Sounders Insider

Seattle Sounders FC and the Puget Sound soccer scene

Archives: Nov. 2011


Farewell, Arlo; you’ll be missed riDQlessly

Sometimes, it’s not politics. Sometimes, it’s not who you know, but what you know. Sometimes hard work is rewarded.

That was the case today when NBC made the brilliant personnel decision of hiring voice-of-the-Sounders Arlo White as NBC Sports Groups play-by-play voice of MLS.

I’m sure to some degree the news will be viewed as bittersweet locally, where Sounders fans will miss Arlo’s familiar voice calling Sounders games and praising Dairy Queen treats. But it’s a great personal reward for Arlo who grew up on the EPL but made it his business to learn MLS as well as just about anyone. And to whatever degree, it seems like a good thing for soccer in this country, so have so personable and knowledgeable ambassador of the game handling the broadcasts for NBC.

It’s almost hard to remember now, but Arlo wasn’t the original Sounders play-by-play guy. He came in for the second season, replacing Kevin Calabro — the best basketball announcer I’ve ever heard, but probably a little further down the list when it came to soccer. And while it was obvious that White knew plenty about soccer, it remained to be seen how the idea of an English import would work out in Puget Sounder. I rechecked my notes and found some of that uncertainty reflected in this original interview I did with White, when he was first introduced as the new voice of the Sounders:

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Q&A with departing Sounders voice Arlo White

I got a few minutes with Arlo White this morning, talking with him about his two seasons as voice of the Sounders and today’s news that he will become the voice of NBC’s coverage of Major League Soccer.

Q: Congratulations on the new job with NBC:
It’s such a great opportunity I just couldn’t turn it down. It’s going to be great for the career, and also I stay on the radar: I’ll still be in MLS, so I’ll be visiting plenty, hopefully.

Q: And this is a full-time gig, no more Sounders work at all?

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Sounders voice Arlo White leaving for MLS on NBC

The official news moved this morning

Here’s part of what Arlo tweeted aboout the move:

Hi every1. Speculation can end. I have accepted the job as lead Soccer announcer for NBC Sports. It’s a tremendous opportunity for me …
I’m proud & honoured to have been chosen for the role. It’s so exciting for #mls & US Soccer. I can’t wait to get started in the 2012 season

Here’s the release from NBC Sports:

Arlo White will serve as the play-by-play voice for NBC Sports Group’s coverage of Major League Soccer (MLS), starting with the first broadcast on NBC Sports Network on March 11, 2012, it was announced today.

“Arlo is one of the top voices calling soccer today in the U.S., and we are very excited to have him be the lead play-by-play announcer to launch our new agreement with Major League Soccer,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “I also want to sincerely thank the Seattle Sounders FC ownership for making Arlo available, so he can be the MLS voice for the NBC Sports Group to a national audience.”

White, who spent the last two years as the play-by-play voice for the Seattle Sounders FC of MLS on television and radio, is a native of England. He previously spent nine years with BBC Radio Sport in England where he was part of the BBC Radio 5-Live announcing team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. White also served as a host on BBC Radio 5 Live and hosted the station’s flagship Premier League Football show, Saturday 5 Live Sport, as well as the Monday Night Club alongside BBC football commentator John Motson.

“It is a tremendous honor for me to join the NBC Sports Group, an organization that I have revered from afar for many years,” said White. “I am extremely passionate about the future of Major League Soccer, and this partnership with NBC will provide a huge boost for the sport in the United States. I am very proud to have been called up to play a major role in it.

“I am indebted to the Seattle Sounders FC and the club’s wonderful fans,” White added. “Joe Roth and Adrian Hanauer provided me with an opportunity for which I will always be grateful. It was a privilege to serve as the voice of the Sounders, and I thank the supporters for giving me such a warm welcome.”
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Sounders decline options on Jaqua, Noonan, Boss, Graham

Sounders FC has declined its options on four players: goalkeeper Terry Boss, defender Taylor Graham, and forwards Nate Jaqua and Pat Noonan. The names were released as part of the MLS process for the two-stage re-entry draft next month.

Any of these players still could re-sign with the Sounders, although presumably at a lower salary.

Boss however, has written on his Facebook account that he intends to retire due to the series of concussions he has suffered. That is a change from his status when the Sounders decided to shut him down to the end of the 2011 season.

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Sounders’ 2012 MLS home opener will be March 10

Sounders FC will open its MLS season at home for the fourth consecutive season. The Sounders will kick off the new season on March 10 at CenturyLink Field against an opponent to be named.

Here’s some information from the club:

Sounders FC will open the MLS season at home for the fourth consecutive year. Seattle hosted the league’s first match of the previous three seasons, and the 2012 opener will be the club’s earliest in MLS and the first time the Rave Green will open on a weekend.

Prior to the MLS opener, Seattle will host Mexico’s Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals on March 7 on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. The second leg will be played on March 14 in Torreon, Mexico.

Ticket information is available at

Meanwhile, here is a roundup of MLS home openers from

Just a week or so has passed since the 2011 MLS Cup, which means it’s already time to start thinking about the 2012 season.

On Tuesday, MLS announced the dates for the 2012 home openers, including the dates for the Montreal Impact’s home debut and the inaugural match at the Houston Dynamo’s new stadium.

WEEK 1 (First Kick presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods)
•Saturday, March 10:
Colorado Rapids, D.C. United, LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC
•Sunday, March 11: Chivas USA, FC Dallas
•Monday, March 12: Portland Timbers

WEEK 2 Read more »


Alliance constitution and charter goes to vote

This just in from the club:

The Seattle Sounders FC and Alliance Council, comprised of Sounders FC member representatives, have approved a constitution and charter and now invite all season-ticket holders and Alliance members to submit a vote to approve. The documents and voting information are available at

The online voting will begin on Monday, November 28 at 3 p.m. (PT) and conclude on Monday, December 12 at 11:59 p.m. (PT). Similar to previous votes, there is one vote per season-ticket account.

The charter and constitution will be ratified if approved by at least a two-thirds majority of all legal votes cast by Alliance members.

The Alliance Council and representatives from the front office recognized the need for a governing document that outlines the rights, responsibilities and powers of the fans, the organization, the community, and the relationships between one another. The Alliance Council drafted the documentation which has been approved by the organization.

Highlights from the Sounders FC Alliance Constitution include:
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New striped Columbus kit joins iconic yellow

The Columbus Crew today unveiled new jersey designs for next season.

The Crew’s bright yellow primary kit has become iconic in MLS, however to my taste their secondary kit never quite felt right. I think this one with the yellow and black striping on the shoulders and upper chest is a good look. And because the Crew yellow and Sounders rave are generally close enough, these secondaries are probably what the Crew would wear at CenturyLink … if the new unbalanced schedule has Columbus visiting Seattle this season.

Here’s more from the Crew website.


Three questions at close of Sounders’ third season

Q: Was the Sounders’ third season a success?

A: By most definitions it was. The club went 18-7-9, which was the best of their three seasons and second best in MLS this year. They won a third straight U.S. Open Cup. They advanced out of group play in CONCACAF Champions League.

The Sounders did it despite the retirement of designated player Blaise Nkufo – remember him? – and almost season-long injuries to Steve Zakuani and O’Brian White. The club compensated by signing Mauro Rosales and developing Lamar Neagle.

They also built on their MLS-record attendance for the third straight season, this time drawing an average of 38,496 per home game. On Oct. 15, they set a club record for a regular-season game as 64,140 turned out to honor Kasey Keller. On Nov. 2, they set a club record for a playoff game when 36,021 showed up to watch what turned out to be the final game of the season.

And that’s about the only way that this season wasn’t a success. In their third straight try, the Sounders again were unable to extend their season beyond the first round.

Making the playoffs seemed quite an achievement in the expansion season, and maybe even the next. But this time around the early exit was a stain. And it will remain so until it is erased by advancing.

Q: Does 2012 figure to be the year that happens? Read more »