Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer answers questions about season-ticket sales, camp holdout Julien Baudet, the team's international friendly and more.
In anticipation of Year 3, Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer spoke with The Seattle Times on a number of issues, including season-ticket sales, camp holdout Julien Baudet, the team’s international friendly and more.
Q: Is there are update on when you will announce this season’s international friendly?
Hanauer: “I’m hesitant to say, ‘Yes, we’re very close,’ again. I feel like I’ve said that every week for the last two months. We feel like we’re getting really, really close, but these things are so delicate. There are so many moving parts. We’re hopeful we’re at the very end of getting this thing finalized.”
Q: You traded for Julien Baudet this offseason, but he’s not in camp. What’s his status?
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Hanauer: “We’ve been in continual conversation with Julien’s agent. We’ve given him the green light to look at possibilities overseas. We’ve been very up front about our depth at center back and the fact that we don’t see him currently as a starter for our team. We feel like we’ve got great depth, especially now that we’ve drafted Leo Cruz. I think Julien sees himself as probably a starter in this league, so we wanted to be very honest about the situation. On top of that, we’re extremely stretched from a cap perspective, and there are very realistic expectations that we’ve tried to be up front about in terms of salary. All of those things combined have to date meant that Julien is not coming in and we’re not pressing the issue.”
Q: You’re expecting a minor increase in season-ticket sales. Are you disappointed with that or was it natural to expect they would plateau at some point?
Hanauer: “You always want more, but we’re still growing the roots. We’re still building the base. We’re still expanding the next generation of fans. For us to believe that we could increase the number of season-ticket holders 10,000 per year is not realistic. … A season-ticket base of over 30,000 is good for just about any team in the world.”
Q: Can you confirm a report out that the Hawks Nest will stay closed this season?
Hanauer: “I’m not sure that it’s 100 percent decided, but we’re leaning that way. … Obviously we’re working very closely with Microsoft because that’s a really great piece of (advertising) real estate for them. We would want them to be really happy with what the alternatives are, combined with the fact that we want to make sure the demand is there 100 percent.”
Q: I’ve been receiving some negative feedback regarding the new uniform design. Is that a major concern?
Hanauer: “I remember when we launched the Rave Green uniforms. Everybody hated them, or certainly a loud minority hated them. When we launched the Electricity jerseys a loud minority hated them. If the loud minority turns into the buying and consuming masses, then certainly we, along with Adidas, will have made a mistake.”
• Despite playing an international match for the Democratic Republic of Congo last November, midfielder Steve Zakuani said he is not locked in to playing for his birth country permanently. He could still play for national teams of the United States or England in the future, but hasn’t set a deadline for his decision.
“These days as much as it is a pride decision, it’s also a footballing decision,” said Zakuani. “I have to give myself the best chance of advancing my career.”
• Sounders FC announced it will host a Community Shield match against the Colorado Rapids 7 p.m. March 9 at Qwest Field. Proceeds from the preseason match will benefit charitable partners.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org