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August 26, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Adrian Hanauer speaks on the return of Freddie Ljungberg

Here’s a transcript of the Q&A Sounders FC general manager had with reporters today after training…

* * *

(How do you encapsulate Ljungberg’s legacy?) “I think Freddie played a big part in helping us launch the franchise. It was a big signing, in a rollout of a bunch of big announcements for this club. Whether it was signing Kasey Keller, or a partnership with Xbox, or KING-5, or Kevin Calabro. There were a bunch of big announcements that helped us launch this franchise in a big way. Freddie was one of those. He did a good job in helping us make the playoffs last year, but now he plays for the enemy and our focus is on our team and how we beat he and Chicago on Saturday.”

(How do you feel about how the relationship ended?) “It’s hard to sugarcoat something and ever say when you trade a player or a player leaves that it’s positive. But it’s the reality of the business. It’s not negative. It’s just, it is what it is. Players come and go. I still have a good relationship with Freddie and wish him luck other than when we plays against Seattle.”

(Will Ljungberg’s tenure here impact future DP moves?) “Hopefully we’re always learning. I think it’s dangerous to extrapolate too much from individuals. I try not to create categories based on individuals. Like ‘All Swedes are like…’ or ‘All Colombians are like…’ People are individuals. But certainly you hope to learn things in every decision we make, whether it’s on a designated player or a minimum-salary player or coaches or trainers. You always want to be learning.”

(On DPs being separate from every one else, but the player can’t approach it as such) “I think we have that conversation with every player. It’s a team game. There is no success with individuals acting as individuals, because there is a huge separation of salaries in our league — although there are in every league. So certainly it’s important for the guys earning the most money to realize that, take a leadership role, be sensitive to the situation that others are in. I’m not saying that Freddie didn’t do that, but whether it’s Freddie or a guy making half what Freddie did, there’s just always going to be a disparity and people need to be sensitive to that.”

(Personally, what will his return mean to you?) “It’s another big game we need to get three points out of. It’s not a whole lot different than when Stephen King came back to Seattle. I gave him a hug and wished him the best, but want to beat him. And we couldn’t take care of business against D.C. when they came back to town and hopefully we can turn that around against Chicago.”

(On Ljungberg providing credibility of expansion franchise to the fans) “I wouldn’t want to put myself in the place of the fans in general, again I don’t want to generalize. Certainly his resume, the credibility he brought to the club, his experience, is meaningful. You don’t last 10 years at Arsenal without being a quality player and a quality individual. I think our fans certainly recognized that. I think at the same time, ultimately what our fans want to see is good soccer and wins, whether that comes in the form of former Arsenal or whether it comes in the form of finding a gem playing with Deportivo Cali. I think ultimately the fans just want good soccer that improves year to year and a team they can be proud of and excited about.”

(What are your impressions so far of your present DPs?) “I think they’re doing fine. Again, time will tell. The integration process takes some time. You’ll see moments of brilliance and then maybe a little bit of confusion on the field. Ultimately we won’t know exactly how our decisions play out until five-, six-, seven-, eight games from now and we’re heading into the playoffs playing well, then I think we can say that our designated players have performed well. If we’re not, then I think we have to go back and regroup. It doesn’t only apply to designated players, it applies to everybody on the team and we’ll have to see who did well and who might not have pulled their weight.”


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