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February 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Sounders FC quote sheet for Wednesday: Schmid and Ford

Here’s the complete transcript of the chat with Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid after Wednesday’s training. Also a short catch-up with rookie goalkeeper Josh Ford.

* * *

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(Is this the group you plan on taking to Florida?) “Yeah, pretty much. Like I said, the cuts we made from Arizona to here were going to depend on how they did. It could be one guy, it could be four guys. We basically reduced by one and this is the final group we’re looking at to pick the final 28-30.”

(Are you comfortable with all the press O’Brian White has been getting?) “He’s done well, and you try to bring attention to people who have done well. His attitude has been good, he’s worked hard, we still feel he’s getting fit. As he moves forward in that process I think his play will come along. Everybody goes through a process where they play well and then drop a little bit. Hopefully they play well in the end.”

(What have you seen from Pat Noonan since he’s come back from injury and is he fighting for a spot?) “He’s fighting for a roster spot just like all the other guys just because he’s coming off the injury. Taylor Graham, same thing. It was good for Taylor and Pat to be full in training. Obviously it gives us the opportunity to play them in games and then they’ll decide how it turns out. I always say coaches don’t make decisions, players make decisions for you. They’re the ones who through their performance either put themselves on the team or play their way off the team.”

(On Nate Jaqua’s return) “It’s good to see him back. We welcomed him back and we said, ‘We got a new player here, big guy. We hear he is alright in front of goal and he’s got good size and he can head the ball.’ So that was Nate. It’s good. He’s running. He’ll continue to do some more running and more work and we will gradually increase it. We will take him with us to Florida because now he is able to participate in the team warm-ups and the passing exercises and hopefully as the week goes by in Florida he will be able to participate as a neutral player. Our prognosis as to when we see him in a game is probably going to be right around the start of the season. His process in terms of getting on the field for an MLS game is probably two or three weeks into the season.”

(On weighted lotteries) “I don’t know how that whole thing works. Somebody rolls a dice? I don’t know what happens there. That’s a big dice, with like 1,000 numbers on it. I think it’s a random number generator or something, you computer guys know that stuff. … Obviously there are certain players that have come out. We thought Cody Arnoux was a player we liked when he was in college, so we wanted to enter that lottery. We didn’t enter the lottery with Agorsor. Agorsor’s a player that’s had a serious knee injury. Obviously Philadelphia had the benefit of having him in camp, so they put their names in and they feel he’s doing OK. Then we put in for the other kid, we put in for Veeder. Columbus has had a good history, winning Szetela, winning Rogers when I was there and now Veeder. He was a guy who can play outside back and fill along the back. We thought he would be good depth for us there, but it is what it is. We hope the next guy is even better and our chances and odds improve.”

(On keeping 33 guys in camp) “We’ve got some guys that we wanted to continue to give a look to. There are some tough battles going on in terms of positions. Young players one day a guy steps up, a guy steps back, the next day a guy steps up. We went through the exercise if we had to pick our team now we would be able to pick it and then we just decided, ‘Hey, it’s good to give these guys just one more look.’ You don’t know if a guy picks up an injury down there. So number-wise and the way our games were scheduled there because we have got to play our first two games on a Monday-Tuesday. So with it being a Monday-Tuesday and with it being so tight we really felt we wanted enough players to make sure we didn’t get ourselves in trouble in terms of trying to put a key player into a situation where he might get injured. A long answer to a short question basically we still want to look at these guys.”

(On the team’s fitness level) “I thought we were ahead coming into the season. We put more work in in Arizona than we did in Arizona last year. When we look at the numbers and the outputs and so forth of the players we feel alright. There were a lot of guys pretty much, at the end of the Arizona camp, were pretty beat. Now they have had a time to rejuvenate. The first day back when you are off for three, four days is never the best day because guys are a little sluggish and guys are trying to get back in the rhythm. But it was actually pretty uplifting. Guys looked sharp and quick and so forth, although a little rusty. Tomorrow should be a good day.”

(Weather like this make you want to push the trip up a day?) “We were thinking about it. (laughs). I actually went down to Los Angeles for a few days and came in last night. My temperature hit like 37, I go hey, ‘Welcome back.’ ”

(On how the team looked after the break?) “Eh, they were OK today. I mean that’s normal. When you’ve been off a couple days it seems like your timing’s off and you’re a little rusty and so forth. We want a little longer in the warm-up. We kept everything at big numbers pretty much today because that’s always easier coming off a day off. Tomorrow we’ll reduce the numbers, go a little sharper and tighter and we’ll see where guys are at.”

(How many roster spots are open for contention? Three? Four?) “Geez, I don’t know. It can be anywhere from 28-30 in terms of the guys we have on our roster. How many guys are locks or whatever? I wouldn’t know. I would tell you maybe 15 guys are locks, 14 or 15. The rest is all open as far as I’m concerned because people can push people up into different earnings categories and you’ve got to try and put your best team together. Some of it depends upon positional needs. So if you have a good young player but he plays a certain position it might knock off a veteran player who plays in that same position because you save a little bit of money, so that helps you out on the cap side of things. How is going to fit under the cap? All of those are questions. I would say probably 13-14 guys are pretty secure and you’d say those guys are automatic, but the rest of the guys are in a little bit of competition.”

JOSH FORD, goalkeeper

(On how things have gone with the GK group so far) “It’s definitely good because we’re all still here. It builds the confidence that the club likes you. It also builds that tension as we get to the final parts of cutting time and final roster spots and everything like that. All the goalkeepers here are aspiring to be great. We have one of the greats in Kasey Keller here, to be underneath him would be phenomenal, just to learn from a player of that caliber. Tommy Dutra, our goalkeeper coach, is very good at what he does. To be underneath those great guys and be able to learn a lot and pick up the game, it’s really exciting. Everyone wants to be a professional athlete. I have a chance now to still compete and still have that dream.”

(On the competition) “It’s kind of going back into the early college days. You just got to be able to get in there, get in the mix, make yourself known and show what you can do — what they expect you to do. When you get an opportunity to have to take a chance and run with it, but until you get that chance you have to keep working and working. The thing about being a goalkeeper is you have to work harder and harder and header and then sometimes you just have to catch that break. At the end of the day, you just do what you can and hope for that break and keep working. That’s the mentality: just keep working.”

(On earning praise for early work) “It’s definitely a plus to hear the head coach saying your name and praising you. Definitely getting into it, being a rookie, there’s always room for improvement. Just being able to learn from the older players and from the coaching staff, that allows you to grow much easier as a player. To be honest, I’m hoping there’s more to come for myself. I expect to be really good. I have the drive and the only way that can happen is through hard work and watching the greater players.”


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