The Seattle Sounders introduced Craig Waibel as their New General Manager and Chief Soccer Officer with eyes set on getting back into the postseason and continues to be one of MLS’s elite franchises.
“I am excited to get to work as the new General Manager of Seattle Sounders FC, this is a special organization and I embrace the high expectations that this club has of itself,” said Waibel. “The Sounders community means a great deal to me. This was the club that drafted me as a young man, it’s where I made my professional debut, and as a Spokane native, I fully understand the history and civic pride that runs so deep in this region. I can’t thank Adrian enough for the opportunity and his confidence in my stewardship. Lastly, I couldn’t be happier to continue to work with Coach Schmetzer and help bring more trophies to Seattle.”
TASK OF MOVING AND STAYING ON TOP
Waibel’s main objective above all will be to get the Sounders back in the postseason after sitting out for the first time in club history with a disappointing 16-17-5 record.On the bright side, the Sounders won the CONCACAF Champions League trophy a first for an MLS Club. A great one-time accomplishment. The Sounders have always viewed themselves as one of the biggest clubs in Major League Soccer. Waibel is now tasked with ensuring the club trajectory continues seamlessly.
SOME HARD DECISIONS
Having been around the current club for the last 18 months will give Waible some context in which he will be making decisions. The Sounders will need to make some decisions. Some of those decisions were made before former General Manager Garth Lagerwey’s departure to Atlanta. The club declined to pick up contract options on fan-favorite Will Bruin and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez. Fredy Montero another fan favorite is in negotiations with the club so his future is yet to be determined.
The club has an infusion of both youth and veterans. The task for Waibel will be to make the team better without dismantling its identity.
CURRENT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): Stefan Cleveland, Stefan Frei, Andrew Thomas
DEFENDERS (6): Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Xavier Arreaga, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Nouhou, Jackson Ragen, Alex Roldan
MIDFIELDERS (12): Josh Atencio, Reed Baker-Whiting, Léo Chú, Ethan Dobbelaere, João Paulo, Danny Leyva, Nicolás Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Kelyn Rowe, Albert Rusnák, Dylan Teves, Obed Vargas
FORWARDS (2): Jordan Morris, Raúl Ruidíaz
In yesterday’s press conference Waibel mentioned that he was pursuing several players. The team will need to make some decisions on not only who to bring in but how long will some of the veterans stay around.
For the record, Craig Waibel is not the coach of the Seattle Sounders Brian Schmetzer is. Waibel played under Schmetzer which makes for a unique relationship that should help the club move forward. When Schmetzer was asked what kind of a person Waibel was Schmetzer was quick to point out that Waibel was a get-your-hands-duty and-tell-it-like-is kind of person.
There is no reason to think that this plan will not work. Waibel is somewhat of a local boy who has been around the block a time or two and is grounded in the virtues that make up a great manager, family, community, and deep appreciation of the game, players, and Sounder Nation.