By John Boyle
One of the many unique elements of Sounders FC (at least by American sports standards) is that from the franchise’s inception, the plan was to let season ticket holders and Sounders FC Alliance members vote whether or not the team’s general manager would keep his job after four years.
Well Adrian Hanauer’s four years are up, and not at all surprisingly given the club’s success, fans voted overwhelmingly to keep him in charge. Of the 13,775 people who voted, 13,271 voting to retain Hanauer. Of course had Hanauer lost, he wasn’t going anywhere, but rather he would have helped find his replacement in his role of Sounders FC minority owner.
Hanauer’s overwhelming support from the Sounders fan base (anybody think Jack Zduriencik would get an approval rating of more than 96 percent from Mariners fans these days?) speaks to just how successful the club has been since its inaugural season in 2009. Seattle has made the playoffs all four seasons, won three US Open Cups (it lost in the final this year to miss out on four straight) and smashed league attendance records every year.
“Our fans are very passionate,” majority owner Joe Roth said in a press release. “We offered season ticket holders and Alliance members an opportunity to participate in this unprecedented vote and their voice has been heard.”
And Hanauer will have plenty of work to do this offseason as he begins his second term, so to speak. Already Seattle, which is very cap constrained according to Hanauer, made a tough decision to trade its best (and highest paid) defender, Jeff Parke, to Philadelphia. And on Thursday night, the club announced the re-signing of two other defenders, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni. With Parke gone, those two figure to be the team’s top two center backs barring an offseason addition at that position, though Andrew Duran, the team’s first-round pick in 2012, could also figure into that mix.
“We are very excited about bringing back Patrick and Jhon again next season,” said coach Sigi Schmid said in a release. “Both players have been with us since the start and it was important for us to keep continuity and consistency along a successful back line.”
The 28-year old Hurtado, 28 has been with the team dating back to its expansion season and was an all star that year. His 81 regular-season appearances ranks sixth in team history. He started 20 regular season games, third most among defenders.
Ianni, 27, came to Seattle in 2009 via a trade with Houston. He started 15 games this season, and he made his only goal of the year count, earning MLS Goal of the Year for the side-volley he scored off a corner kick against Kansas City.