By Senator Gaspard


         WHEREAS, Sixteen million Americans of all ages play soccer, including more than twelve million who are under the age of eighteen; and


         WHEREAS, Eighty-eight thousand youths in Washington state play soccer, along with another eighteen to nineteen thousand adults; and


         WHEREAS, Soccer is the nation's third most popular participatory sport among today's youth exceeding both baseball and football in popularity; and


         WHEREAS, Participation in athletics promotes positive values in young people, including teamwork, sportsmanship, camaraderie, and dedication to a goal; and


         WHEREAS, The existence of a local, professional soccer franchise generates additional interest and excitement in the sport for Washington residents; and


         WHEREAS, A group of local investors, headed by Scott Oki, Alan Hinton, C. Neil Farnsworth and William Hurme, is planning to bring professional soccer back to the Pacific Northwest this summer by resurrecting the Seattle Sounders; and


         WHEREAS, The Sounders will play in the American Professional Soccer League, which is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation as the highest level of professional outdoor soccer in America; and


         WHEREAS, Players for the revived sounders' organization have pledged to hold summer camps, team clinics, and coaching seminars for Washington's amateur soccer players and coaches; and


         WHEREAS, The Sounders' ownership also has pledged to donate all the team's profits to local charities and inner-city programs, including youth soccer programs;


         NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Washington State Senate does hereby acknowledge and laud the rebirth of professional soccer in Washington, and commends the owners of the new Seattle Sounders for their commitment and civic contributions to the people of this state.