Seattle Sounders FC has announced its plans to honor the 40th anniversary of professional soccer in Seattle. Throughout the 2014 MLS regular season, Sounders FC will pay tribute to the original launch of the Sounders in the North American Soccer League in 1974. The year-long celebration was developed in partnership with the Alliance Council. The ceremonial 40th anniversary match will be October 10 vs. Vancouver.
"We are honored to celebrate the rich and storied tradition of soccer in Seattle," said Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer. "The Sounders have been a fabric of this community for four decades and we will pay tribute to its history and our fans all season long."
Sounders FC has unveiled its 40th anniversary logo, which will be featured on the club's third kit. In addition, the logo will be placed on the Rave Green kit for Seattle's season opener against Sporting Kansas City on March 8, and will also be on the kit for the team's full bowl matches and games against San Jose. In total, the 40th anniversary logo will be on the team's kit for eight regular-season matches.
Sounders FC will carry 40th anniversary merchandise at the Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field and downtown Seattle. The club will also display a 40th anniversary banner in the Southeast corner of CenturyLink Field throughout the regular season.
Former players and coaches will be honored on match day and with unique online connect throughout the 2014 season.
Professional soccer first came to Seattle in 1974 with the launch of the NASL Sounders. The team played two seasons at Memorial Stadium before moving to the Kingdome, averaging nearly 23,000 in attendance for the ensuing five seasons. The Sounders reached the championship game in 1977 and 1982, and set a league record with 25 wins in 32 matches in 1980.
After the NASL Sounders dissolved in 1983, local teams competed in the Western Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League before the re-launch of the Sounders in the A-League in 1994. The Sounders won back-to-back A-League championships in 1995 and 1996 with current Sounders FC goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann in net. When the A-League became the United Soccer League's First Division in 2004, the Sounders again became champions in 2005 and 2007 under the guidance of current Sounders FC Assistant Coach Brian Schmetzer.
Following the 2008 USL-1 season, the Sounders entered Major League Soccer. Sounders FC made an immediate mark on the country's top professional soccer league, setting attendance records each of the first five seasons while qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs every year. Sounders FC also became the first club in 42 years and fourth club in the 100-year history of the U.S. Open Cup tournament to win the title three consecutive years, securing the trophy from 2009-11.