Sounders FC

Sounders coach returns, ownership changes

Sigi Schmid will remain coach of the Seattle Sounders, but there has been a change in team ownership.

In separate announcements Thursday at the annual Alliance Council business meeting, general manager Garth Lagerwey clarified that Schmid will return for his eighth season as the only coach the MLS club has had.

“Let me put something to bed: Sigi is our coach,” Lagerwey said. “Sigi will be our coach. Sigi is my coach.”

Schmid was in the audience at the Paramount Theatre, where the announcement was greeted with applause.

Earlier in the meeting, Hollywood producer Joe Roth, the club’s primary owner since its entry into MLS in 2008, introduced longtime minority owner Adrian Hanauer as the new majority owner. Neither man actually owns more than 50 percent of the club. Hanauer said the deal isn’t yet complete.

Roth will remain an owner while saying he believes it was time to pass the baton of majority ownership to Seattle-based Hanauer. Hanauer said the men’s roles and relationships won’t change significantly.

Even before the coaching announcement, Roth had praised Schmid, saying: “I actually think our coach did one of his best coaching jobs this year, because I probably would have hanged myself.”

The meeting was held four days after the Sounders’ seventh season ended in the Western Conference semifinal round at FC Dallas. Roth called this his most torturous season as an owner. Hanauer assured Sounders fans that the front office shares their pain at another season ending short of MLS Cup.

Roth also said he believes the club needs to get “younger and faster,” although apparently meaning mostly the role players surrounding the veteran stars.

Responding to a direct question about rumors that popular midfielder Osvaldo Alonso might be traded, Lagerwey simply said that it was his duty to listen to all deals that might improve the team.

In addition, the Sounders will introduce new primary and third kits for 2016, and there will be new turf at CenturyLink Field in time for the debut, a CCL match with Club America, which will be part of the season-ticket package.

The Alliance, the vision of minority owner Drew Carey, exists to give fans a direct voice in the decision-making process of the team. Carey was unable to attend the Thursday meeting, but sent video regrets.