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January 6, 2015 at 12:46 PM

Sounders name Garth Lagerwey as new general manager and president of soccer

When Garth Lagerwey considered any potential moves away from Real Salt Lake, his home since 2007, there we two prominent boxes on his checklist: More resources and more control.

Seattle offered him both and, in return, it nabbed one of the most respected front office minds in Major League Soccer.

Lagerwey is the new Sounders general manager and president of soccer, the club announced Tuesday. Lagerwey assumes control of Sounders FC’s soccer operations from former general manager and current owner Adrian Hanauer, with the latter shifting focus to the club’s business operations.

“I always said that if the best general manager was available, I would hire that person to replace me. I believe that Garth is that man,” said Hanauer. “This decision will allow me to focus more time on strategy surrounding the long-term future of our club.”

General manager is pretty self-explanatory — the brand-new position of president of soccer less so.

“President of soccer is probably a little bit grandiose,” Lagerwey said Monday night. “It means that I’m running everything.”

Everything from working with the salary cap to bringing Sounders 2 into the fold — “vertical integration” was used at least three times in our initial phone interview — from youth development to the SuperDraft, to which Lagerwey will devote his first few weeks on the job.

“I’d have probably taken less money to come to Seattle,” said the 42-year-old. “I wanted to have an more responsibility within a club.”

At Real Salt Lake, Lagerwey helped build the team that won the MLS Cup title in 2009 and finished as runners-up in 2013. He had inherited a team that hadn’t made the playoffs in any of its first three MLS seasons, and it hasn’t missed the postseason since. RSL has reached four of the last six Western Conference finals.

In Seattle, the mandate is a different one: Taking a consistent contender over the hump to its first-ever MLS Cup championship.

“We built it at RSL from scratch. I really wanted to take on a bigger challenge and this is it,” Lagerwey said.

More on this to come.

| More in MLS, Sounders FC

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