This is the beginning of a new era. This is where we begin to let people know of our wish. A wish to give only the best to the best in MLS. A wish for a world class pitch for our beloved team that we support to the bitter end. A simple wish for grass. It begins today. January 11, 2012.
We are honored to be supporters of our beloved Sounders. We have been lucky and privileged to be a part of something special these last few years. All supporters of the Sounders have a right to be proud of what has been accomplished. There is one issue however that we believe would make the Sounders a truly world class organization. World class clubs, and traditionalists believe that the game should be played on natural grass. We agree, and this is our effort to make that dream come true. We would like to present the facts and let you make up your own mind. We are open to discussion, differing opinions, and opposing viewpoints. Below you will see the facts as we see it. Feel free to research the effort, and look into the links that have been provided on the documents and links page. If you choose to help support this effort we appreciate the support and welcome your input. If you disagree, you are entitled to your opinion and we will respectfully disagree.
Attached below is information on the vote for approval of Seahawks Stadium in 1997. It was rumored that once Mike Holmgren liked the turf at Husky Stadium that he and Seahawks management pushed for approval of FieldTurf. It was rumored that Holmgren preferred FieldTurf even though the vote was for a grass surface. The vote likely would have failed if not for the effort of the soccer voters. The problem is.................we were promised grass. Unfortunately for the soccer voters we didn't get grass. Research the issue............the promise was made. We are now back. And we expect the next surface after the Huskies leave to be grass. It is our right, it is the right thing to do, and when the vote was taken for approval of Seahawks Stadium the voters were voting for a playing surface that was natural grass. An alternate surface was not mentioned in the 1997 voters pamphlet for referendum 48. It is the expectation of the voters that grass will be installed once the replacement FieldTurf wears out yet again. The stadium was designed to support a natural grass surface. Stating that it is too complicated and that it wouldn't work for dual use is difficult to defend. The vote was for a dual use surface, and the stadium was designed to support a dual use surface.
A disservice to the soccer community took place on September 26, 2001. On this date the Washington State Public Stadium Authority approved FieldTurf over natural grass. We are quite aware that this topic has been discussed at length within the current soccer community, and some might consider the topic tiresome and old. However we, the voters believe the time has come for action on this issue, and we believe we have valid reasons as to why it's time for action. We would encourage you to read on, as we believe that continued inaction will be detrimental to the club as well as the supporters. It is of critical importance to note that the public owns the stadium.
Player acquisition can be considered the foundation of having a successful club on the pitch. With that being said, a valid question must be asked. Has the club failed to improve due to potential impact players not wanting to play on FieldTurf? Could the Sounders sign better quality players if there was a natural grass surface at CenturyLink? There are players such as Thierry Henry that will not sign with a club that has FieldTurf. There is definitely a percentage of players that share his viewpoint. If the club has not lost out on potential impact players and signings (Prince Tagoe?) it most certainly will in the future. The club that we support currently has a disadvantage as many top flight and world class players love grass.
Published reports have stated that the next installation of a new surface at the stadium will be FieldTurf. This has now been announced. While we obviously would prefer a grass surface or a FIFA approved hybrid, we do understand that the Huskies will be playing on the surface next year. We are not without reason, and understand that FieldTurf in this instance probably cannot be avoided. We are more concerned with the replacement surface that comes after this next installation of FieldTurf. After the Huskies are done at the stadium a FIFA approved natural grass surface or hybrid should be installed as quickly as possible. There are currently 19 NFL teams that play on grass or a grass hybrid. This change would have little to no effect on the Seahawks, but would help the Seattle Sounders become a world class team. Can the Sounders realistically ever be a world class club when they play on a pitch that FIFA gives "recreational" status? While the new FieldTurf will obviously receive a good rating, how long will it last? This year the Huskies, Seahawks, and Sounders will be playing on it. The new surface might be good for a couple of years at best.
The Washington State Public Stadium Authority and First and Goal had a plan for a dual use surface. The decision to install FieldTurf was not made until 2001. The voters approved referendum 48 in 1997. The referendum stated that there was a plan to maintain and operate a natural grass surface for both sports.
Behind every difficult task there are difficult decisions to be made. This will be a hard fought battle. You have decided to read this document. It is our hope that you at least consider and contemplate what the voters approved in 1997. What is truly fair and just to the soccer voter?
Upon looking at the process of how the stadium was presented to the voters we can find a few useful facts: The stadium was presented in referendum 48 as a stadium with a natural grass surface. The Washington State Public Stadium Authority was prepared to have a dual use grass surface that could be maintained for both soccer and football. Paul Allen went to great effort to get the vote of soccer voters for his proposed stadium with a grass surface. The referendum that the voters approved had a yes vote of only 50.8. Without the support of the soccer community the referendum would have likely failed. Yet we have a field surface that likely excludes a percentage of world class talent that would improve the Sounders. Sounders management has publicly stated that they are "exploring all options". We feel that this is not the case. Grass can be installed, it's simply a case of overcoming the public relations misrepresentation by management, and getting a grass roots effort underway to accomplish this mission. There is no legitimate reason as to why grass cannot be installed. We are optimistic about the future, and we appreciate the ongoing and increasing support in support of this issue.
Sounder supporters need to look at the Washington State Public Stadium Authority and what is required of them by the voter approved referendum 48. The PSA is required to "represent the public's interest in owning CenturyLink Field & Event Center and overseeing First & Goal Inc.'s operation of the facility for the benefit of all Washington state citizens." If the soccer supporting fan base and more importantly world class talent, is dissatisfied with a pitch that FIFA does not sanction, wouldn't that be a dissatisfying factor? An additional requirement First & Goal is required to make is to attract international sports. If international talent is refusing to play at the stadium due to FieldTurf, are we truly attracting international sports, or are we turning it away? Our governor appoints the members of the PSA. We invite those that support grass to bring this issue to the attention of your local politicians. United and together we can and will make progress.
Can we cooperate together and get this done? It will take a united front. We've decided that the debate has raged on long enough. It's been beaten to death and rehashed over and over. We've heard many times.........."Well when is somebody going to do something about it?". Now is that time.
While it's understandable that opinions differ, and there are opposing viewpoints, we believe that the installation of grass would benefit our club, it's players, and the soccer supporters. Sounders FC could become a global force and attraction. Obtaining competitive talent is difficult enough. When the talent that the front office is trying to sign prefers grass, the club and the soccer supporting voters lose out.
The supporters for our club must make a decision and take a leadership role if any reasonable action is to take place. Continued complaining and debate is unacceptable, unwarranted, and unproductive. It's time for a decision one way or another. Within the supporter community we the voters know that you have webmasters, lawyers, political contacts, public speakers, and more then anything else.......extremely passionate fans that desire to see our club raise trophies. You have the resources and the passion to make a difference. Can we raise trophies when the talent that is required to do so refuses to play for us because of a field surface that the soccer voters don't want, and does not approve of? We are Washington State citizens, and we do not approve of a surface that we were not given a chance to vote on. It is our intention to give this important task to you the supporters, and we hope you will join and help this effort. You have the passion and the resources to make a difference. We the voters believe that the leaders of the Sounders community can make a difference and get this done.
As passionate supporters we have no doubt that grass would improve our club. We believe that FieldTurf is a detriment to raising trophies. Like us or love us, we are now here and we'd appreciate your support. Perhaps we are a bit idealistic and pushy. However the grass vs. turf battle has been discussed too long. A half effort won't accomplish the mission. So if the effort is to be made.......it must be a united 100% effort.
Thank you for reading and we hope that you can do what you can to help the cause.