I had a great chat with Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson today. As a high-school sports reporter I actually attended his induction to the WIAA Hall of Fame a while back. Covering prep soccer over the year, I have also spent a lot of time speaking with his father, Dick, who has been a longtime coach in the area.
As is often the case in interviews, there was a lot of good stuff that I didn’t use for my story on compliance day/training preview. So I wanted to share some other material I gathered that I’m sure some of you will be interested in.
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Where does the roster stand now?
Right now, we’re right around roster size. We’re still waiting to hear the final rules from the league, but we’re right around that. We are still looking at players coming in. It is a never-ending process, looking at players.
What will the training roster look like this week?
There will be a couple new faces and the main core of the group that has been with us. As we get closer to roster compliance date we have to make some moves, for example at goalkeeper. I think with our goalkeeper situation, we’ve had 4-5 different goalies in camp, so we’ll have to make a move there.
Is Miguel Montano in town for training?
He’s not in town. It’s day-to-day with him. I could be between 2-10 days before he gets his paperwork settled. We have submitted it all. He’s a young player we are looking at for the future. We hope he can develop in our system and this is a chance for us to take a look at him.
What happened with Luis Gil?
I think with Luis Gil, it was a chance for us and Salt Lake to put bids in. Kansas City winning the lottery had his rights, so a trade had to be done with them. Salt Lake ended up winning out. Kansas City might have been looking for something different than what we offered. You never know what a team wants in a trade, but we just had to put in our best offer.
So you actively tried to trade for Gil?
Yes, we certainly tried to get him as well as Salt Lake. It was obviously a closed-envelope trade offer. We ending up losing on Gil, but Montano’s that type of player. You need to look toward the future, preparing and developing guys through our own system. We have a great environment of players that are young and who are going to be good players in the future. The conditions are great here, the training environment, the coaching staff. Players get a lot of attention.
Is finding another piece on offense a priority to this team?
We’re happy with the core of our team, but we are looking to add to that… We lost Sebastien Le Toux in the expansion draft, and he could play a number of positions, up top and wide midfielder. We want to replace that loss. You’re always looking for guys who will complement Fredy Montero, Freddie Ljungberg, Nate jaqua, and be able to add that attacking piece to the puzzle.
Is it harder to make personnel moves and decision with the labor dispute?
We’ve been going about everything business as usual. That’s the way we have to do it. Each year when you get toward roster compliance day you’re trying to figure things out, fine tune and finalize your roster. It feels about the same as it did last year. This is the time the coaching staff has to make decision on players as well. We have plenty of meetings. We talk about the roster and players. We take time to put the pieces together. And we have a coach with championship experience and years of experience in putting rosters together.
What is it like dealing with constant rumors of incoming players?
There’s going to be rumors of players, there always is with all the teams and ours as well. A lot of times we’re looking at players. But us showing interest in them and then going through and signing them… is a big step.