While I was attending to another matter at training today (a project I’ll keep you updated on), Sounders FC owner and general manger Adrian Hanauer addressed reports of the team’s interest in buying/investing in Tanzanian club African Lyon.
Jeremiah Oshan of Sounder at Heart covered the matter well in this report and also shared some of the information that Hanauer gave to a group of reporters.
Here’s what I gathered:
- Sounders FC/Hanauer has not purchased the Tanzanian team, but there is preliminary interest in some sort of investment or partnership. There has also been an existing relationship between African Lyon and Hanauer dating back a handful of years to the USL days.
- Assistant coach/scout Kurt Schmid is headed over in Tanzania scoping out the infrastructure and professionalism of the team/league. “Kick the tires” was a phrase Hanauer used and sounds like a perfect metaphor as information is gathered.
- Hanauer wants to establish a footprint in East Africa, which he believes is a bit of an untapped area. There might be fewer prospects, but there’s also less competition for emerging talent. He would ideally like to create a pipeline to bring young players over, but such aims wouldn’t provide returns for a few years — like the team’s youth academy.
- An investment in the African Lyon wouldn’t require a significant amount of money so it’s not so much a matter of finances. Think low risk, high reward.
- Sounders FC owner Paul Allen has been to East Africa in the past, but won’t be going there soon.