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January 20, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Rookies talk about their first day

Reporters got the chance to talk to rookie Andrew Duran, Babayele Sodade and Andy Rose today after their first official training session with the Sounders. Here’s what they had to say:

* * *

BABAYELE SODADE, second round SuperDraft pick, forward

(Did you make it in OK?) “Yes I did, Tuesday night, before the storm hit. I was a little nervous I wasn’t going to make it.”

(What’s your snow experience?) “I’m from Canada, so I’m comfortable with it. This isn’t a storm really. It’s normal. I was looking around like, ‘This is a storm?’ when everyone’s like, ‘We’re going to go under.’ But it’s good. I’m enjoying Seattle so far.”

(What was your first day like?) “It’s always tough in the first day of practice trying to know people. I don’t know everyone’s name yet. Everything is hectic. Everyone is running around trying to impress coach Sigi Schmid. But you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. Obviously the first day has been 100 miles an hour, but I’m glad it’s over and tomorrow we can settle down.”

(What was your reaction to being drafted?) “I was excited. I mean it’s Seattle — amazing fans, amazing city. I came up here in the fall. I played against the University of Washington and Portland in the Husky Classic and I loved it. When I came I said, ‘Man, if I could play in Seattle next year, it’d be a dream come true.’ I was so happy when Seattle picked me. I was smiling from ear to ear.”

(What’s the reaction been on Twitter? You have hundreds of more followers, right?) “Oh man, honestly, when I heard my name get called my phone wouldn’t stop ringing because I had my Twitter notification email me, and I had about 800 emails. I had to go in and delete, delete, delete, delete — it took me about an hour to delete everything. It’s wonderful. It shows that fans appreciate soccer in Seattle. You can tell, with (about) 50 consecutive sellouts in Seattle — it’s amazing. I can’t complain. I’ll delete as emails that come. I don’t care.”

(You can turn that off, you know?) “(laughs) I figured that out!”

(How would you describe your game?) “I’ve seen O’Brian White play and I feel like I can come in and learn from him, learn from Fredy Montero. I feel like I have a mixture of O’Brian White and Fredy Montero. I could potentially — I’m not quite that good yet. But the more and more I play with the Sounders, practice with them and learn from them, I feel like I could contribute a lot to this organization.”

(Do you think playing with the Sounders could help with more U-23 experience for Canada?) “Actually, I just got notified that I was on the 30-man preliminary roster for the Olympics. The qualifications are in Nashville, Tennessee, in April. So hopefully if I make the Sounders and perform well, I’ll get the call up and then hopefully play in qualifying against the United States, which would be fun.”

ANDY ROSE, Supplemental Draft day trade, midfielder

(What was your reaction to coming to Seattle after the trade?) “I was overwhelmed. This is definitely the place I wanted to be. Obviously Salt Lake picked me up, and I was reading on the Internet about Utah and I got a phone call and was just overjoyed, really. This is definitely the place I want to be and I was excited.”

(How much time was in between being drafted by RSL and then traded?) “It was a good hour, hour and a half or so. I was getting pretty set. I was reading the articles on Utah and what to expect. I know one of the guys — Will Johnson — on that team and I was just trying to get in touch with him and then all of a sudden I get the phone call that I’m coming here. I had a great meeting with Sigi and the guys up at the combine, and it gave me a great feeling about Seattle. I’ve been up here once and trained with the team, and it was definitely a surprise and a welcome one.”

(Did you know Sigi Schmid much personally and what’s his standing at UCLA?) “He’s a UCLA legend. When I went there, you hold the mantle for four years, it’s a great place to be and obviously he’s a big name around there. We tried to carry on that tradition. I had four great years there and I think it really prepared me for this level. I’ve trained up here with Sigi before so I know him a little bit. I know he’s watched quite a few of our games and been down to Westwood a few times. (It’s) obviously incredible to work with a coach like that, a big name and someone great to learn from.”

(And David Estrada also a familiar guy?) “Yeah, of course. David and I used to live together, my sophomore year and his senior year — so close friends with him. He was the first one I called when I heard I was coming up here and he’s been great since I’ve been here. Obviously it’s nice to know a guy or two coming in who can give you the rundown. Everyone’s been great so far so I really excited to get going.”

(How did you take not being selected in the SuperDraft?) “I didn’t take it too personally or anything like that. I felt like I had maybe done enough to get selected, but I knew that being an international player it’s a little bit tougher sometimes. I’ve seen a couple of my friends last year got dropped to the supplemental draft in the same position. And at the end of the day, wherever you get picked, when you come in here and you’re on level ground and you’ve just got to show what you can do during preseason and hope you get picked by the team. It doesn’t matter if you get picked first or last, you’ve got to go and prove yourself and do what you can and influence the game and try to get your name out there and make the team. So I wasn’t too fussed about it. It’s led me to this point, so I’m happy to be here and there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

(Have you talked to the Sounders about your role here?) “I had a great meeting with them at the combine and they kind of made it clear that they liked me as a player. Every time we played UW they’ve seen me play, and they’ve been down to UCLA a couple of times. I think I play the type of soccer that they want to play here. Watching the team the past few years, they really try to pass the ball and keep it on the ground — not every MLS team plays like that — and that’s the kind of thing I bring to the game. I like to keep it simple: one and two-touch and I play a passing game. I think that saw that and liked that in me. I’m a hard worker, so I’m here to prove myself and hopefully I’ll make the next step.”

ANDREW DURAN, first round SuperDraft pick, defender

(How was your travel here?) “I actually got in on Tuesday. They were saying there was a huge storm coming, but I didn’t really notice it because I got here and it was beautiful. I come from Chicago so it was pretty nice. Then it all came down right after I got here. It was pretty interesting.”

(How was your first practice?) “It’s just kind of the first day, getting back into it, but it was difficult. At this level it’s always going to be hard. I’m just trying to push myself and push the people around me, try to improve every day and make the team a better team.”

(On coming in from a great Creighton defense…) “We had a great season, it was a testament to our whole team, front to back, our whole coaching staff. We just showed we can play at that level and hopefully we can play at this level as well.”

(What’s difference been like in the pro game?) “I was humbled when I was here. MLS is a tough league to play in; a lot of people don’t think so, but I can tell you it’s very hard and it’s difficult to make it.

(Was the speed of play faster?) “It’s fast. I was out here last summer and I was extremely humbled by the speed of play. I was in the middle of 5v2 forever and I expect it to be like that. I’m just trying to improve myself and the guys around me and help the team.”

(Any Pat Noonan references with the beard?) “Not yet. This will be the first, but I’ve heard them before. Trying to keep (the beard) in the cold weather here.”

(Being a Midwest guy, want to play with the orange ball in the snow?) “We actually had those for an NCAA tournament game when it was snowing, but fortunately we didn’t use them, we got delayed. I’ll take the white ball any day.”

(On your preseason goals…) “It’s just basically improving yourself and the guys around you. I’m just trying to help the team become the best team we can be, that’s first and foremost. The coaching staff is here to push every player to be the best they can be and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

(And an exciting new start for you?) “When I got drafted I was super excited to come to a great city like Seattle. I loved it last summer and I feel like I’m going to love it here now. I’m excited.”


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