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November 15, 2010 at 2:42 PM

End of the year Sounders FC access — Sigi Schmid quotes

This in from the team. I’ll have more throughout the next few days…

* * *

(On plans to improve team during offseason . . .) “There are always plans. You’re always looking. The group that I met with today is not going to be the same group that comes in next year. We have got to look a little bit at what happens in the expansion draft because that will determine a bit where we are going to look and what our needs are going to be. We have expressed some needs out there. Certainly the health of certain players, how [Nate] Jaqua recovers from his surgery, so maybe some additional help up front is something that is important for us. We want to continue to have depth in all areas of the field so we will continue to look there. Our specific needs right now those are something we are going over, we are talking about and after the expansion draft we will go ahead full-steam.”

(On amount of games in 2010 . . .) “It’s something that we want to be because we want to be in those competitions. I think over the years, and again you don’t adjust to it in one year, but over the years you sort of adjust to it. Houston has been doing it for a lot of years and was successful early on. [. . .] Certainly with Portland and Vancouver coming in next year, there’s a couple of games that we don’t have to fly to and that are in our time zone, so that helps as well. And we will have had the experience of having gone through what we went through this year, which will make it easier next year. Unfortunately, with 34 league games next year is what it looks like and then maybe eight games again in CONCACAF we are going to be somewhere between 42-46 games again. It’s just something that we have to get used to and figure out a better way to be a little sharper, a little more refreshed at the end.”

(On the Expansion Draft . . .) “There’s a lot of dominos that go into that and it’s especially more difficult this year when you have two teams. There’s a league rule as to how many foreign players you have to protect so based upon how many foreign players are on your team, [. . .] you’ve got to protect X amount of foreign players. Then you’re looking at some players who are maybe going to be attractive to the teams that are coming into the league. You’re looking at what some of the option prices are on some of the players. Is this a player that another team would pick up based on his option price? What year of contract is the player in? All those things go into factoring whether you protect a player or not protect a player. So it’s not a simple case of just take your starting lineup and there’s your 11. You are also looking at who’s coming up, who are your young players, who do you protect here, if you protect this guy then you lose that guy. Obviously last year we lost Seba [Sebastien Le Toux] and it would’ve been great if we were able to protect him but if we hadn’t lost him we might’ve lost [James] Riley or somebody else. We accept the fact that we are probably going to lose two good players but that’s just going to be it.”

(On offseason schedule . . .) “We will get together towards the end of January. The dates we are looking at right now are like January 24 as to us coming in. But we might bring the draft choices and some of the younger players in three, four days ahead of the veterans.”

(On travelling internationally for preseason training . . .) “Yes, but we have not finalized that yet.”

(On Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani . . .) “I think Zakuani made some great strides this year. I was really pleased with how he stepped up his game, stepped up his professionalism on and off the field. We had a great conversation with him on Friday before he took off out of here. I think he’s going to step it up another notch next year. I think Fredy Montero is a guy who has had two very good seasons with us. But he is still young and I think he has potential to do more. His goal has got to be to get back on the Colombian National Team. His goal has got to be to take our team up to that next level as well because he is a very important member of our team. He has got to remember he is still young. Zakuani has to remember that he is still young. They are still young players and players reach their peak when they are 26 or 27 so they have got about four more years of growth, each of them.”

(On Blaise Nkufo and Alvaro Fernandez . . .) “It’s tough for Alvaro and for Blaise to come off a European season, a World Cup, very little time off, [. . .] it makes for a long year. For Alvaro, it may be especially tough because his family was down in Uruguay the whole time and they had a child and I think he has seen his child like a day and a half. I think all of those things ware on you to certain extent. But certainly having those guys around for preseason, having [Brad] Evans back into the fold, having [Jhon] Kennedy [Hurtado] back into the fold, to a certain extent it’s almost like picking up four new guys.”

(On Steve Zakuani playing for DR Congo National Team . . .) “Obviously we talked about it. I don’t think this game eliminates everything for him because it’s a friendly and it’s not a qualifier of any sort. I think he still has an option to change. Obviously the immigration laws are what they are and after 9/11 they’ve obviously gotten a lot tougher. How much of a lead US Soccer can take or how much of a lead they want to take on this is really something that US Soccer can answer. But their hands might also be tied just by the rules and regulations. At some point, players have to make a decision.”

(On health of Sounders FC players . . .) “I think all the stuff the guys are having done right now is something that should have them back on the training field by the time we start. It might not have them 100% on the training field but most of them are situations that by March 1 they should be 100% in.”

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