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2015 Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: July 2015

Photo Credit: SoundersFC.com

By Karl Picard

July 20th, 2015

July’s Alliance Council meeting was designated for Council business, without outside guests.  There were four main areas of discussion for the night: the visibility team and promotion of the council, supporter group recognition and the role the council plays in that process, community involvement, and the GM Vote and Recall process negotiations (ongoing).

On the supporter group recognition front we focused on Bylaw 7 of the Alliance Constitution. The discussion focused around the fact that with the current language, the Council could remove recognition of a supporter group without cause or criteria.  It was explained that Bylaw 7 was originally added to provide criteria for recognition, so that the Club could recognize “supporter groups” consistently. This was a concern since supporter “groups” wanted access to Cascadia away match tickets. There will be more fine-tuning of the bylaw changes with a vote on those changes scheduled for the August meeting.

Next up was the visibility group, which is focused on ways to promote the Council.  We have been working on being more active on social media outlets as well as publishing some blog posts and these Council meeting recaps.  We are in need of more people willing to help out as Alliance Council is a volunteer effort, check out a recent blog post on this request.  If you have some ideas on what we can do to improve our brand and work better for the Alliance let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments.

Within the area of community involvement, we discussed the scarf vote and the Rave Green Run . The 2016 scarf competition:  design submissions will be in September with voting on the finalists in October – so it’s time to get those ideas fired up! The Sounders have a few community efforts coming up, the big one is the Aug 9th  Rave Green Run, complete with viewing party afterwards for the LA game.  Be sure to look for these and other community events on Twitter and Facebook.

Lastly, our main discussion was centered on the GM Vote and Recall Process negotiations. We are working with the Front Office on updating the Charter regarding the vote to ensure the terms are clear, and the Alliance retains the power to recall a current General Manager. We also strive to ensure that what we create will never be in the way of the Club to recruit top talent for that role.  Look for more to come on that in the coming months.

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2015 Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: June 2015

The Ninety display window – photo by Karl Picard

By Karl Picard

This is the second in a series of Alliance Council meeting recaps.  For more information about the Council, click here.

At the June 2nd Alliance Council meeting, which was held at TheNinety, we met with Mikaela Purvis, Fan Relations Manager, to discuss options for Season Ticket Members. Currently, the club is promoting the Priority List where fans can reserve a place on the list to get season tickets in the lower bowl.  Additional benefits for season ticket members are discounts at the pro shop and pre-sale access for other event tickets. The priority list is only for those who want to be new season ticket holders – existing Alliance members are already at the top of the list.

The club consistently renews at a high rate, but they are looking at ways to engage those who have not renewed in order to determine the reason they don’t renew and make sure they aren’t missing anyone. One big change Mikaela mentioned was that the club will have a 6 month payment option that should make the financial impact less on those that need a little relief, just be sure to renew by the deadline for this benefit Also, the club is looking for a way to combine the processes of renewals, playoffs, and seat designation to make it as easier for Alliance Members. They are looking at a few other things as well, working both with the Alliance Council and others.  As those options get more developed, we’ll be sure to get the details out.

Following our conversation with Mikaela, we discussed the Council’s involvement with Supporter Group Recognition.  Currently, Bylaw 7 of the Alliance discusses how supporter groups are to seek formal recognition from the Alliance Council, which may also remove that recognition.  The discussion tonight was about whether the recognition process is something the Council should do, or if that is more of a role for the front office. Article 6 of the Alliance Constitution discusses the relationship of supporter groups with the club and precludes the Alliance and supporter groups from interfering in each other’s business. Discussions will continue and hopefully a vote on what that bylaw should look like going forward will happen in the next couple of months. For more on supporter group members participating in Council, read the recent blog post by the Alliance Council president Stephanie Steiner.

The Visibility group gave a debrief their activity with Twitter, Facebook, the outreach table at the Sounders game, as well as working with the Sounders front office to get Council blogs published on the SoundersFC.com website.  If you missed it the first one, Democracy in Sports ran this past week.  You can find all articles published about the Alliance Council using their tags at the bottom of articles.  We expect to publish two articles each month by the group, along with the usual Facebook and Twitter activity.  Give us a follow if you haven’t already.

The last business item covered was the GM Vote and Recall.  Discussions are still ongoing around how the GM Vote and Recall should be structured. We continue to work with the Sounders front office to make sure the Alliance voice is heard. We all know Drew Carey wanted there to be a way for the fans to provide feedback on the direction of the club, so we are working to ensure Alliance members have a key role– not just today but forever.

Let us know what you think Council should be talking about and working on for Alliance members.  You can do that in the comment section below or via the social media avenues mentioned in this article.  Until next month…

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2015 Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: May 2015

May 7, 2015

By Karl Picard, Alliance Council Member

This is the first in  a series of Alliance Council meeting recaps. For more information about the Alliance Council, click here.

At the May 5th Alliance Council meeting we met with Maya  Mendoza-Exstrom (Sounders FC General Counsel and Executive Director of the Rave Foundation) and Petyr Beck (Publisher at Documentary Media). Maya has been involved with the Sounders since she was a baby going to games, with her father as General Counsel for A-League/USL Sounders, and now she works with the MLS club. She has also played and coached in the area at several levels, really just being part of the soccer fabric around Seattle.

Maya and Petyr are building a book around the history of the Sounders with the proceeds generating funds for the Rave Foundation as it’s first fundraiser. The focus is not your typical history of a sports team but rather around the relationship between the community and fan base that has developed from the 40 plus years of Sounder history. Petyr was actually a roommate of Adrian in college and has been around the Sounder legacy for his whole life.

The book will contain lots of full-page photos depicting Sounders related interactions around the community, not just in the stadium or at games but from bars and events. The book will contain quotes, memories, and a few short essays, but will mainly be driven by the photos. They are looking for the community to help them in this effort by offering pictures and stories; anything that reflects the soccer community and its influence on the Sounders and soccer in the region. The best stuff will likely come from a personal perspective, from being at the stadiums to viewing parties to events. We’ll have more to come on how to share those experiences, but get your photos and stories together.

Maya also talked to us a bit about the Rave Foundation and their efforts around equity and access to the game of soccer. How do they influence urban areas and deliver the game to those who can’t afford the youth leagues in the area, similar to what the NBA has done with basketball. They are looking to build tennis court size fields in neighborhoods and areas of the City that are field deserts or which do not have quality places to play that are open and accessible without having to rent the field.  She also mentioned they are planning small-sided, pick-up street soccer events throughout the City.

The last hour of the Council meeting was dedicated to ongoing business, mostly updates regarding progress about the General Manager Vote conversation with the Club.  The previous week, Stephanie Steiner had met with Taylor Graham to discuss several options we had come up with to manage the GM Vote as well as outline concerns expressed by the Alliance which needed to be addressed in conversation with ownereship.  Taylor took back all of the documents after review and the request and will bring them to Adrian Hanauer.

Additionally, all work groups which were present gave updates regarding their tasks:

SG Work Group:  Mark Nesterhoff, Dan Roe, Brendan Vaughn, and Stephanie Steiner held a conference call to outline questions for the Club.

EOY Business Meeting:  Kristina Vaughn was told its too early to discuss the EOY BM – we disagree.  We only have five more regular council meetings before we are at the EOY Business Meeting.  She will revisit the conversation.