Seattle Sounders (1994–2008)

The Seattle Sounders were an American professional soccer team founded in 1994 as a member of the American Professional Soccer League. In 1997, the team became a member of the USL First Division, the second tier of the United States soccer pyramid, until 2008, after which the majority of the team's staff and resources were directed to the new Major League Soccer franchise, Seattle Sounders FC.

Seattle Sounders
Full nameSeattle Sounders
Dissolved2008 (MLS 2009)
GroundStarfire Sports Complex
ChairmanAdrian Hanauer
ManagerBrian Schmetzer
LeagueUSL First Division

They played their last season at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington, having previously played for many years at Qwest Field (now CenturyLink Field). The team was last coached by Brian Schmetzer. The team's colors were blue and white. The team had a sister organization, the Seattle Sounders Women, who played in the women's USL W-League.


The club was founded in 1994 and named after the original Seattle Sounders soccer team, which played from 1974 to 1983 in the North American Soccer League.

The A-League/USL-1 Sounders have four championships to their credit, winning the league cup in 1995, 1996, 2005, and 2007. Seattle finished with the best regular season record in the league in 1994, 2002, and 2007. The Sounders have numerous division titles and advanced to the league finals in both 2004 and 2005. In 2004 the Sounders lost the championship 2–0 at Montreal. In 2005 Seattle drew the Richmond Kickers 1–1 at Qwest Field before claiming the championship 4–3 in penalty kicks. In 2007, the Sounders defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks 4–0 to claim their fourth championship title.

The Sounders formed a partnership with the German side Werder Bremen in 1998 due to Sounders USL-PDL player Andrew Dallman's involvement with the German side via US indoor soccer legends Fernando Clavijo, Raffaele Ruotolo, and Jean Willrich.

The Sounders formed a partnership with English side Cambridge United in 2006 due to Adrian Hanauer's involvement with both clubs.

In 2006, the Sounders considered a move to the Kitsap County Faigrounds in Bremerton, one of Seattle's western suburbs in Kitsap County, at a new soccer-specific stadium that would be smaller than Qwest Field.[1] A 6,500-seat stadium was proposed again in 2007 as the home of a possible Major League Soccer franchise.[2]

MLS expansion

On November 13, 2007, Major League Soccer (MLS) announced that it had selected Seattle as the recipient of an expansion team that would begin play at Qwest Field in 2009. USL Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer would become one of the team's owners, along with Drew Carey, Paul Allen and majority owner Joe Roth.[3]

The team's name, Seattle Sounders FC, was unveiled on April 7, 2008, continuing the Sounders name into MLS. The USL team would play their last season in 2008.[3][4]


Year League Reg. Season Playoffs US Open Cup Avg. Attendance
1994 APSL 1st Semifinals Did not enter 6,347
1995 A-League 2nd Champion Semifinals 4,571
1996 A-League 3rd Champion Quarterfinals 3,750
1997 USISL A-League 2nd, Pacific Division Finals Did not qualify 2,873
1998 USISL A-League 2nd, Pacific Conference Semifinals Did not qualify 2,902
1999 USL A-League 3rd, Pacific Conference Semifinals 3rd Round 2,243
2000 USL A-League 1st, Pacific Conference Semifinals 2nd Round 2,143
2001 USL A-League 5th, Western Did not qualify 2nd Round 1,885
2002 USL A-League 1st, Pacific Conference Semifinals 3rd Round 4,087
2003 USL A-League 1st, Pacific Conference Finals Quarterfinals 3,357
2004 USL A-League 4th, Western Final Did not qualify 2,874
2005 USL First Division 4th Champion 3rd Round 2,885
2006 USL First Division 7th Did not qualify 3rd Round 3,693
2007 USL First Division 1st Champion Semifinals 3,396
2008 USL First Division 5th Quarterfinals Semifinals 3,386


Team honors

League Championship

  • Winner (4): 1995, 1996, 2005, 2007
  • Runner-up (1): 2004

Commissioner's Cup (Top of the Regular Season Table)

  • Winner (3): 1994, 2002, 2007

Pacific Division Champion

  • Winner (3): 2000, 2002, 2003
  • Runner-up (2): 1997, 1998

Western Conference Champion

  • Winner (1): 2004

Cascadia Cup

  • Winner (2): 2006, 2007

Individual player honors


Leading scorer

Goalkeeper of the Year

Defender of the Year

Coach of the Year

Rookie of the Year

First team All Star

Head coaches


The Sounders had played at Qwest Field full-time since 2003. The Sounders played the first-ever sporting event at the stadium on July 28, 2002 before 25,515 fans. Before this facility was built, the team played at Memorial Stadium. When the second generation Sounders first formed in 1994, they also played a few home matches at the Tacoma Dome. After opening the 2008 season May 10 at Qwest Field, the Sounders played their remaining 14 league home contests at Starfire Sports Complex.

Rival clubs

The Seattle Sounders had two bitter rivals – the Portland Timbers to the south and the Vancouver Whitecaps to the north. These three teams competed in the yearly Cascadia Cup, which is now contested by the teams' MLS successors. The Sounders won the trophy in 2006 and 2007.


The original Seattle Sounders were supported by the Seattle Sounders Booster Club in the 1970s and early 1980s. When the second club was formed in 1994, another supporters group started called "The Pod", honoring the club's Orca whale mascot. In 2005, after the earlier group went moribund, the Emerald City Supporters were born. They drafted the motto No Equal that same season as the club won the USL-1 title. In 2007, a social group called the Sounders Legion was started.


  1. Massey, Matt (March 24, 2006). "Sounders consider move to Kitsap Co". The Seattle Times. p. C7.
  2. Stark, Chuck (October 24, 2007). "The Kitsap Sounders?". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  3. Drosendahl, Glenn (February 20, 2015). "Seattle gets Major League Soccer franchise on November 13, 2007". HistoryLink. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  4. Massey, Matt (April 18, 2008). "Sounders open 2008 USL season, eye MLS in 2009". The Seattle Times. p. C3. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
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