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Alliance Council Annual Business Meeting Democracy in Sports Editorials

Statement regarding the 2019 Alliance Annual Business Meeting

3 December 2019

By Martin Buckley

Firstly, as President of the Sounders FC Alliance Council, I would like to personally apologise for the late changes in dates, venue and format of the Alliance Annual Business Meeting.

I would like to take a few moments and give some comments and colour regarding the 2019 Annual Business Meeting; specifically addressing some of the questions Alliance Council has received and to extinguish the speculative, inaccurate and sometimes malicious commentary that has been circulating.

Firstly: Alliance Council took your feedback from the past two Annual Business Meetings to heart. We heard that the streaming worked for many – but that you missed a lot of the connection and contacts that came from a larger in-person event. The two Annual Business Meetings that were held in the Ninety were smaller in size – but the number of RSVPs to attend were small. In addition we supported the Club in setting up the now annual Fan Appreciation event during the Summer – which allowed a lot more of us to celebrate, meet with players and listen to our ownership and General Manager.

Secondly: the Annual Business Meeting is an important review of the year for Alliance members. Our Constitution demands the meeting at the close of the playing season. This requires a partnership with the Club at all levels. Without this partnership it is near impossible to hold a meaningful meeting – you expect and deserve representation from Alliance Council, Ownership, Front Office and our General Manager.

Since December 2018, Alliance Council have been requesting a larger, in-person event. The club was broadly supportive. During the Spring and Summer our working group was meeting to discuss the requirements and logistics for such an event. During the Fall of this year we were jointly reviewing venues that would support this in-person event. Our original preference for a date was before the playoffs, during the international break. Club limitations prevented this. We settled on a date in mid-November. We had a date, a venue and started the communication.

There was a wrinkle. We knew that our strong finish in the West would mean home playoff games. We knew that permutations in the East gave a small chance of a home final. Then we beat LA. We all held our breath while Toronto did their piece. The Front Office went into MLS Cup overdrive – selling out the stadium, preparing for our biggest home game – and also planning for a potential parade in the week following the cup game.

Hosting the cup, celebrating the parade – that meant that the original meeting could not happen on the same day. Complications were added as ownership and our General Manager were being pulled across the continent for league and confederation business. It’s December – and at short notice most venues are not available. This is where we are.

As I said – we listened – and winning our second star got in the way.

Democracy in Sports requires being thoughtful. Our ask for 2020 is that the Front Office work with Alliance Council early – and lock down the Annual Business Meeting for 2020. We ask that the date and venue details are communicated pre-season so we can have the Annual Business meeting that we all expect and deserve.

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2019 Alliance Council Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes: October 2019

Meeting Minutes: October 1, 2019

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

Oct 1st 2019 – 7:00 PM

The NINETY

Present (12 of 15): Martin Buckley, Stephanie Steiner, Nicholaus Biela, Ben Slager, Jeff Williams, Todd Cowles, Cameron Collins, Dan Roe, Carmen Hall, Lisa Angeles, Louis Garcia, Duane Nakamura

Absent (1): Alex Eagleton, Jerry Neil, Kelsey Gallo

Via telephone none

I. Call to order:  Martin Buckley 7:00 PM

II. Roll. Martin Buckley:  12 of 15 present at 7.00pm

III. Special Guest

Will Bruin joined Alliance Council for an informal discussion about his career, time at the Sounders and life in Seattle.

IV. Election of Alliance Council Secretary

Lisa Angeles was announced as Secretary by proclamation. Thank you Lisa for keeping our records until the close of the business year.

IV. Proposed amendment to Bylaw 3

Cameron Collins and Dan Roe proposed an amendment to Bylaw 3 to clarify and improve how the Alliance Council and Executive are able to draft and release Opinion Statements. After some discussion the proposed modification will move forward to Second Reading at the November 2019 meeting

V. Proposed amendment to Constitution Article 6.

Cameron Collins and Stephanie Steiner proposed an amendment to the Alliance Constitution to clarify how members of the Executive Committee can be removed. After some discussion this will be re-visited at the November 2019 meeting. Of specific interest were the process around notification, right to reply and the timing.

V. Adjourn

The meeting closed at 9.00pm

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2019 Alliance Council Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes: September 2019

Meeting Minutes: September 10th, 2019

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

Sep 10th 2019 – 7:00 PM

Rave Green Conference Room

Present (14 of 15): Martin Buckley, Stephanie Steiner, Nicholaus Biela, Kelsey Gallo, Jerry Neil, Ben Slager, Jeff Williams, Todd Cowles, Alex EAgleton, Dan Roe, Carmen Hall, Lisa Angeles, Louis Garcia, Duane Nakamura

Absent (1): Cameron Collins

Via telephone none

I. Call to order:  Martin Buckley 7:00 PM

II. Roll. Lisa Angeles:  14 of 15 present at 7.04pm

III. Membership updates

Darla Langdon has asked for Leave of Absence – and will return in December for the new business year.

Chris Urquart and Molly Wagner are deemed to have offered voluntary resignation from Alliance Council by virtue of non-attendance and communication. We thank them for their time and service on Alliance Council

Louis Garcia will be moving away from the area later in the year and will be resigning from Alliance Council at that point. We also thank Louis for his time and service on Alliance Council.

Jeff Williams resigned from the Alliance Council Executive with immediate effect. We thank Jeff for his service as Secretary for this year.

IV. Special Guest: Peter Tomozawa

Peter Tomozawa is part of the the new ownership group at Sounders FC. Peter also joined Sounders FC Front Office as President of Business Operations.

Peter spent over two hours with Alliance Council discussing a wide variety of topics.

Alliance Council thanks Peter for his time – and looks forward to a strong and productive partnership.

V. Adjourn

The meeting closed at 9.05pm

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Alliance Council Annual Business Meeting Democracy in Sports

2019 Annual Business Meeting

Again, we are collecting your questions for the 2019 Annual Business Meeting.

Please spend a moment, enter your question below. Alliance Council will review, aggregate and pose these questions at the 2019 Annual Business Meeting – to be held in November.

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2019 Meeting Recaps Meetings

Meeting Recap: August 2019

August meeting recap

Well, technically you’ll all be seeing this in September so we should start with OMG WHERE HAS THIS SEASON GONE?!  It’s been a doozy – but now it’s time for us to kick ourselves into gear and keep jostling for our position in this very close and fluid Western Conference race.  Since LAFC has made some deal with the devil to get All The Shield Points, our goal is #2 and that home playoff game – the only problem is all the other teams that want that same thing.  I believe in our Tough Kids.

The Alliance meeting on August 6 was a working meeting with most of our time spent talking about some early August game day events and the (ongoing) Supporter Group issues with the Fan Code of Conduct.  (Those who are not aware of the issue and would like to learn more can search for #AUnitedFront on Twitter for some additional information from groups around the league).

The Alliance Council walks a fine line here – the Supporter Groups are independent entities with their own relationships with the Front Office and the League and the Alliance Council sits alongside them but has no official role in their organizations.  That being said, Alliance Council has publicly come out on the side of inclusion (see our Calling Foul campaign as an example) and given that stance, we officially drafted and published an Opinion Statement standing in solidarity against hate, bigotry, racism and intolerance in this sport.  We will continue to watch to see the league response, as will many (including the Sounders Front Office) in the hope that there is an opportunity for dialog on this issue.

The last part of our meeting was a discussion around volunteering and coordination for some big events that the Alliance Council is responsible for supporting or organizing.  We hope that you all enjoyed the Season Ticket Member Celebration on the 25th (some of us were still working on enjoying that win over Portland on the 23rd and missed it… bummer) and we’re getting into the planning for the Annual Business Meeting in November.  Ever wanted to be a part of planning and supporting these sorts of things?  If so, run for Alliance Council yourself!  We’re wrapping up the end of this business year (sad) but the new one starts in December and we’d love to see you be part of it.  For more information on joining Council just click here: So You Want To Be A Council Member.  Will you be part of the shaping of the fan experience next year?

And that was the meeting for August!  Lots of targeted conversation and planning – lots of excitement around how we finish up this season.  Fall is here, it’s time to push up in the standings and get ready to see if we can make a run for the Cup again.  Until the next time – Scarves Up

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2019 Meeting Minutes Meetings

Meeting Minutes: August 2019

Meeting Minutes: Aug 6th, 2019

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

Aug 6th, 2019 – 7:00 PM

Rave Green Conference Room

Present (12 of 18): Alex Eagleton, Cameron Collins, Carmen Hall, Daniel Roe, Duane Nakamura, Jeff Williams, Jerry Neil, Kelsey Gallo, Louis Garcia, Martin Buckley, Nicholaus Biela, and Stephanie Steiner.

Absent (6): Ben Slager, Chris Urquart, Molly Wagner, Darla Langdon, Lisa Angeles, Todd Cowles.

Via telephone none

I. Call to order:  Martin Buckley 7:03 PM

II. Roll. Jeff Williams:  12 of 18 present at 7.04pm.

III. Front Office and Supporter Groups: Update and commentary on recent events
Martin Buckley joined a meeting between Supporter Groups and Front Office at the invitation of Emerald City Supports’ leadership. Note that the Alliance Council will not get involved in Support Group business.

There was a long and detailed discussion regarding the current situation regarding the MLS Fan Code of Conduct, political flags and signage and supporter groups. There was a specific discussion regarding the Iron Front imagery and flags.

Sounders FC Front Office continues to message a stand for inclusion and keeping fans safe.

Alliance Council representation was to listen and provide context regarding all fans.

Following a break there was discussion on whether the Alliance Council should craft and support an Opinion Statement in support of our Supporter Groups.

Vote on the motion:  11 Yes, and one abstain. 

We, the Seattle Sounders Alliance Council, support the value of inclusion.
We stand with our Supporter Groups against hate, bigotry, racism, and intolerance.

https://soundersalliance.org/2019/08/07/opinion-statement-inclusion/

IV. Volunteers and Events.
Alliance Council is being asked to support multiple events over the coming months:
August 25 – Fan Appreciation event – noon to 3.00pm
October – garage sale
November – Annual Business Meeting

There was a limited number of volunteers to assist. Nicholaus will manage the Fan Event signup and roster. Duane volunteered as logistics lead for the Annual Business Meeting.

V. Update: Social media plan and next steps.
Kelsey’s report on social media shows 2000 followers on Facebook and 2700 on Twitter. Suggested to arrange a giveaway to increase traffic.

VI. Update on Scarf vote.
Carmen reported that the Alliance wide Scarf Vote is live. Results will be announced at a future match.

VII. Other business.
Food committee:  the stadium is trying new beer. Ask to put up signs for frozé. If you want Taco Time at the game, we must raise our voices.

Next meeting was re-arranged to be Sept 10.

Away Travel: Anybody going to LA, Alex has a travel offer.

Adjourn: 9:16 PM

 

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2019 Meeting Minutes Meetings

Meeting Minutes: July 2019

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

July 9th 2019 – 7:00 pm

The NINETY

Present (10 of 18): Alex Eagleton, Cameron Collins, Carmen Hall, Duane Nakamura Jeff Williams, Jerry Neil, Kelsey Gallo, Louis Garcia, Martin Buckley, and Todd Cowles.

Absent (8): Ben Slager, Chris Urquart, Molly Wagner, Daniel Roe, Darla Langdon, Lisa Angeles, Nicolaus Biela, Stephanie Steiner.

Via telephone none

I. Call to order:  Martin Buckley 7:00 PM

II. Roll. Jeff Williams:  10 of 18 present at 7.02pm.

III. Front Office: Renewal, Alliance Fan Appreciation Event
Mikaela Purvis, Director of Membership Engagement and Retention spent time talking about renewals, Season Tickets for 2020 and the Alliance Fan Appreciation event to be held 25 August 2019, noon-3.00pm.

She presented the benefits of being a season ticket holder – or Alliance member – and some of the retention details.

IV. Outreach plan and next steps.
Nicolaus not present – this will be presented at a future meeting.

V. Update: Social media plan and next steps.
Kelsey’s report on Social media engagement – mainly through Twitter and Facebook. Looking for content from other members to get pictures of game day, and how the fan experience is shaping up. Looking to add color for the fan around game day, RAVE Foundation events and fan interaction.
Suggestion to get the food trucks report on a regular basis. Find out who knows the list of trucks that will be present.

VI. Update on Scarf vote.
The Front Office received around 40 submissions; a handful were ineligible.
Council will have a short window during July to reduce this list to a best five. This best five will be sent out for Alliance wide vote.
Note that again we ask the Front Office to plan and engage earlier to make this less rushed.

VII. Summer 2019 survey overview.
Martin sent a survey to all current and prior Alliance Council members that we could contact. Around 90 members provided feedback in the anonymous survey.

Perceptions of the Alliance Council are mixed; and there were some good ideas on being more effective. Perceptions of how “rewarding” Alliance Council is has improved over the past three years.

This is a subject for a future meeting.

VIII. #CallingFowl
The final letter was sent to MLS officials.

There is no response to date – although the Sounders FC Front Office reports that the League has received the letter – and have spoken with the Front Office .

We continue to request a response.

The letter calls out what has been done to promote equality. The social media seems to have a mostly positive response. The letter is posted to the Alliance Council website.

IX. Other business.

In order to streamline communication – and have a single place to communicate – Microsoft Teams will be the one place moving forward. As we move into the new business year in December the Facebook group and Google mail will be archived.
In stadium concessions: Food quality not improved. Alex Eagleton and team will continue to review the concessions, quality and value and report back to council and the Front Office.
Todd Cowles has accepted a role on the board of the RAVE Foundation. We congratulate Todd on this move. Todd will be ending his time with Alliance Council at the end of the business year to focus on the RAVE Foundation.

Meeting with Adrian and ownership: pre-game Wednesday 17 July. This is before the friendly match against Dortmund.

X. Adjourn

Adjourn 8:59 PM

 

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2019 Meeting Recaps Meetings

Meeting Recap: July 2019

Sitting (semi) Pretty In The Emerald City

Okay, where did July go? As I write this I see August peaking its head around the corner and demanding some attention – I’ve got sights firmly set on 2 dates right now though.  Brad Smith’s loan is up at the end of this month (if you’re reading this in the Future please adjust as necessary) and the Secondary Transfer Window closes on August 7.  Right now we’re sitting 2nd in the West but it’s an uneasy seat to hold; with recent injuries and the new single elimination playoff schedule I think we’re all a bit anxious to see what shakes out.

We had a decent amount to get through in our Alliance Council meeting in July – starting with a really great conversation with Mikaela Purvis – the Director of Fan Relations for the Club.   She walked us through the STH survey results and shared where we have opportunity to help with communication of Alliance Member benefits.   For example, did you know that if you’re an Alliance Member and you can’t use your tickets to a game you can arrange ahead of time to trade them for seats at a future game?   (I didn’t).  That’s cool.   We should be talking more about those sorts of things.  Spoiler alert – we’re going to do that.

We also talked about the fan celebration happening the afternoon of August 25th , how last year went, and what ideas we all had for making the most of the time that we will have with players.

Next – Round Table and General Updates… so here’s the lightening round version:

  • Have you noticed our social media ramping up? Kudos to Kelsey for driving that engagement. Look for us on Twitter and Facebook!
  • Scarf vote time! We completed our review of the scarf designs and sent them to the FO: look for your opportunity to vote on next year’s most fashionable neck warmer!
  • A couple of months ago we did an internal survey about the Alliance Council and our own feelings/experiences as part of that group. Martin will share more detail and thoughts with us in the upcoming months.

Lastly, we talked about our #CallingFowl campaign to drive awareness of our perceived disconnect between a proposed league wide sponsorship deal between MLS and Chik-Fil-A.   You can read more about it here:  #CallingFowl.   This subject has garnered some of the highest levels of engagement on Twitter, Facebook and our website in Council history.  We’re proud that we’ve driven conversations around this topic within the fan base and the Sounders Front Office – we stand by our beliefs that soccer is an inclusive sport and should be welcoming to all.  We will keep you up to date of any additional feedback or actions here.

With that – we adjourned into a warm July evening in Pioneer square looking forward to the second half of the season.  Scarves up, everyone… it’s run time.

 

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2019 Meeting Recaps Meetings

Meeting Recap: June 2019

June will break your heart. I can see it already. She’ll shatter you into a million pieces. Marie Lu

*sigh*  Hello June.  It’s been a bit of a month, hasn’t it?  In the midst of a struggling run of form (nice timing, International Break) the Alliance Council had our monthly meeting on June 4  where we talked about all sorts of positive and creative things.   Let’s focus on that, shall we?

First, we said think you to Molly as she stepped away from her role running the Social Media aspects of the Council and had a vote to fill that position on the Exec Team.  We’re happy to welcome KELSEY as our new Media Queen – look for her to rally us cats and get us all sorted with things like hashtags.  I hear they are a thing now. #Hashtag

The next order of business was a serious one – positioning on the rumored Chick-fil-A/League sponsorship deal.  Most of the conversation was around our role as voices for the Alliance and if it was our place to speak up regarding business decisions.  There is a very clearly defined line around our responsibilities in our Charter; when it comes to how the Club is run (and business decisions in general) we don’t have a vote.  This is a good thing – we should be leaving the running of the Sounders (and by extension MLS) to the people who are charged with running that.  HOWEVER… we do get to have an Opinion and we feel that it’s fully within our purpose to voice that on behalf of Alliance Members.  In the end, we agreed that we wanted to say something and created a targeted working group to pull together materials.  Look for that soon.

Our last, and perhaps funnest (yes, that’s a word) formal activity was to talk about our submission for the Sounders Best XI.  Since our vote counted for 25% of the weighting in the selection this was Serious Business.  .  There was a lot of “remember when” and recounting of personal experiences that influenced people’s thinking.  I think the only thing we agreed on was that we wished that we had a bench to fill because we’ve been pretty spoiled with some awesome players over the years.  Me, I decided that I would put in my choices based on their overall impact to the team trying to keep in mind that the teams of 10 years ago were doing something different than the team does now.  It was either that or go to my fallback – best hair.

We wrapped with a quick round table and update from the other working groups.  SEASON TICKET HOLDER SCARF SUBMISSIONS ARE COMING SOON!  Keep an eye out for news from the Club and get your crayons, pens, pencils, ready to be creative. Imagine all those scarves in Century Link with YOUR design on them. Need inspiration? ‘ Best hair’ is a valid theme…  just saying.

The guys are back in action here in a couple of weeks so get those voices ready and stretch – it’s almost scarves up time!

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2019 Meeting Minutes Meetings

Meeting Minutes: June 2019

Meeting Minutes: June 4th,  2019

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

June 4th, 2019 – 7:00 PM

The NINETY

Present (11 of 18): Cameron Collins, Carmen Hall, Dan Roe, Duane Nakamura, Jeff Williams, Jerry Neil, Kelsey Gallo, Lisa Angeles, Martin Buckley, Nicholaus Biela, and Stephanie Steiner.

Absent (7): Alex Eagleton, Ben Slager, Louis Garcia, Molly Wagner, Darla Langdon, Chris Urquart and Todd Cowles.

Via telephone none

I. Call to order:
 Martin Buckley 7:02 PM

  1. Roll. Jeff Williams:  11 of 18 present at 7.00pm.

III. Executive committee At Large Position Vote: Social Media
Cameron Collins and Nicholaus Biela were elected to voting committee.

Four candidates self-nominated. After short nominating speeches a paper vote was taken.

Kelsey Gallo was elected to the Executive Committee At Large position. Kelsey will report on her plans next meeting.

  1. Chick-fil-A and potential league-wide sponsorship.
    Alliance Council is aware of long running rumors regarding a League-wide commercial sponsorship with Chick-fil-a.

A long conversation discussed multiple concerns around this. The main concern is that the League has promoted various campaigns and awareness activities to support inclusion and diversity (Soccer for All, Don’t Cross the Line) – while Chick-fil-A, the Chick-fil-A Foundation and other associated entities have historically shown behavior and funding which is in opposition to these goals. In addition Alliance Council recognized that Seattle Sounders FC, ownership, players and front office have repeatedly shown behavior which support diversity and inclusion.

A secret ballot was held amongst Council to determine whether this was a conversation we wished to bring to the league. There was unanimous support for this from Council.

A workgroup was formed to create a letter, talking points and a social media campaign – to land before 25th June 2019. Cameron, Carmen, Nicholaus, Dan will do the wordsmithing on the formal letter.

  1. Outreach update
    Nicholaus is looking for information to support outreach.
  2. Final wrap up of Player Recognition
    The final notes from the Player Recognition project were reviewed – and will be minuted for future activity.
  3. Working session: Best XI
    The Alliance Council Best XI process was discussed. The voting site will be open until close of the week.

A long conversation regarding individual selection criteria for Best XI was entertaining. Noted thanks to the Club for including Alliance Council.

  1. Other business

Carmen will talk to Front Office on Friday about scarf vote. Process and timeline will be posted on Teams. Similar to last year – designs submitted, Council selects best five, Alliance wide voting, prototype scarves for final five, scarves on display at fan event in August.

No date for the fan event yet – likely to be late August.

Surveyed the council 16 of 19 responded

The business meeting is to be streamed at a venue for about 500 towards the end of August.

Cleanup on bylaw 9, part of the law was not posted but is updated now.

Molly Wagner is now ex officio status

Adjourn: 8:48 PM