Adrian Hanauer

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Sounders add Russell Wilson, Ciara, Macklemore to ownership group

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SEATTLE (AP) The Seattle Sounders are adding Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and recording artist (and wife) Ciara, hip-hop artist Macklemore and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to the MLS club’s ownership group.

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Other investors are also coming aboard while current majority owner Adrian Hanauer is increasing his investment stake in the club. Hollywood producer Joe Roth, who helped bring the MLS to Seattle, is leaving the franchise.

Wilson has been attempting to get into sports ownership. He was previously a partner in an effort to build a new basketball arena in Seattle and has also been part of the project in Portland, Oregon, to build a baseball stadium in the hopes of luring an MLB team to the city.

“When I got here in 2012, Seattle was a place that I felt I could call home forever. And obviously because of the Seahawks, and now because of the Sounders, it makes that really come to life,” Wilson said in a statement. “We’re really excited about building that winning culture. This city is a special place. The Pacific Northwest is a place we love and we get to raise our kids here and have a lot of fun while doing it.”

While the addition of Wilson and Macklemore will grab attention, other new additions to the ownership group have deep ties to Microsoft. Nadella is the most notable, but former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson and his wife, Katie, are the leaders of the new investment group.

“He quickly put together this rock star, literally and figuratively, group of owners and I had known several of them over time and met some new ones, and I guess it was humbling to know how much passion there was, how much connection there was to the club that we all have built together,” Hanauer said. “People were enthusiastic for all the right reasons.”

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In a lengthy post on social media, Myerson described the process of starting to bring new investors together more than a year ago. Pulling together 11 families and finalizing the purchase took longer than anyone expected.

“What motivated so many of us to come together was to make sure the Sounders were owned here in Seattle for our kids and for our community,” Myerson said.

Hanauer previously had a 35 percent stake in the franchise with Roth holding 32.5 percent, Vulcan Sports and Entertainment — headed by the late Paul Allen — holding 25 percent and actor Drew Carey holding 7.5 percent. Hanauer and Carey have upped their investment in the franchise, although Hanauer declined to specify by how much. The new owners have picked up the remainder of Roth’s investment. While the new investors are important, Hanauer made it clear the new structure didn’t immediately mean the club was flush with new money.

“The new money comes in the form of continuing to run a better and better business,” Hanauer said.

Roth spearheaded the effort that led to Seattle being awarded an MLS expansion franchise in 2007. He served as the majority owner for several years before Hanauer took over the majority share. There had been rumblings Roth was looking to sell his share of the franchise.

“When MLS gave me permission to look at the Pacific Northwest to start a soccer franchise, there was no question that Seattle was the place,” Roth said. “The last ten years watching our Sounders grow with their incredible fan support beat any hit movie I ever created.”

La Liga wrap: Bilbao, Villarreal rise; Atleti wins fifth-straight

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
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Three La Liga matches served as an appetizer for Wednesday’s tasty Barcelona-Sevilla encounter, with the Madrid Derby on tap for Saturday at the Bernabeu.

[ BUNDESLIGA: In-form Kramaric tops Bayern ]


Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Espanyol

Aritz Aduriz may play until he’s 50. The 36-year-old Spaniard added his 11th and 12th goals of the season on Tuesday, giving him goals in three-straight matches. Bilbao goes sixth with the win thanks to Real Sociedad’s loss.

Real Betis 0-1 Villarreal

Villarreal also took advantage of Sociedad’s loss, getting a first goal of the season from Adrian to move fifth

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Real Sociedad

Atleti is flying ahead of the weekend’s Madrid Derby, now winners of five-straight after this goal from Filipe Luis to Fernando Torres and back to Luis.

Wednesday’s games

Barcelona vs. Sevilla — 1:30 p.m. EDT
Alaves vs. Osasuna — 2:30 p.m. EDT
Deportivo de la Coruna vs. Granada — 2:30 p.m. EDT
Sporting de Gijon vs. Malaga – 2:30 p.m. EDT
Leganes vs. Real Madrid — 3:30 p.m. EDT

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Real Madrid 28 21 5 2 74 28 46 12-3-0 9-2-2 68
 Barcelona 29 20 6 3 85 26 59 10-3-1 10-3-2 66
 Atlético Madrid 30 18 7 5 55 23 32 11-2-2 7-5-3 61
 Sevilla 29 17 7 5 52 34 18 10-3-1 7-4-4 58
 Villarreal 30 14 9 7 42 23 19 8-3-4 6-6-3 51
 Athletic 30 15 5 10 39 33 6 11-3-2 4-2-8 50
 Real Sociedad 30 15 4 11 43 41 2 7-4-4 8-0-7 49
 Eibar 29 12 8 9 47 41 6 8-3-4 4-5-5 44
 Espanyol 30 11 10 9 42 42 0 7-5-3 4-5-6 43
 Celta Vigo 28 12 5 11 43 46 -3 9-1-4 3-4-7 41
 Alavés 29 10 10 9 29 36 -7 4-7-3 6-3-6 40
 Las Palmas 29 9 8 12 45 48 -3 8-5-2 1-3-10 35
 Valencia 29 9 6 14 41 51 -10 6-3-5 3-3-9 33
 Betis 30 8 7 15 32 47 -15 5-6-5 3-1-10 31
 Málaga 29 6 9 14 33 47 -14 6-2-6 0-7-8 27
 Deportivo 29 6 9 14 31 46 -15 5-4-5 1-5-9 27
 Leganes 29 6 9 14 23 42 -19 3-5-6 3-4-8 27
 Sporting de Gijón 29 5 7 17 31 57 -26 4-2-8 1-5-9 22
 Granada 29 4 7 18 26 62 -36 4-4-6 0-3-12 19
 Osasuna 29 1 8 20 29 69 -40 0-5-10 1-3-10 11

Sounders owner Hanauer on chaotic US Open Cup ouster: “Maybe went a little overboard”

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Tuesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match between Seattle and Portland was a mess, one that ended with referees being escorted off the pitch by police and star attacker Clint Dempsey facing a lengthy ban for his encounter with referee Daniel Radford.

Radford was in the process of dealing out a second red card to Seattle when Dempsey slapped the book out of his hands, then tearing up the pages of the book and receiving the Sounders’ third red card. He could be suspended for three months if US Soccer considers it ref assault.

[ MORE: Sounders attacking depth to be tested ]

It was petulant, and Sounders fans followed his lead, tossing plastic bottles at their Cascadian Cup rivals. Even classy manager Sigi Schmid has criticized himself for skipping out on a postmatch handshake.

How would Seattle’s ownership respond? Well, there are a lot of conditional statements and no apologies in a statement from Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer.

From The Seattle Times:

“We’re an extremely proud organization. Right below our logo, there are three words that say passion, courage and community. We believe that we embody those three words and that everything we do is a positive reflection on them.

“Tuesday evening, the passion piece maybe went a little bit overboard and was maybe directed in the wrong ways. That goes for players, coaches, staff, fans.”

“I think that the passion may have been misappropriated – from players, coaches, fans and staff.

“Now, we need to regroup. We’ve had lots of internal conversations. We will do whatever we need to collect information on fan misconduct and dole out appropriate punishments if those are necessary. We’ll deal with all of the rest internally.

“But I thought it was important to acknowledge that it wasn’t our proudest moment as the Sounders organization and we’re going to do better. We know that people are looking to the Sounders as the bellwether franchise in North America and we always need to be at the top of our game.”

So, to sum up, from Hanauer’s perspective: Seattle is the biggest club in Major League Soccer and he is willing to entertain the thought that perhaps they did something wrong.

Hanauer did try to put it on his shoulders in a quote I took out for brevity, as it didn’t reflect the tone of the piece, which I believe to be: The Sounders are still really ticked off with the way Tuesday’s match unfolded, and are looking forward to a bit of revenge come June 28 (even if it may be without Dempsey and certainly will lack Obafemi Martins).

If it makes Sounders fans feel better, Radford’s reputation is getting the twice-over from the Pacific Northwest. Welcome to the microscope, sir.

Report: GM Garth Lagerwey leaving Real Salt Lake for Seattle

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Sports Illustrated’s Brian Straus has two sources confirming what Taylor Twellman unleashed via Twitter on Monday: Real Salt Lake front office wizard Garth Lagerwey is leaving Utah for a spot in the front office of Seattle.

Straus says Lagerwey would be expected to replace Adrian Hanauer as general manager of the Sounders, and the move would certainly fit the situation. RSL’s web site says he’ll be skipping town at the end of the month.

[ MORE: Ronaldo, Isco combine for snappy goal ]

Lagerwey was RSL’s general manager for nearly eight years. He played college soccer at Duke with former RSL manager and current New York City FC boss Jason Kreis.

RSL assistant coach Craig Waibel has been promoted to technical director by the club, as it looks to fill the void left by Lagerwey.

Sounders lock up MVP candidate Obafemi Martins to multi-year extension

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Obafemi Martins is going nowhere, as the 30-year-old has agreed to a multi-year extension that will keep him in Seattle.

General manager Adrian Hanauer announced the extension on Tuesday, locking Martins up with Clint Dempsey for years to come after a regular season that saw the second-year Sounder net 17 times and add 13 assists.

[ MLS: Power Rankings | Season awards ]

Seattle won the Supporters Shield over the weekend after clinching the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup last month.

An MLS Cup victory would give Martins and company a treble.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“I’m glad I’m still going to be with the team for a long time,” Martins told reporters following Seattle’s Tuesday practice. “I feel at home here so I hope to continue doing well and helping the team.”

“We’re very excited,” said Hanauer, who also addressed the media Tuesday at Starfire Soccer Complex. “Oba, obviously, has been fantastic this year, a huge part of the team. We’re happy to extend his deal, and hopefully he ends his career in Seattle. And who knows? Maybe he likes it so much he stays after [the extension is up].”

Martins told MLSsoccer.com that his experience playing in the US has been an adjustment from living and playing overseas but also said being in a location where he feels happy has helped him elevate his game to this season’s level.

“I enjoyed the time I played in Europe,” Martins said. “But the fact I’m here, I think I’m enjoying my game more. The fact that I’m doing well, scoring goals, I’m glad. I’m happy.”

Martins previous best seasons were a pair of 11-goal campaigns for Inter Milan (2005) and Newcastle United (2007). He has also played in Russia, Germany and Spain, and has been capped 39 times for Nigeria.