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It's Finally Official...

Neil Megson, 33, was introduced as the new coach of the Seattle Sounders yesterday. He is being promoted from captain-assistant coach on the defending A-League champions. He succeeds Alan Hinton, who resigned in January to pursue personal interests.

Megson's father, Don, coached for 12 years in the English top division and the new Sounder coach's brother, Gary, coaches Norwich City in the top division.

Megson, who will be player-coach, was born in England but came to America in 1979 when his father was coaching the Portland Timbers of the NASL.

Megson made his coaching debut today against the Canadian Olympic Team in Tacoma [Seattle 1 - 0 Canada Olympic Team].

Neil Farnsworth, who owns the Sounders with Scott Oki, said Megson was one of 8 candidates interviewed. Farnsworth said Megson's popularity with teammates was a big factor in the decision.

Cliff McCrath, successful coach at Seattle Pacific University, also interviewed for the job. Oki said Sounder ownership and McCrath made a "mutual decision" that it "didn't make a lot of sense" for the SPU coach to take a leave of absence at this time to coach the team.

Megson said his goal is to win and have the Sounders "play with more flair." The Sounders relied on power last year.

Megson said he is looking overseas for help in midfield and has agreed to terms with a midfielder from the indoor NPSL.

Megson said Bernie James will be the lead assistant. He plans to add one more coach to his staff. Hinton had 6 assistants.

The Sounders plan to play in Japan and China in early April. They are interested in establishing a Pacific Rim Cup Tournament.

Thanks to Ron Stickney for Times transcription.

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