According to veteran midfielder Cristian Roldan, it’s “fitting” that the Rave Green carry the torch as the first MLS side in the tournament.
“The backbone of the club has been here for quite some time and we're getting better every year," said Roldan. “We talked about the standards that the club has, and I think the magic words have been trophies, competing, and having continuity within the franchise, so I think it's fitting because in a league full of parity, the Sounders do a great job of maintaining these standards.”
The competitive nature of the Sounders also comes with expectations. With the daunting tournament ahead of them, the players are confident they will produce on the field.
“Each game provides its challenges, but we're ready to go out there and compete,” said defender Alex Roldan. “No club has too big of a name for us, anybody can win on any given day.”
The team’s stateside accomplishments are prevailing, but with the Sounders entry into the FIFA Club World Cup, the organization is looking to continue proving its worth on a worldwide scale.
While the Sounders showcased their talent against international competitors during CCL play, this will be the first time the Rave Green participate in a tournament affiliated with top club teams from around the world.
“It's a global recognition,” said GM & Chief Soccer Officer Craig Waibel. “There's a very finite number of teams participating in it, so it's a massive opportunity, not only from an individual club standpoint, but from a marketing standpoint as well.”
With the team’s representation in a high caliber tournament like the Club World Cup, the Sounders ultimately become an attractive destination for future talent.
“Bringing in new players is heavily influenced by the club and its reputation…This is a global tournament that everyone knows is happening now and players pay more attention to what clubs are consistently in it,” Waibel said.
But the Club World Cup benefits more than just the Sounders organization.
“You saw the support we had at the [Champions League] Final, so the city deserves this, the fans deserve this," added Jordan Morris. “We're really excited to represent Seattle and the U.S. on that world stage and show the quality of this team and the quality of the [MLS].”