Sounders Insider

GM wants "super-competitive" PDL team in Pierce

Here's some of what Hanauer had to say:

On why the move was made:I think we’ll certainly know more over time as it evolves. But the intent is to help to fill one of the gaps in development that we thought we had at this time, which is most importantly for us to bring some of our academy graduates who are now in university back for the summer so we can observe them, if it makes sense maybe bring them in to train a day or two or maybe longer with the first team, but to just keep tabs on those players. Secondarily, there’s certainly the potential that a player who doesn’t make our team here can stay in the area and continue to train and get games with a good PDL organization and, again, allow us to keep tabs on them.

On if it will remain an amateur team: Yes, but there are lots of camps and things like that. So there are ways to get a guy a little bit of work and a few bucks in his pocket. But yeah, it’s an amateaur team.

On why Tacoma was chosen over other PDL clubs in the area: We certainly have great relationship with the guys over at Crossfire and the PDL team they’re running. I think the evolution of this is that the new owners of the PDL team in Tacoma, we have a licensing agreement with them … to run the women’s team as a Sounders team. They approached us with this idea, which made a lot of sense to work with them on both of these teams. I think there’s another benefit, which is the potential to continue to build interest in Pierce County and the Sounders in general. And I think playing games down there with some hopefully future stars maybe brings some fans out in Pierce County to see the team.

On who has control of the U23 team roster: It’s still a work in progress. Obviously Darrin (Sawatsky ... Sounders FC director of youth development and newly named Sounders U-23s coach) is an important part of our organization, running our youth development. He’ll have a significant role in the roster makeup, but we’re not going to be dictatorial about who needs to be on the team and who doesn’t. We want a high-quality team that’s super-competitive, and I think the owners of the team want the same and want to see players develop as well. And the roster is also somewhat dictated by the rules that only allow a certain number of players over 23 (years old) on the roster.

On whether these kinds of affiliations will spread through MLS: I think it’s a market by market. Teams will just sort of do as they see fit to continue development. I don’t know that this is the right answer. We’ll test it out for a couple of years, see if it really is added to development, doing what we hope that it does, but I think U.S. soccer development is in the second inning in the U.S., and I think it’s going to develop over time.