, happy 10 years in MLS! That’s not just a milestone for the Club but for the Alliance as well. And, as 10 year olds often do, we got slightly introspective and asked ourselves a variant of the age old question: What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? Adrian has said that the goal is full stadium sellouts within the next 10 years; assuming that our STH ranks scale with that vision, we’re going to welcome a lot more Alliance members into the stands. We recognize that there is a need to evolve the Council to differently represent the Fan voice as the Alliance grows along with the Club vision. We had a really involved conversation on what we thought our opportunities were and, frankly, if we thought that change was attainable. Generally speaking, we’d like to have Council representation better mirror the Alliance base, be stronger, and more visible. But we need to define what that looks like and how to get there. Thus enters the Vision/Mission statement. We wanted a North Star – something that we could look at as we make strategic and tactical decisions and check our intentions. We should be able to tie everything that we do back to the principles that we outlay in our Vision. We came out of the meeting with an initial draft that we’re bouncing around in email a bit since we wanted some time to let it soak. This is important, and we want to get it right. This was a really great working session and everyone was participating openly and respectfully as we discussed some hard topics with honesty. And while everybody really contributed during this exercise, Louis and Todd helped the team think aspirational and Martin managed to herd all us chickens and keep us productive. Look for more on this as we keep working on it. I’m writing this on the morning of Saturday, March 9 – today we play Colorado and here’s hoping for another 3 points at home and staying on the top of the table. Spring is coming, the days are getting longer, and it only snowed once this week so things are looking good in Soundersland – Scarves up, Seattle, let’s take them all!
Happy “wait, since when does it snow in Seattle?” February!
Before I start, here are the two things that I learned about The NINETY when we had our monthly Council meeting on Feb 5:
The codes to the bathroom end in * … not # like every other code that
we seem to have in our society Just, you know, you have the opportunity
to impress someone by getting it right the first time.
2) Bring a hoodie or something – that place is chilly. Awesome, but brrrrrrrr.
On to the meeting!
The first half of our time was spent meeting with Garth Lagerwey, General Manager and President of Soccer – you may remember him from that voting thing last year. While I won’t cover any specifics, I will make a couple of observations about the conversation. First, I marvel at what an opportunity that we, as the SSFC Supporter Community, have with the Democracy in Sports concept. The fact that we are able to have this sort of access to Club leadership is something that we should appreciate as part of the very unique fabric of our Club’s DNA. Secondly, Garth was personable, respectful, straightforward and very generous with his time. This meeting easily could have felt perfunctory – one of those “Ugh, I have to go do this THING with these PEOPLE” meetings – and yet it didn’t. That says a lot about who Garth is as a person and what the Alliance Council has done to foster those relationships over the years. It was great to see.
When Garth was finally pulled away, after a couple of pictures (damn, we’re a good looking group!) we got down to business – an update from some meetings with the Front Office, and then quick read outs from the working groups. On the working group front, most of us are still ramping up so we should start having more to talk about in the next couple of meetings – both Youth Outreach and Merchandising will be on the agenda for March and I expect we’ll see more get added in the next couple of weeks.
We had a big discussion around the current Hot Topic – player recognition. The Alliance Council working team has done an amazing job with some concepts that incorporate community participation in the process and we’re all really excited about it – the feedback from the Front Office is that we’re not aligned with their timing. So, while everyone agrees that recognition is something that’s important, the Council proposal is going to go on the back burner for just a bit. The working team is SO passionate about this that there’s no danger of this just fizzling out, it’s a matter of planning and keeping the pressure on. Keep an eye on this one – we’re not done here!
The last update was from Martin and Stephanie about how we strategically spend the time we get with Front Office representatives. This year, we’ll focus our “Club Time” on the Scarf vote and Jersey design, Inclusion (how do we make the game day experience more inclusive so that all feel welcome and represented) and the Alliance of the Future (how do we evolve, what role does the Alliance play as we move into our second decade in MLS). What this means is that these are the areas we’ll really press into and look for collaboration with the Club as we expand out our ideas.
At this point, we were all pretty cold (I might be projecting a bit) so we had a quick round table ending with a SHOUT OUT WHOOP WHOOP to Molly for k-i-double l- ing it on the socials. She did a fantastic job on the zulily reveal party and really caught some great moments of the guys being… themselves… before the event. High five!
That’s it! First games are right around the corner and, let’s face it, we’re all ready to see the Rave Green back in action. Season Ticket packages are shipping and they just announced some new budget friendly food options… it’s happening, Fam!
Welcome new Council Member Carmen Hall! Carmen reached her 25th vote about
an hour before the meeting started.
We’re happy to have her.
Tonight’s meeting was about 2019’s priorities, what work groups we’d like to create, and our expectations for the year. We spent a good hour in the conversation about how work groups work effectively and what causes stalls. Many of the normal working teams are there for things you’ve seen in the past: scarf vote, jersey team, outreach, food &beverage, etc. A blast from the past this year: Merchandise – not limited to attire, but that could be a dominant focus and we’d like to have some youth feedback too. We are quite frustrated that sitting v. standing was flat-out shut down, and we think you are too. We’re looking to address this one differently.
We passed a bylaw that codifies how the voting procedures for the Executive Committee will work – nothing terribly exciting here, but it’s easier to do this than look up stuff in Sturgis. Who am I kidding? It’s easier to do this than go find my copy of Sturgis.
We also passed a statement honoring former Coach Sigi Schmid, who passed away on December 25th, 2018. The statement was penned by Cameron Collins (Thanks Cam!), and we’ll get it posted here on our site as soon as an introductory statement has been written.This is posted here. Please feel free to leave your memories and comments.
There’s progress regarding Player Recognition (Ring of
Honor? Hall of Fame? Who to include? What are the limitations? ) Some very nice
work has been done regarding the voting procedures (great work, Cameron) and
the addition of visual references (way to go Kelsey Gallo). Next the group needs to finalize it so that
it can go to the front office for feedback and suggestions for moving forward.
That left us with a little time for open conversation and
wrap up. January 8th was a
rescheduled meeting and does not count toward our attendance tally.
The meeting started with Martin Buckley, President, acknowledging those who are leaving council (Nick Biesold, Mike Dollard, Karl Picard, and Roberta King) for their contributions to the Alliance.
We then discussed recruiting for council members: we need people who are doers, project manager type people. Does anyone know people who could be good candidates? Martin and I have both reached out to Supporter Groups and other volunteer organizations (this year and in the past), and they are challenged with the same issues we have: lots of people join, but few people contribute effort. Martin followed up on those conversations recently: no change. If anyone knows of people who would make good candidates: Gary Wright has volunteered to be a closer (and he’s amazing – we are so very lucky).
Election process for Executive Committee: Dan Roe began this, Martin has finished it. The process includes a committee just for elections: if you’re interested you can volunteer that night. To qualify, you must be able to count votes and you can’t be running for any of the offices.
Executive Committee At Large Positions: we need them to focus on social media and outreach.
Treasurer is listed in the Constitution, but we presently have no need for the position. If there were a need for the position, we’d add it. There are no changes to the roles of president, vice president, and secretary.
Updates from work sessions:
Player Recognition (Nicholaus Biela):
the group had a call and decided that the whole council would vote on the process.
Rough plan: create the enshrinement inaugural class and then bring the whole plan to the front office.
Martin: we need to hustle, this conversation is three months old. The front office is looking to do this next year and if we don’t present them with a solution they’ll create one without us.
Nick: We’re discussing similar possibilities as what other stadiums have: glass plaques, bronze, etc. Figuring out which, and how to do things is still in conversation.
Martin: We’ve got to get ideas in front of the F.O. now. Include them in the idea-building.
Me: Be open to change and creativity. It’s possible they have access to things we haven’t seen, like perhaps something museum-like that is interactive and teaches, or is mobile and can move to an expanding location. What if it’s a touchscreen and can teach people about a player instead of just a static image?
Annual Business Meeting (Martin Buckley):
Meeting is November 13th.
Format is live and streaming from The NINETY.
As of 11/6/18 RSVPs are full and there are ten on the waitlist.
RSVPs went to a form and waitlist clicks through to an email address. Highest attendance at a meeting ever was for Brian Schmeltzer’s promotion to Head Coach, the worst kept secret ever 🙂
Approximately 1300 attended that meeting.
There were 2500 on the live stream last year (2017), plus additional views later.
Discussed complaints about visibility of the meeting. One person attending the meeting had received the Beyond the 90 email with the meeting announcement (previous week).
No one had received any notification of the meeting prior to the going to waitlist.
Several examples of the communication being inconsistent across platforms.
Annual Business Meeting Flow (subject to change):
GM Vote Results
Alliance Council Review
Adrian – Owner’s Review
Bart – Business Review
Garth – Team Review (might also include coach Brian Schmetzer)
Questions and Answers
Ten Years of the Alliance Project (Stephanie Steiner):
we need to give up on this as a rich content project, we simply don’t have enough content and buy in.
What we do have is really good: thank you to everyone who contributed their work.
We need to take all of that content and post it into the “stories” section of our website and come up with a different hash tag.
Nicholaus: what if we set tickler reminders for the social media team to repost “on this day…” kind of tweets and stuff? <- brilliant idea, we should do that.
By setting this apart from a ten year anniversary, it can continue to grow and then just keep going with stories in the future: it’s no longer one anniversary, it’s representative of any moment that’s meaningful.
Community Outreach (Darla Langdon):
Darla reached out to Kimberly Aigner to see if there was a list of Community Outreach events for 2019 yet. We know it’s early. We’re not going to pressure her to reply. We don’t expect any list until next year. Martin Q: did any AC members participate in their events? Darla: no.
Garage Sale (Jerry Neil and Cameron Collins):
This went very smoothly, council members greeted and helped guide Alliance members. Line was around the corner. Limit of five items per customer.