– Toronto FC Transfers, Trades, Signings & Rumors

Drew Carey helping Seattle sound out success
April 3, 2009, 7:22 AM
Filed under: Seattle Sounders FC, Toronto FC

Comedian Drew Carey learned the finer points of the Beautiful Game from the sidelines ā€“ literally.

Before the self-professed soccer fanatic purchased a minor stake in Seattle’s Major League Soccer start-up, he got a close view of the 2006 World Cup as a working photographer.

The Price Is Right host won’t be toting a camera when he accompanies his upstart Sounders to BMO Field to meet Toronto FC for the first time tomorrow (4 p.m., CBC).

But it’s not because he couldn’t make it behind the lens as a pro: during the month-long event in Germany, Carey sold his shots under a pseudonym to such media heavies as Sports Illustrated.

“I don’t think he slept in 30 days,” says John Todd of International Sports Images, the agency through which Carey peddled his pictures. “He was an animal at the World Cup, covering more games than any of us. And he was doing his Discovery Channel adventure show at the same time.”

While Carey went largely unrecognized across the pond, remaining anonymous on this side of the Atlantic isn’t so easy, especially now that he is one of two celebrity MLS owners. NBA superstar Steve Nash is an investor in Vancouver’s entry that will debut in 2011.

For the past year, Carey has been busy lending his creative touch to the league’s newest club.

The Sounders won their MSL debut on March 19, defeating the New York Red Bulls 3-0 before a sold-out crowd of 32,523 in Seattle.

The Sounders’ smashing out-the-gate success has been downright TFC-like thus far, with season tickets maxed out at 22,000. Some of the enthusiasm has been bolstered by Carey’s unconventional ideas, such as enabling fans to vote out the GM and the use of a marching band.

Seattle’s fans regularly meet with the team owners, which include Hollywood producer Joe Roth and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, to air grievances and offer suggestions. The punters wielded their clout by demanding that Sounders, the name used by the city’s soccer teams for 30-plus years, be retained despite the brass’s preference for something new.

Weak NFL and Major League Baseball teams and the defection of Seattle’s NBA club to Oklahoma also helped drive interest in a city long starved of top-flight soccer.

“Seattle’s a little more international, like Toronto in a way,” Carey said. “Soccer isn’t some weird sport to them, they recognize it as the great thing it is.”

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