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Sounders FC

Daily coverage of Seattle Sounders FC, MLS and world soccer.

December 8, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Sounders FC weekly release of offseason news and notes

This in from the team:

* * *

Montero is Finalist for Seattle Sports Star of the Year

Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero has been named one of five finalists by the Seattle Sports Commission for Sports Star of the Year. The award is given annually to a professional athlete or coach for outstanding sports achievement in the past year or season. Montero led Sounders FC in nearly every offensive statistical category in 2010, including 10 goals and 10 assists.

The list of nominees includes Swin Cash (Seattle Storm), Tim Lincecum (San Francisco Giants), Lewis Ratcliff (Washington Stealth) and Mike Williams (Seattle Seahawks). Fans can vote for their favorite nominee by visiting SeattleSports.org. Voting runs through January 21, 2011, and individuals can vote up to once a day. Winners will be announced during the show on Wednesday, January 26, 2011, at Benaroya Hall.

Okoli Named to U.S. U18 National Team for Israel Tourney

Sean Okoli, forward for the Sounders FC Academy U18 team, has been chosen for the U.S. U18 National Team which leaves later this week for a three-match tournament in Israel.

The U.S. opens against Germany in Tel Aviv on December 13, then faces France the following day and host Israel on December 16.

Coach Mike Matkovich is bringing 20 players, with Okoli, a 17-year-old from Federal Way, being the only selection from the Northwest. Okoli leads the Sounders FC Academy team with six goals. Last month he had participated in the national team training camp in Carson, Calif.

Coaching Staff Bound for College Cup

Sounders FC will be headed by General Manager Adrian Hanauer, Head Coach Sigi Schmid and Technical Director Chris Henderson at the NCAA College Cup in Santa Barbara, Calif., later this week. Louisville faces North Carolina and Akron takes on Michigan in the semifinal matches on Friday. The championship game is Sunday.

Academy Teams Show Strong at Winter Showcase

The Sounders FC Academy U16s went unbeaten (2-0-1) at the USSDA Winter Showcase, completed earlier this week in Phoenix, while the U18s absorbed their first defeat, going 2-1-0.

The U18s won their fifth straight, topping South Carolina United, 3-0, in their opening game on Saturday. Ryan Hermann earned the shutout and Troy Peterson scored twice-including one from the spot-and Yordan Rivera added a third. The brace raised Peterson’s goal haul to four goals over three matches.

Seattle played without regulars Nick Palodichuk, Jamael Cox, Sean Okoli and DeAndre Yedlin, who were all selected to the Academy Select Game. The Academy Select Game gives the best academy players from across the country an opportunity to play in front of national team coaches.

Sounders FC had its full complement of players on Monday but fell to Virginia Rush Auxerre, 1-0, for its first loss of the season. The team played a man down for the final 70 minutes after Yedlin received a red card in the 20th minute. Sounders FC finished with a 15-7 advantage in shots. Virginia’s goal came in the 10th minute.

In their final tournament game on Tuesday, the U18s scored three of their goals late in each half in beating Lonestar Academy of Texas, 4-2, in a physical battle that saw several hard challenges. Hermann made two big saves early on but Lonestar struck first in the 16th minute.

Sounders FC equalized in the 23rd minute when Glenn Paden scored from a Travis Strawn assist. Paden added a second tally shortly before halftime on an assist from Aaron Kovar but the lead was short-lived as Lonestar tied the game in the 46th minute.

Seattle took the lead for good when Cox scored from 20-yards out in the 82nd minute. Darwin Jones secured the victory with a fourth goal in the 90th minute.

Against South Carolina United, the U16s scored twice in the first 17 minutes and went on to prevail, 2-0. Ike Crook scored in the 10th minute and earned a penalty kick in the 17th minute that Jordan Schweitzer put away.

After taking Sunday off, Sounders FC battled Virginia Rush Auxerre to a 0-0 draw on Monday. Conor Adkisson posted the shutout in goal, with Michael Gallagher and Ian Lange anchoring the defense.

In their final tournament outing, the U16 team fired home a season-high five goals in beating Lonestar, 5-1. Prince Gundersen scored from a Jesse Klug assist in the 6th minute, and Lange doubled the lead just two minutes later when he headed in an Austin Sweeney corner kick.

Lonestar pulled a goal back just before halftime but Sounders FC took a 3-1 lead when Jeffrey Collings scored from distance in the 50th minute and Klug added another in the 62nd minute. Michael Steele, who assisted on the fourth goal, scored the fifth from a feed by Schweitzer in the 71st minute. Klug and Crook each have five goals to date.

Going into the holiday break the U18s are 8-1-3 and the U16s 8-2-2. Both teams resume play January 16 at the California Development Academy in Loomis, Calif.

Upcoming Key Dates (times are Pacific & subject to change)

Wednesday, December 15 – MLS Re-Entry Draft, Stage 2

Friday, December 17- Sunday, December 19 – Sounders FC College Combine, Las Vegas

Saturday, January 8-Tuesday, January 11 – adidas MLS Player Combine, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Thursday, January 13, 9 a.m. – 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Baltimore

Open Tryout Dates Set

The Seattle Sounders FC will hold Open Tryouts on January 29-30, 2011, at the team’s training ground, the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington. Tryouts will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Open tryouts are open to male soccer players ages 18 years and older. Tryouts will feature small-sided as well as 11v11 games.

Players will be assessed by members of the Sounders FC technical and coaching staffs, including Head Coach Sigi Schmid, General Manager Adrian Hanauer and Technical Director Chris Henderson.

The registration cost for each player is $125. Space is limited and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. Registration fees will go directly to the Sounders FC Youth Academy program.

To register, visit www.SoundersFC.com/opentryouts.

Fredy Montero Signs Extension, Transfer Completed

Sounders FC has signed forward Fredy Montero to a contract extension and completed the permanent transfer of his contract to the club and Major League Soccer, qualifying him as the club’s third Designated Player. Per MLS and club policy, terms were not disclosed.

Montero, 23, has finished as the Sounders FC Gold Boot honoree in scoring each of his two seasons, totaling 22 goals and 17 assists in 56 league appearances. Only two other players-Conor Casey and Jeff Cunningham-have totaled more points the past two years.

Montero is a two-time MLS All-Star selection and was voted the 2009 MLS Newcomer of the Year after scoring 12 goals. He has made four appearances for the Colombia National Team.

This past season Montero was one of two players to finish among the MLS top ten in both goals (10/tied for 10th) and assists (10/tied for fifth). He became the second-youngest player in league history to achieve a double-double in goals and assists. Montero also tied for fifth in game-winning goals (4). He was fourth in both shots attempted and fouls suffered.

His nine consecutive matches with either a goal or an assist from June 5 through August 8 was the longest in the league this season. In addition, he scored the winning goal in Seattle’s first competitive international match, a 1-0 win over El Salvador’s Metapan, and in 2009 he scored the first goal in 2-1 victory over D.C. United in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.

Montero received his Green Card earlier this month, granting him permanent resident status in the U.S. A native of Barranquilla, Colombia, he was originally signed on loan from Deportivo Cali in January of 2009.

Hurtado, Nkufo and Zakuani Receive Green Cards

The Seattle Sounders FC announced on Tuesday that defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, forward Blaise Nkufo and midfielder Steve Zakuani have received their U.S. Green Cards, granting all three players permanent resident status in the United States, effective immediately.

As residents, Hurtado, 26, Nkufo, 35, and Zakuani, 22, will no longer occupy International Player slots on the club’s roster.

A native of Colombia, Hurtado was a finalist for 2009 MLS Defender of the Year and an MLS All-Star selection. He started nine of the first 10 matches in 2010 before sustaining a season-ending injury.

Nkufo finished as the team’s third-leading scorer after arriving in midseason, following World Cup duty with the Swiss National Team. He scored the first hat trick in club history on September 18 at Columbus.

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zakuani ranks second on the club with 14 goals and 10 assists in his two MLS seasons. A finalist for 2009 Rookie of the Year, he more than doubled his production in 2010, scoring 10 goals with six assists.

Alonso Voted MVP, Riley Defender of the Year

Osvaldo Alonso is the Sounders FC Most Valuable Player and James Riley is the team’s Defender of the Year. The awards, both by a vote of their teammates, were announced at last week’s Alliance Annual Meeting at Qwest Field. Riley was also named the Humanitarian of the Year and Fredy Montero received the Golden Boot by virtue of leading the team in scoring.

Alonso played an instrumental role in helping Sounders FC post the league’s best record in the second half of the season. The holding midfielder started 21 of 23 appearances and matched his 2009 totals with one goal and three assists. Sounders FC was 11-3-5 in matches where Alonso played at least 45 minutes. The team allowed just 12 goals (0.80 GAA) in its final 15 matches while it allowed 23 goals (1.53 GAA) in the first 15. Alonso was on the field. Alonso also appeared in two U.S. Open Cup and five CONCACAF Champions League games, recording one assist in Champions League play.

Riley led all Sounders FC outfield players with 2,418 minutes played (3,273 in all competitions). The right back scored one goal, his first since his rookie season in 2005, in the final regular-season match in Houston. His three assists were the most of any Seattle defender and he added a fourth in Champions League play. He matched his career high with a total of five points.

One of only two players to finish in the top 10 in goals and assists this season, Montero received the team’s Golden Boot for the second consecutive year. He tied Steve Zakuani with 10 goals but edged the winger with a team-high 10 assists. The Colombian striker had four game-winning goals, six in all competitions, and four game-winning assists. Montero scored (9) or assisted (7) on 16 of 19 MLS goals scored between April 22 and August 28, and earned at least one point in nine consecutive matches–the longest such stretch in MLS this season. He was voted Major League Soccer’s Player of the Month for July when he contributed two goals and three assists in five games.

Honored as Major League Soccer’s Humanitarian of the Month for October, Riley has embraced his role as community ambassador with purpose and enthusiasm. Since January 2010, he has made nearly 40 community appearances, including work with the Ronald McDonald House, the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Nothing But Nets campaign to fight malaria in Africa and the Sounders FC Bone Marrow Registry Drive. Riley, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor, is also active with Komen for the Cure and Gilda’s Club, raising awareness and encouraging fans to get involved in early screening through his public service announcements. Riley was an honorary coach for the Washington Special Olympics soccer team that finished fourth at the National Games. He is also a regular visitor to the Renton/Skyway Boys & Girls Club where he has fostered personal relationships with the kids and provides mentorship with his participation in the MicroSociety Program. .

Give Us Your Full 90 Again in 2011!

Sounders FC are currently accepting deposits for 2011 season tickets. To join, please visit SoundersFC.com or call 877-MLS-GOAL. Seattle’s schedule will include matches with MLS newcomers Portland and Vancouver, plus an international friendly against a soon-to-be-announced opponent. Sounders FC had 32,000 season ticket holders in 2010.

Throw-ins

Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer will answer questions in a live online chat on The Seattle Times web site on Thursday from 1-2 p.m. PT…Osvaldo Alonso is currently in Liverpool, England training with Everton FC. Steve Zakuani has completed his training stint with Everton and returned to Seattle…James Riley, Taylor Graham, Technical Director Chris Henderson and Assistant Coach Brian Schmetzer served as celebrity bell ringers for The Salvation Army on Tuesday in downtown Seattle…December 11 marks 37 years since top-flight professional soccer first arrived in Seattle. The city was awarded a North American Soccer League franchise on December 11, 1973. The original Sounders began play the following spring…On Sunday in Lacey, Wash., Kasey Keller will be signing copies of a new children’s book about his life called “The Mighty Kasey.” Author Jarrett Mentink and his wife, sportscaster Angie Mentink, will also be on hand. The signing begins at 1 p.m. PT at Skyhawks Park (425 Marvin Road SE). Cost of the book is $13, with proceeds going to Boys & Girls Clubs. For more information, call 360-459-8735.

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