There were a handful of new faces at Sounders FC training today, including Federal Way native Kelyn Rowe, who plays collegiately at UCLA.
With Wednesday’s friendly looming, I asked coach Sigi Schmid if any non-contract players might get some action against Manchester United.
“The only trialist that we’re looking at playing is (Mrisho) Ngassa,” he said. “We haven’t had a chance to see him yet on a real big field because just of our training schedule and the amount of games that we’ve had. We haven’t done a lot of big-field stuff in between, so it will be good to see him on a big field.”
Ngassa is a 22-year-old speedy wing player from Tanzania. He was brought to the Sounders in an effort to strengthen the team’s relationship with clubs in East Africa.
“It’s a loose affiliation at this point, although we are trying to put something more structured in place,” said general manager Adrian Hanauer last week. “It’s a relationship that has evolved over the last five years or so. We believe that there is some opportunity in East Africa. We would like to create a link, a pipeline. We are planning to do so with a team called African Lyon in Dar es Salaam. Ngassa happens to come from a different team called Azam, which were willing to work with African Lyon and ourselves in bringing him out for a trial. We are excited about the relationship. We’ve got work to do to make it more robust, but it’s something we think could pay dividends down the line — two years, three years, five years, 10 years.”