Who are Seattle Sounders?

  • Hammers to face Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Tuesday 5 July
  • Sounders were founded in 2007 – becoming the third football club with the same name
  • Based in Washington State, the Sounders are the best-supported team in Major League Soccer
In 1974, a professional football club called Seattle Sounders was founded, initially playing outdoors at the Memorial Stadium before moving to the indoor Kingdome in 1976.

That same year, the pre-season visit of a New York Cosmos team featuring Pele drew a sell-out crowd of 58,128 to the Kingdome – an illustration how popular ‘soccer’ was, and remains, in the Pacific Northwest.

The original Sounders attracted big names to the city themselves, with Wales defender Mike England later being joined by West Ham United and England legends Geoff Hurst in 1976 and, two years later, Bobby Moore.

During that period, the Sounders regularly challenged at the top of the Western Division, winning the National Conference in 1980 and overall Western Division title in 1982 – both outdoors.

The original Sounders folded in 1983, and the following year the league itself – which had run for the final 14 years under the guidance of Commissioner and former Hammer Phil Woosnam – ceased operations.
Ten years later, in 1994, a second Seattle Sounders club was founded and played in the United Soccer League (USL) A-League/First Division – the second tier of the pyramid in the United States.

The new club played at Qwest Field – now named CenturyLink Field and home to the modern-day Sounders – for 13 of its 14 seasons in existence.

Like their predecessors, the second Sounders enjoyed success, winning four League Cups and five regular season titles, while also lifting the overall championship on four occasions. During that period, the club also produced future Fulham and United States goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann and fellow international striker Brian Ching.

However, attendances were relatively low, averaging between 2,000 and 3,500 for much of the club’s existence, while attempts to become an MLS expansion team were thwarted by a reported lack of investment.
In 2007, however, the club’s ownership was awarded an expansion club by the MLS, providing a return of top-level football to the city for the first time since 1983.

The new franchise, complete with new colours and crest, was officially unveiled in April 2008 and, since then, the club has gone from strength to strength.

With the continued growth in ‘soccer’ in North America and, in particular, the Pacific Northwest region that also boats the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps MLS clubs, the Sounders have attracted huge support.

Under German head coach Sigi Schmid and boasting a star-studded squad that has featured former Hammer Freddie Ljungberg, former US and Premier League goalkeeper Kasey Keller and Colombia forward Fredy Montero, the Sounders have won the US Open Cup four times and reached the finals of the MLS Cup – the domestic league play-off – on two occasions.

That success has caught the imagination of fans, who have helped attendances at CenturyLink Field regularly top the 40,000-mark, with a high of 67,385 for the derby visit of Portland Timbers in August 2013.