SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders made two big announcements at Thursday night’s Alliance Annual Business Meeting at the Paramount Theater, where owners Joe Roth, Adrian Hanauer and general manager Garth Lagerwey were among speakers to address season ticket holders about the future of the club.
The first development concerned the team’s ownership, as Roth announced in his opening remarks that Hanauer would take over the role of majority owner. Roth has served in that capacity since 2007 with Hanauer – who also served as the team’s general manager until the arrival of Lagerwey before the start of this season – holding the title of minority owner.
Roth, a well-known film producer who lives in Los Angeles during the year, told reporters following the meeting that the move has been in the works for six months.
“I’m in the entertainment business; I make movies all the time,” Roth said. “I’m overwhelmed by the movies I’m making in Los Angeles. I thought it would be a really good idea for him to take over.”
The Sounders also notably put to rest any questions surrounding the future of head coach Sigi Schmid, as Lagerwey, Hanauer and Roth all confirmed that Schmid will return to the team next season.
“Let me put something to bed,” Lagerwey said. “Sigi is our coach. Sigi will be our coach. Sigi is my coach.”
When asked afterward, Hanauer and Roth also gave the veteran coach a ringing endorsement. Schmid’s future was briefly a point of speculation after Seattle made another early MLS Cup Playoffs exit, in a Western Conference Semifinal series against FC Dallas in a penalty kick shootout.
“We’re thrilled with Sig. He’s an awesome part of the franchise,” Hanauer said. “Tie 3-3, lose on penalties. A couple of penalties go a little bit differently and we’re preparing for Portland.”
- Get more Seattle news at SoundersFC.com
Roth said the immense hurdles the Sounders had to face this season, which included a rash of injuries, international call-ups and suspensions, gave him no doubt that Schmid deserves another go.
“It was a very, very difficult year to coach this team given all the injuries and ups-and-downs,” Roth said. “I thought he did a great job.”
Lagerwey also briefly addressed the recent trade rumors surrounding star midfielder Ozzie Alonso, saying only that his duty as a GM is to at least listen to any deal that he thinks could improve the team.