David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Historic moment: Sounders FC take the field for first time

January 21, 2009. Renton, Washington. A bit after 10:00 AM Seattle time. Let it be noted that the very first Sounders FC player to don the (training) kit and hit the pitch was...Taylor Graham (see more about Graham below). Graham was followed by a horde of other signed players and hopefuls and when Colombian striker Freddy Montero made it to the party about half an hour later the first practice session was well underway.

“It’s tremendous to see some bodies on the field," exuded head coach Sigi Schmid. "You get tired of looking at things on paper, and shoving pieces of paper around, saying ‘how would this look like this, or like that?’ You actually get to see people out there, and then you see how people work together. Already there were a couple things I put down on paper, like this guy will player here, this guy will play here. And then on the field, you already saw them shift. So you see who is comfortable where. And even though you think you might be comfortable there, it shows right away by his play that he’s more comfortable some place else. All those things start to answer questions for you. I thought it was a good first day. No injuries. That was good too. And I thought everybody came through it very well.”

Over thirty members of the press huddled in the foggy shrowd of cold as the players warmed up and then divided into teams for matches. Time to kick off the cobwebs and start 2009...and a new franchise.

“I was talking a little bit after practice to Brad Evans, who obviously played with me in Columbus. And I said to him, ‘I know you’re coming from a championship team, so you might not have been too thrilled about getting picked up,’ Schmid admitted. "He goes, ‘Sigi, man, everything so far has just been so different, so good.’ And when you hear that from a player that’s just coming from a championship team and he’s excited to be at this club, I think everything else around it has been tremendous right now. We’re still working out the kinks of the staff, understanding all of my little idiosyncrasies and all that good stuff. That happens, but I think the support from the ownership: from Joe Roth; from Adrian (Hanauer); from Vulcan and from Tod Leiweke and the Seahawks people have just been superb. It is what I hoped it to be, and I haven’t been disappointed. It’s definitely been the best situation I have been in my professional soccer time. We want to reward the support they’re giving us as soon as possible. That’s my objective as the coach, and that’s something that I’ll definitely hammer into the players. That there are a lot of good things happening here. We need to pay these people back as soon as possible. And the way you pay people back, the fans, and the owners and everybody else, is by getting wins.”

The practice was spirited and noisy. The gathered press and even the coaches strained from afar to tell players apart without jersey numbers and with most-everyone wearing stocking caps. After about two hours players met at the base of the Seahawks VMAC facility and gave interviews to press. We spoke with Evan Wood, Brad Evans and owner Joe Roth, who has some words for Sounders fans about the 2009 roster. Those interviews will be up soon.

Taylor Graham signs: SoundersFC.com release

Coming: photos from Jenni Conner, Rick Morrison and video highlights from the first-ever Sounders FC practice.

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