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February 12, 2012 at 2:04 PM

A stop and chat with Adrian Hanauer

Sounders FC general manager and part owner Adrian Hanauer talked to reporters after Friday’s practice. Part of that conversation was covered in a previous post (whether an NBA and/or NHL team coming to Seattle would affect the Sounders) and here’s the rest of the interview:

* * *

(Why did you decide to make the Feb. 29 preseason game free?) “You know we always like to shake things up, and do things a little differently, and keep our partners around the league on their toes. (laughs) … We wanted to raise money for our charity partners, and it just seemed like (this is) easier than selling tickets online. We hope that we raise as much money, and potentially more people can come to the game because we’re not going to ask for a specific amount of money. If somebody can afford 50 cents, fantastic. If they can afford $50, that’s great. So nothing scientific, nothing really to read into it, it just seemed like kind of a fun way to try and bring some people into the stadium.”

(How hard was it to schedule two preseason games against in-season Mexican teams?) “Somewhat difficult. Thankfully we have good relationships with both the people at Atlante and Jaguares, and they were good enough to work with us and schedule these games with us. It’s good for them as well — new experience, new type of opponent.”

(Have you decided whether Mauro Rosales will be a DP this season?) “Have not decided 100-percent, but I think it’s very likely.”

(You’ve signed your third Swede in as many years, is that strategic or coincidence?) “I think it’s coincidence. We have limited resources to scout; we just can’t go everywhere in the world. We’ve spent a decent amount of time in Scandinavia recently … and I think that happens. You see in Portland, you start to build some momentum and some core competency in certain markets, and it certainly then leads to more opportunities in those markets. But it’s not necessarily something where we’re wed to or focused on or planning long term.”

(On the possibility of a growing women’s soccer presence in Seattle…) “We have an affiliation with the (USL) W-League team and with the hiatus/demise of the WPS, there’s a lot of rumor and speculation flying around on what the future holds. For now, we’re working with the owners of the W-League team and we certainly want to try and help promote the women’s game, but they’re sort of driving the bus and Amy Carnell is the general manger of that team.”

(If the WPS returns and reconfigures into a top-level league, is there any interest from Sounders ownership in getting involved?) “We’ll look at anything. Maybe this doesn’t sound plausible to you, but we’re still trying to dig our roots in our existing team and get ourselves stabilized and solidified for generations to come in what we’re doing, so we haven’t been real anxious to take on new projects, especially projects that don’t have viable business models. So if it was super viable, then it’s something we’re going to take a lot harder of a look at, but we’re not going to get into businesses just for the heck of getting into businesses.”

(What do you think of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s decision to go to a 10-month season and also making youth players choose between playing in academies or in high school?) “I’m a supporter of high school soccer. I think it’s a good opportunity and development tool for kids. It’s been a part of American culture for a long time, so that said, the technical people at U.S. Soccer I suppose have determined that the best way to develop young soccer players is through the academies. I don’t think anyone knows for sure what the right answer is. We’ve tried to take the position where we give the kids as much flexibility as possible and I believe that if this in fact comes down or has come down, we’ll still say to the kids, ‘Your choice. This is America, it’s your choice.’ If U.S. Soccer then comes down and says they can’t play until the following season, then the kids will have to make that decision. I think it’s a shame that there isn’t some way to come up with a solution — and maybe for both, long term, there is. We do have our academy teams and if U.S. Soccer is going to mandate it, we do have to play by those rules, so we will.”

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