Meeting Recap February 7th, 2017
Photos by Stephanie Steiner
February 16, 2017
By Stephanie Steiner
We kicked off our meeting with a survey of Council members (private voting). The Rave Foundation is being supported and honored by glassybaby. The Rave Foundation will have its own glassybaby (shown to the left) and we are one of the groups asked to weigh in on what we think it should be called. We turned in our surveys and quickly moved along to the food and beverage portion of the meeting.
The February 7th meeting was the first ever Strategy Session. Strategy Sessions was a new way of working with the Club that was adopted last year. When the agenda was sent out for the meeting, volunteers were sought to be on the food and beverage follow up team. That team is: Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Alex Eagleton, and Mike Dollard.
Food and beverage at Century Link Field is undergoing an exciting transition. First and Goal Hospitality is the new entity making all of the choices with regard to food and beverages at Century Link Field. We met with Dawn Wheeler, Ashli Brown, and Michael Johnson. They’re diving into explorations regarding beer and cider selections (and how they should be different on tap vs. in 16 oz. cans), how large corporate partnerships can be respected while allowing the differences in Seahawks fans and Sounders fans to be honored, and allowing the quality and alcohol content desires to be met for two distinct fan bases: whereas Sounders fans tend to lean more toward craft beer choices, Seahawks fans tend to choose beers with lower alcohol content to help them through a game that is hours longer.
We had an extensive conversation about bringing in quality food choices that might be considered “alternative” in other markets but are fairly mainstream here in Seattle: fresh food instead of being high fat/fried, vegetarian/vegan choices, gluten free, dairy free, and so on. There are so many options available, that we shouldn’t be settling for food that tastes terrible or is poorly prepared. We learned that much of the struggle in the past has come from inadequate training, which is being addressed.
Martin’s son, Hugo, a ten-year-old vegetarian submitted his well-written thoughts on Century Link’s food and beverage for us to consider. I love receiving correspondence from “junior counsel.”
Below are some images of the samples the food and beverage team brought with them for us to taste. We’re not showing these to you to make you envious, make you hungry, or make you want to join the Alliance Council – those are simply beneficial side effects of these images.
The team at First and Goal Hospitality, Left to Right: Michael Johnson, Ashli Brown, and Dawn Wheeler.
After the Strategy Session, we moved into our own business. First up: Article 8, Supporter Groups. The first reading of the article change was read in November of last year. This was the second reading with an amendment to change the line “designated seating sections” for clarification. It now reads, “Front Office-designated seating sections.” The amendment and the Article were passed unanimously.
We had the first reading of some changes (for clarity) to Article 6 regarding Honorary Chairperson. It’s fairly easy to keep things going when people continue to serve on Council. But when there are large changes to Council, it can be confusing as to what can or cannot be done. So we elected to add clarifying language to Article 6 about the position of Honorary Chairperson. We’re now calling it Honorary Chairperson(s) to make it obvious that more than one person can hold the title at the same time – this gives a Council the ability to grant a youth team the honor if they chose to do so. We declared that if there ever were to be responsibilities of the role, they’d be managed in the bylaws – this does two things: it shows that there aren’t any responsibilities now, and tells people where they’d find them if there ever are any. Lastly, we declared how we’ll name the Honorary Chairperson(s) or rescind the honor should that ever be necessary. None of these things are changes to the process that we follow, they’re just now spelled out so that everyone understands that this is what to do in the future.
We addressed our list of initiatives for 2017 (it’s a lot), and got names attached to each item on the list. We’ll post those separately so that we can update the post and add to it. Those of us who have already started on our projects updated the group.
We finished with open conversation which was mostly about stars on jerseys – at the time, it wasn’t nearly as heated as it has become: MLS had not yet issued the cease and desist to the partner store which was stitching stars on replica jerseys.
Our next Strategy Session will be at our March meeting and we’ll meet with the Marketing team.
Roger Levesque giving kids soccer skills at the Rave Foundation’s launch event at Yesler Community Center, last July. Photo by Stephanie Steiner
October 10th, 2016
by Karl Picard
The first hour of the October Alliance meeting was a discussion around the Rave Foundation provided by Maya Mendoza-Exstrom – General Counsel for Sounders and Executive Director of Rave Foundation. The Rave Foundation is the charitable arm of the Sounders FC that was started in 2013 internally but official launched to the public in July 2016. They are a 501 c3 and a close partner to the for-profit Sounders. They have been working on community outreach and hosting events for kids and communities to get people playing soccer and getting soccer balls into the hands of young people.
For 2017 they will be focused on the following areas: building urban accessible fields (small soccer fields) in the communities that need access to soccer facilities, and creating a culture where pickup soccer can happen – not just the organized, pay to play soccer opportunities for youth. One such field that has been already built it at Beverly Park Elementary where they built a mini-pitch.
They have big goals over the next 10 years, 5 community small fields, 2 Seattle community-centric small fields (targeting iconic areas), distribute soccer balls (10,000) to area kids, and continue supporting pop-up games to encourage free play anywhere. The Foundation wants to remove barriers to participate in soccer, strengthen the communities, and all the ways soccer helps address challenges in our communities.
Yesler Terrace is the first location for the Rave fields (park around the Yesler Community Center). The field will support full field as well as split field games with goals on both ends and sides of the field. It’s going to be a unique location in Seattle and model for parks going forward. Not many places in the immediate area have access to soccer fields plus the right leadership and advocates in the community, therefore making this a great location for the first field.
Next up is bringing the Rave field to Pier 62 at the waterfront. There will be a semi-permanent soccer field that will be similar to the Yesler size. This is the doorstep to Seattle and contributes to the culture of the city.
The Rave Foundation has given out 292 soccer balls and held 83 popup games to date. They will be working on fundraising and the next locations for Rave fields by reaching out to communities and their leaders.
The remaining hour was spent finalizing some items around the Constitution and By-Law changes (which likely everyone reading this has seen by now), discussion around the scarf vote (over 4,ooo people placed their vote) and the Annual Business meeting, which is scheduled for 11/2. Executive Committee Member, Martin Buckley created this nifty survey if you don’t want to use SSFC’s or your question is longer than 150 characters.
photo from SoundersFC.com
By Stephanie Steiner
September 20th, 2016
On September 17th, immediately following our victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sounders FC hosted a Chalk Talk with fans to discuss Club direction, challenges, and (surprisingly) took live questions from the audience. This conversation is the result of the Council’s repeated requests to make Garth Lagerwey, General Manager and President of Soccer, more accessible to our Alliance Members. We are very pleased that the Club heard us and made this event possible. We sincerely hope this can become something that happens multiple times each year.
I have been getting my backside kicked getting escrow closed (silly me, I thought that was the hard part), and now that I have the keys, I also have a new definition of urgent. So I simply did not get a write-up of the event done as quickly as I’d hoped. Today, Dave Clark got a great one posted at Sounder at Heart, and I highly recommend you read it here.
photo by Daniel Roe
Photo by Taylor Graham
By Karl Picard
This month was not your typical Alliance Council meeting. For the first time in my service we had a current player visit the meeting (we get former players like Taylor Graham and Roger Levesque to speak with us occasionally). Stephanie worked a surprise for us into the agenda – more on that later.
First the business part: The first was beginning the planning for the end of year business meeting that the Alliance Council helps to run. Kristina Vaughn has managed this project for the last couple of years. We want to improve attendance and make it more valuable to the fans. If you have ideas feel free to let us know ([email protected]). For now we are working on timing, location, and overall format.
Next up was the Scarf Designs that will lead to the Scarf Vote. This project has also been Kristina’s for the last couple of years. Design submissions are now open (started on 9/8) and will continue through 9/22. Be sure to get your ideas in, as you could be part of the Sounders legacy. The voting from the Alliance will be 9/28 – 10/5 and the official announcement is scheduled from the 10/12 game. The vote for the scarf will also include the Alliance vote on the changes to the Constitution that the Council has finalized.
Finally, you have a chance to meet your Alliance Council reps and those that are looking to get your votes. Be sure to come to The NINETY before the game on October 12th.
Now back to the beginning: Stephanie (in August) updated us on some really inappropriate communications that have come to the Council email this season – people insistent about meeting players, harassment, even a threat. We thought the “presentation” in the agenda was a follow up to that bit on when communication got “unexpected,” but the unexpected part was Cristian Roldan coming down the stairs behind her. She worked with Mikaela Purvis and Taylor on that for a while and kept it a surprise for us for all the work we’ve done on the Constitution.
It was great to talk with Cristian about things soccer related, his teammates, about coming to the Sounders, and playing himself in FIFA. He took an hour answering questions and asking them as well. Some of the highlights:
- He joked that his brother would call himself better, so he needed to say he’s better than his brother (who is currently at the UW) but would love to play along side him for the Sounders.
- He said hands down Chad Marshall is the funniest player on the team, especially on Thursdays when he puts on Stefan Frei’s clothes. He’s such a big guy he stretches them out and then Stef has to wear baggy clothes afterward.
- He said Ozzie has been the player he’s learned the most from this season, also mentioned that Friberg was another source of knowledge.
- When asked about the draft and dropping to the Sounders, he said he was the happiest guy and even noted the fist bump gif online by Lagerwey and Schmid.
- He said he likes to play himself in FIFA and at forward so he can score goals.
- About his first goal: he kind of blacked out about it. He thinks that Brad Evans might have celebrated more. Even though they practice that play, it was the best flick from Brad he’d ever gotten – it was perfect.
- And for me maybe the most important answer he gave was around advice he’d give to young players: When asked what he’d say to the seven to ten-year-olds out there, he said school was really important, they need to be sure to keep their grades up and focus on school. He said he was barely recruited in high school and was lucky some highlight tapes got in the right hands – but that he wanted kids to know it was his grades that got him into the University of Washington.
It was really a fun night, we got some work items addressed, got to have some great conversation with Roldan, and we are ready for the push to the playoffs. If you are an Alliance Member (Season Ticket Holder), be sure to vote for Alliance Council members so we can continue to work for you. ‘Til next time.
Be sure to get in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook, or the comments section here on the Blog.
photo by Karl Picard
By Karl Picard
The July meeting was in the Sounders offices as The NINETY was being used. With 20 people in attendance the room was quite warm for the 3 hour meeting (extended to get a bunch of old business done). We started off with a visit from Mikaela Purvis (Director of Fan Relations) to go over the renewal process and notifications the Club was planning to send out over the next month and half. The highlights of the presentation were:
- We discussed the Save the Date email which you should have received this week
- An additional email will be sent around Aug 1st with the full information about the renewal process
- This year’s auto-renewal: you won’t have to interact with Ticketmaster, Sounders are taking over that area. You’ll still use the Ticketmaster login but the look and feels will all be Sounders based
- You will be able to update delivery address, personal info, parking options, and credit card details
- Accounts that opted for auto-renewal will have an option to verify their info, you don’t have to but you can change the payment plan and other items. Sept 1st will be the first time they process payments, the amount will depend on your payment plan
- For those who didn’t sign up for auto-renew, it will be a similar process as last year, with invoices available on August 1 and you will need to process your renewal either online through Ticketmaster, over the phone or at the match on 8/14 or 8/21 prior to the September 1 deadline.
- All Alliance Members are automatically opted into the relocation process, Sounders FC just needs to process your renewal first in order to be eligible
- Within the invoice for auto-renewal will be your opportunity to opt-in to a different ticket type other than mobile
- Payments are the first business day of each month. The options are full payment on 9/1, 50/50 or the 6 month plan
- To better help Alliance Members with the bag changes Century Link will implement, those with packages of ½ season or more will get a clear bag, one per seat
- Additional renewal events are being discussed for the month of August so stay tuned.
Council members were asked for feedback and we provided some in the areas that seemed confusing. Overall the renewal process seemed much improved from an informational standpoint from last year.
Next we got some updates from our work groups. The big stuff was the progress made on the Constitution, Articles, and Bylaws. These were dealing with everything from Council election rules to GM stuff to proposing Alliance-wide votes or Alliance Council statements. All of this work will need to be finalized in the coming weeks so we can get it out for an Alliance-wide ratification this fall. Once approved, we’ll have all the changes the Council has worked on for as long as I have been a member in place.
Then it was onto making some changes to how the Council operates. Moving away from the working groups (or at least for the initial efforts, they might still be used in some cases) to a structured schedule of Strategy Sessions with the Club. This would allow us to focus in on areas where the Council can better engage the Front Office/Club and have the right people to get some real progress on issues/topics. The ultimate goal of this change is to have the Alliance Council take action and better represent the Alliance.
Another topic was regarding the nomination of Honorary Chairperson of the Alliance Council. We may get to a point where we designate one annually, so we discussed ensuring Drew Carey is always recognized as the first Honorary Chairperson and the owner who brought us the whole idea of the Alliance.
One final personal note outside of the meeting recap, the Alliance Council is working hard to help improve the overall fan experience. This year has been suboptimal, to say the least, in many aspects. There are lots of cries for the Council to do something, and trust me we are working on it. With really only 20 people working for you in a volunteer effort there is only so much we can do. We get lots of folks on social media calling on us to get something done, if you want something done: join and help. These developments that were acknowledged in the Club’s email were the result of a continued and cooperative effort between us and the Fan Relations Team. We are grateful for the open lines of communication between us.
By Thom Kephart and Stephanie Steiner
New business at this meeting was a Supporter Liaison Officer resolution proposed by Paul Cox. This conversation was tabled until we can discuss at greater length and expect to devote time to this topic in our next meeting. The goal of this proposal aligns with the goal of the Alliance which is to positively influence the game day experience.
We had a heated conversation about our productivity particularly around how we are representing the fan voice and progress within our work groups. Pretty much everyone on the Council agrees that the Council as a whole is not producing enough for the Alliance; i.e. for you. Half way through the season and the Council is short on representatives who are striving to push for change. We are short on action oriented people. This is where you come in; If you think you can make a good contribution to the Alliance, nominate yourself for Council here. To learn more about what is entailed, check out this blog and this link.
Sometimes our meetings feel like Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, especially with our June meeting being devoted to voting on Constitutional changes presented in May. However, with repeated efforts we are able to move forward toward the greater good. Why must we do everything twice? The Constitution requires that every new Article or Bylaw (or every change – called an amendment), must be presented at one meeting and voted upon at the next. This provides our Council members with the time needed for consideration. Usually, there is discussion on the topics at each meeting, because people have ideas whenever they have them, not on a convenient schedule.
Our objective is to have the cleanest possible and most relevant version of the Constitution ready for the Alliance to ratify when we host the annual scarf vote. The most important section is the addition of General Manager Vote and Recall – this section is not in the Constitution that was ratified in 2011. Solidifying that work could be extremely important in the future and finalizing the Constitution has a big deadline.
If you’d like to read about some of the other things we’re working on, you can check out this blog.
We’d love to hear from you: hit us up on the comments, Facebook or Twitter. You can also look back at the meeting minutes for past Alliance Council meetings.