Chris Henderson, the Sounders FC vice president of soccer and sporting director, is leaving the club for a similar position with Inter Miami CF, according to multiple reports.
The Sounders didn’t offer comment, but those close to the matter anticipate an official announcement within the week. The Washington Post was first to report the news.
Several reports intimate the lateral move is linked to Henderson’s daughter, a talented soccer player, transferring from Louisville to the University of Central Florida. But what makes Henderson an asset to any Major League Soccer staff is his constant globe trotting to find standout players, like he did with the Sounders pre-pandemic.
Henderson was hired by the Sounders in 2008 and was instrumental in the signings of Nico Lodeiro (Uruguay), Raul Ruidiaz (Peru), Joao Paulo (Brazil), and Yeimar (Colombia). The players helped the club advance to its fourth MLS Cup final in its past five years, losing to the Columbus Crew SC in December. With Henderson working closely with Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey, the club has won two MLS Cups.
The Sounders’ 2021 roster is mostly set after spending majority of the salary cap on Henderson’s finds in Joao Paulo and Yeimar last season, the former is expected to have his renewed transfer agreement announced soon.
Henderson has traveled to more than 170 countries since being hired by the Sounders. In 2019, he told The Seattle Times he filled eight black books front-to-back with scouting notes about players from the previous three years.
Born in Edmonds, Henderson is regarded as the best male soccer player the state of Washington has developed. He starred at Cascade High in Everett where he was named the 1989 Gatorade National Player of the Year. Henderson played for the U.S. national team and is a MLS original (1996-2006), coincidentally making a stop with the Miami Fusion in 2001.
Henderson co-owns the MLS single-game assist record (four assists for Kansas City in 1999) and his 80 regular-season assists is 10th all-time. He finished his career with 51 goals.
According to The Miami Herald, Henderson was a finalist for the Inter Miami spot in 2018. Paul McDonough was named to the position. The club played its debut season last year, finishing the truncated schedule at 7-13-3 for 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
Herons coach and manager Diego Alonso along with McDonough stepped down after the season.
NOTE: The Sounders are expected to announce the new contract agreement for coach Brian Schmetzer. The Nathan Hale alum was named interim coach in 2016 and hired full-time after leading the Sounders to the league championship that season.