After 13 years as Sporting Director for Seattle Sounders FC Chris Henderson has departed for the star-studded franchise of Inter Miami CF. That is not a knock on the Sounders. Anyone attempting to throw shade on a distinguished club such as the Sounders would well look like a fool. The Sounders have made the playoffs every year since their inception into MLS in 2009 and have appeared in four MLS Cups walking away with the trophy in 2016 and 2019.
In addition to the two MLS Cup Titles Sounders FC because the first club to win three consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open titles in 2009,2010, and 2011 . In 2014 the club won it’s first and only Supporters Shield Trophy and fourth U.S. Open title .
Henderson was part of the bedrock of the organization since his appointment as the club’s first President of Soccer and Sporting Director in 2009. During Henderson’s watch, 24 Sounders FC players have been selected to the MLS All-Star, including DeAndre Yedlin in 2013 – the first rookie to receive the honor since 2005. Henderson was instrumental in signing forward Obafemi Martins in 2013, who went on to become the club’s second all-time leading goal-scorer and runner-up for the 2014 MLS MVP.
He has also helped bring some of the world’s top talent to MLS in former U.S. Men’s National Team captain Clint Dempsey, MLS Newcomers of the Year Fredy Montero (2009), Mauro Rosales (2011), and Nicolás Lodeiro (2016), 2019 MLS Cup MVP Víctor Rodríguez, as well as current Designated Players Raúl Ruidíaz and João Paulo. Henderson also brought in one of the league’s premier midfielders in four-time team MVP Osvaldo Alonso back in 2009 and has continued to develop local talent with the signings of numerous Homegrown Players, including U.S. Men’s National Team forward Jordan Morris.
“Chris Henderson was the first person I hired to help build our soccer organization. He has been a massive part of Sounders FC since our club’s MLS inception and has been critical to our ongoing success,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. “Chris will be missed for his contributions and for what he added to the culture of our club. But I am so happy and excited about the opportunity that awaits him in Miami. Chris deserves this chance, and we all wish him enormous success.”
The departure of Henderson to Inter Miami makes sense and says much about where Sounders FC is headed. The first thing to point out is that Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey is not leaving anytime soon. There is no insinuation that there was a power struggle or that Henderson wanted to be Manager of the Club. Any such speculation would be that unfounded speculation and pretty much-throwing mud on the wall.
What is know is that Henderson is joining a club that is owned by David Beckham and just hired Phil Neville as it’s head coach. Beckhams’ career is well document. Neville’s might have been as bright as Beckhams but was bright. The Former Manchester United and Everton player won six Premier League titles three FA Cups and A UEFA Champions League title in 1999. Neville was the England Women’s National team coach from January 17th 2018- January18th 2021. His record with the Three Lionesses was (19-5-11). The move presents an opportunity for the Henderson to leave another footprint on US soccer.
FULL ROSTER AUTONOMY DECISIONS
According to a team release Henderson will manage soccer operations and on-developments, from the first Team to the youth levels.
“Chris brings a successful and winning MLS track record and we couldn’t be happier to bring him on board,” said Inter Miami CF Managing Owner Jorge Mas. “The fabric of our Club is unique, it reflects the passion of our community. We as owners are committed to giving Chris the tools he needs to develop a sustainable winning soccer culture that delivers consistent performance on the field. As we enter the 2021 season, Chris is an integral part of the vision that drives us.”
For Henderson the relocation is sort of a homecoming, having played for the Miami Fusion in 2001. The Fusion played in Major League Soccer from 1998-2001 before folding in 2002 along with the Tampa Bay Mutiny. After some legal wrangling and posturing MLS soccer returned to Miami last year as the Inter Miami CF.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me to take the next step in my career, return back to South Florida and solidify my mark on this league,” said Inter Miami CF Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director Chris Henderson. I have always believed in the Inter Miami project and the Club’s ability to become a powerhouse not only in MLS but across the global soccer industry. My goal is to work with the technical staff to ensure we have a roster that fits the style of soccer we want while maintaining a healthy pipeline of youth, league-wide and international players who could contribute to the team’s success on and off the field. I’m looking forward to joining Inter Miami’s journey and reconnecting with the fanbase in South Florida.”
The Miami Fusion was one of five MLS Clubs Henderson played on in his 11 season with the league. A former midfielder Henderson is currently ranked 14th on the MLS all-time assists list with 80 regular-season assists, shares the league’s single-game assist record (four) and finished his career with 51 goals. On the international stage, Henderson represented the U.S. Men’s National Team on 79 occasions and was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team.