The only fans in North American professional sports that have the opportunity to vote to keep their club's general manager made their voices heard on Tuesday.
A resounding majority of 87.3 percent of Seattle Sounders FC Alliance members voted to retain current Sounders GM and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey for the next four years.
A total of 37.2 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot. According to Alliance bylaws, participation from 40 percent of eligible Alliance members is required for the final GM vote to be considered valid.
"It is an honor and a privilege to have been appointed, and now to be elected, to serve as a steward of this legendary franchise," Lagerwey said in a club statement. "I want to express my gratitude to the fans for giving us this commanding mandate to continue on the path we have charted to date. My thanks to our ownership for their financial commitment to this club and support of our team. I also wish to express gratitude to all the players and staff, without whom none of this is possible. It is my pleasure to lead the Sounders for four more years."
Lagerwey has been at the helm of the Sounders since the 2015 season and under his direction they advanced to two consecutive MLS Cup finals (2016 & 2017), winning the 2016 edition. Seattle also continued its streak of consecutive playoff appearances with a 10th trip to the postseason in 2018.
"Although we fell just short of the 40-percent threshold needed for a valid vote, we've heard a clear message from Alliance members about their confidence in the direction of our organization, and the body of work that Garth has put together over the past four seasons," Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer said in the club statement. "More than anything, we believe the General Manager Vote remains essential to Democracy in Sports, ensuring that fans always have a say on the organization's course, no matter who is in charge at the time."
The GM vote, which takes place in the fourth year of any Sounders' GM tenure, has existed since the club's inception in 2009. It was championed by club co-owner Drew Carey, who stated that he would not have joined the club's ownership group were it not for the institution of the GM vote.
The first vote occurred in 2012 when then GM Adrian Hanauer was retained with the backing of 96.3 percent of the vote. This year's GM vote -- ballots submitted online or in person at home matches played at CenturyLink Field -- opened on September 19 and ran through October 17.
Lagerwey's Seattle team has just come off the most successful second half of a regular season by any MLS team in history (14W-2L-1D), despite suffering elimination at the hands of the rival Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
He has been responsible for the signing of current Designated Players Nicolas Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz, while doubling the Homegrown players signed by the Sounders and signing seven players from the club's USL affiliate.
The Sounders academy has also won major titles recently, including the 2018 U-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy championship, the 2018 Generation adidas Cup and a third-place finish in the 2017 U-19 U.S. Soccer Development Academy championship.