Seattle Sounders FC announced today the launch of Sounders FC 2, a USL PRO team that will begin operations in 2015 at Starfire Sports. The team, known as S2, will operate under the management of Sounders FC and the Sounders Community Trust, an unprecedented, fan-owned organization that will hold a 20-percent interest in the team.
With an emphasis on development and community, Sounders FC 2 will provide a consistent and competitive professional environment for promising Academy players and certain First Team players to develop, as well as extend club access to supporters and increase opportunities to be involved with the organization.
“We are proud to announce the formation of S2 and complete the player development program that starts with our Academy and ends with the Sounders FC First Team,” said Sounders FC Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer. “The partnership with the Sounders Community Trust supports the club’s vision for a fan-involved sports organization that deeply values the input and perspective of its supporters.”
The club is also announcing the appointment of Andrew Opatkiewicz as Sounders FC 2 General Manager. Opatkiewicz has a decade of sports industry experience, with a targeted focus in professional soccer, including a background with Intersport, Stats LLC, Prozone Sports and former USL Premier Development League side Seattle Wolves FC.
S2 will base its operations out of Starfire Sports in Tukwila and play USL PRO regular-season games at Starfire Stadium.
“I am excited for the 2015 season at Starfire. Sounders FC has a strong Academy and deep First Team roster, so the club will benefit from the additional competitive matches,” said Opatkiewicz. “Over time I think this move will prove very important to the development of world-class First Team players from the Puget Sound. We also have the opportunity to do something unique by working with the Sounders Community Trust to involve our community in the management of this team, and Emerald City Supporters and other supporters to create an authentic and exciting atmosphere on match day.”
The first organization of its kind in MLS, the Sounders Community Trust is a charitable, fan and supporter-managed, non-profit organization that is being formed to assume a 20-percent interest of Sounders FC 2. The Trust will elect one representative to sit on the Second Team Executive Board with the purpose of both influencing and supporting the direction of Sounders FC through S2, as well as helping support access to soccer in the community.
As part of the launch of the Second Team, Sounders FC have created a Founders Club, which will partner with the Sounders Community Trust to provide members with various benefits, including Sounders Community Trust membership and full voting rights, discounted Second Team season tickets, in addition to access to exclusive events with players and staff.
“From day one, Sounders FC has embraced the storied history of soccer culture in Seattle and has been progressive about involving supporters with the club,” said Sounders Community Trust Chairman Paul Cox. “The formation of the Sounders Community Trust is the next step in that process, and represents a deeper connection to the sport in our community.”