Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey, considered among the best in MLS, will be leaving Utah for the Seattle Sounders, where he likely will succeed Adrian Hanauer as the club’s GM.
ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman broke the news Monday evening on Twitter.
Two sources subsequently confirmed the move to SI.com.
Lagerwey’s contract at RSL expires at the end of 2014. SI.com understands that he received a new offer from club owner Dell Loy Hansen but has decided to leave Salt Lake City after seven-plus seasons at the helm of one of the league’s most consistently successful organizations. Lagerwey’s deal with the Sounders hasn’t been formally finalized, according to sources.
During Lagerwey’s tenure, RSL won the 2009 MLS Cup championship and claimed two conference titles. It has qualified for the playoffs in each of the past seven years, has crossed the 50-point threshold in each of the past five and in 2011 it became the first (and still only) MLS club to reach the CONCACAF Champions League finals. RSL also furnished two players, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, to the 2014 U.S World Cup team. Those accomplishments came despite a budget that doesn’t compare to those in L.A. or Seattle, the Western Conference's other premier teams.
Lagerwey, 42, had been working as an attorney and TV analyst in Washington D.C. when former Duke University teammate Jason Kreis was named RSL coach in May 2007. Lagerwey flew west a few months later and the pair worked together until Kreis took the manager’s job at New York City FC last winter. Lagerwey then was thought to be looking for a change of scenery as well. Seattle was a popular rumor, with speculation revolving around Hanauer’s desire to be less involved as a day-to-day GM. Hanauer holds a minority stake in the Sounders and is expected to remain involved with the club.
It was unknown late Monday whether Lagerwey will be given a title in addition to (or instead of) GM. The Sounders declined comment on Monday night. What is clear is that a GM accustomed to building a winner on a budget now will have significantly more resources with which to work.
Real Salt Lake already has a new GM lined up, according to multiple sources, and an announcement is expected soon. Lagerwey cleared out his office last week.