TUKWILA, Wash. – Garth Lagerwey would like to extinguish any rumors linking him to Chicago Fire FC.
The Seattle Sounders general manager is coming off his second MLS Cup title since arriving from Real Salt Lake in 2015, and leading up the championship game, he was quoted in a Sports Illustrated interview with Grant Wahl as saying he might one day be interested in taking on the challenge of running both the soccer and business operations for a club, like a few other GMs around the league.
Naturally, a name that came up was the Fire, a franchise in transition that could make for an interesting rebuild challenge, and happens to be located in Lagerwey’s hometown. Speaking to reporters at Seattle’s end-of-season media availability on Wednesday, however, Lagerwey quelled the speculation, saying that his family is happy in Seattle and he feels like he still has some unfinished business in the Pacific Northwest.
“Let me try to answer this question holistically,” Lagerwey said. “The dynasty thing, we’ve won two titles in four years, it’s not a dynasty for me, we have more to do. We’re going to try and go win [Concacaf] Champions League – I think there are very clear and obvious short and long-term goals.
“But just to address this, there’s been stuff out there, my family is really happy here,” he added. “My three young boys went to go get haircuts yesterday and my five-year-old took with him a picture of Jordan Morris and he said he wanted to get his hair cut like Jordan Morris. … My 8-year-old has a soccer ball signed by Stef Frei and it’s his most prized possession in the world. Those are things that are really important and will always be really important to me.”
Lagerwey also said he’s friends with current Chicago president and GM Nelson Rodriguez and that it would be “unethical and irresponsible” for him to add any fuel to the Fire rumors. While Lagerwey said he’s still intrigued by the idea of running the full operations for a club down the road, he added that he feels there are still ways to expand his horizons and broaden his skill set in Seattle.
“With respect to the Chicago thing, just to tackle that head-on, Nelson Rodriguez is my friend,” he said. “He’s a guy who was a mentor to me when I was at the beginning of my career. …Nelson’s a good person, he does a great job there and that’s his thing.
“Long-term, at some point, would I love to run a club, as I said in the article with Grant Wahl? Yeah," he continued. "I think any person who accomplishes a lot, is ambitious and wants to move forward and wants to continue to grow and continue to learn – I think there’s a lot of ways to do that here.”