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February 17, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Teleconference quotes from Johnson, Hanauer, Schmid and Henderson

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgHere are some team-provided quotes from today. I’ll add to this over the weekend…

* * *

EDDIE JOHNSON, forward

(On joining the Sounders…) “I’m excited to get with the group tomorrow and train with the guys because it’s a good group of guys. I followed their season last season and they did really well. I’m just hoping I can bring my experience to the team, work hard every day, and try to accomplish the goals the coach has set forth for the team this year.”

(On why signing with MLS last year fell through…) “I’d been in Europe for three and a half years. I never really broke into the team in Fullham and went out on loan a couple times. On certain loans–like going to Preston and going to Greece–I went by myself. So my family was behind, my wife and my daughter, and I guess it was just a situation where I couldn’t figure out where I wanted to be in my career. A part of me wanted to come back to America because, like I said, I watched the highlights all the time every weekend when I’m in Europe. To be honest, I missed the league, but it was one of those things that I always wanted to test Europe and see how I could learn from experience over there. I was kind of in two minds. Part of me wanted to come back, and then it was something that I pulled out at the end.”

(On why he came back…) “They say, I guess in life, if it’s something that you want, and you go away from it, it always comes back. I guess in the end, my mind and my heart were both worked itself out in the end. I missed the league. I didn’t come back for the money–I know a lot of people were saying that–I came back because I wanted to get my career back going. I wanted to be in an environment where I knew I could be successful. I knew I’d still develop as a player. Like I said, Sigi’s a great coach. I had a chance to work with Chris Henderson in Kansas City and just wanted to be a part of the project, and add to the success that the team has already had.”

(On the state of MLS…) “The MLS is growing. The league is getting better. It’s helping our young players to develop and it’s helping our veteran players to develop. It’s shown with the players that in the last three or four years have come to MLS…I knew it’s still a level where I could still develop, being in the right environment.”

ADRIAN HANAUER, general manager/part owner

(On how the trade affects the strategy of the team…) “We want to get better in multiple ways. We want to be better come big games with our starting eleven. We also, obviously, want to be a deep team, as well, for Cups and Champions league. We’ve added pieces to the puzzle pre-season–guys like Christian Sivebaek who have come in and done real well. Guys are returning–we’ve got [Steve] Zakuani on his way to getting healthy. Although, it’s always difficult to part ways with quality young players and quality young men who have been a big part of our organization. We are very excited about brining Eddie to the team…a unique skill set and a type of forward that we don’t currently have on our team. It’s not an indication that we’re going to not try and win everything like we have in the past. It’s just a different roster configuration, I suppose.”

(On the trade…) “Certainly, Eddie has been a high profile player for a number of years in the US and in global football, so I suppose that this is a big transaction. But ultimately we will all be judged on the success of the team, and I know Eddie’s excited to get started and we’re excited to have him in camp…We’ll know how big of a transaction it is based on how we do results-wise.”

SIGI SCHMID, coach

(On the trade…) “I certainly want to express my gratitude and my thanks to Lamar [Neagle] and to Mike Fucito, who have been excellent in service to the club and provided so much for us in our first three years, and are exciting young players. We hated to part with them. Saying all that, it was unique opportunity…Eddie is a forward with vast international experience, is a forward who’s played in the World Cup, is a forward that has represented our country on a number of occasions, and is a player I know who still has goals in front of him, and wants to achieve those goals. He has the physical tools to make that happen.”

(On the offense…) “When you now look in the face of Seattle and you’re thinking about–Hey, I’m going up against Eddie Johnson, I’m going up against Fredy Montero, later down the line a Steve Zakuani, a Mauro Rosales. The defense has to spread itself out a little bit.”

(On if two and a half weeks is enough time to get him ready…) “The situation right now is one where we’re going to work with Eddie, we’re going to train him, we’re going to communicate, we’re going to talk. Trust is something that is very important. When we put him on the field we want to make sure he’s ready to go. Is that a starting role right now? Is that coming off the bench? Is that starting and getting as many minutes as he can and somebody else plays? That’s something that we’re going to determine as we train together as a group. Certainly, he’s going to have an impact in the Santos Laguna series. He’s an international player. He’s played in Mexico before. He’s played in World Cup qualifiers…He knows what that experience is like.”

(On Johnson adjusting…) “I think good players catch on very quickly. It didn’t take Mauro Rosales long, it didn’t take Fredy Montero long to catch his rhythm in our league, and it’s not going to take Eddie Johnson long to catch his coordination with the team and catch his rhythm. It’s just a matter of making sure that he’s ready fitness-wise. And we don’t put him in a situation where we put him in danger of injury that might put him out for a longer period of time, because he’s an important player to us.”

(On Eddie Johnson’s skills…) “He’s got pace, which is something that we wanted with a forward up front who can stretch the opponent’s defense. He’s shown his ability to finish in our league, as well. He’s good in the air. He’s a guy who can get on the end of crosses. As you know, we’re a team who does well with our wide play–we get to the end line and we create opportunities in the box–and I think Eddie’s going to be able to take advantage of those opportunities and make us a more dangerous team. We’re very excited, and I’m very excited as a coach to be able to add a player of his ability to the group that we have. It’s just another step forward for us as we try and win more things.”

CHRIS HENDERSON, technical director

(On if his history with Eddie in KC helped this deal get done…) “Eddie and I had a chance to talk the other day when he was down watching training and our game against the Crew. Eddie’s a great individual and he’s a guy who has tremendous ability to finish goals. For us to have the opportunity to get him at this time and his age and add him to our group is huge for the club. I think our relationship is good. Dave Tenney has worked with him in Kansas City, as well, so that’s important. I think we were able to make the moves–we lose some players that were with us–but to be able to add Eddie to our team…with the amount of games we have coming up with Champions League and Open Cup and the League and the playoffs, I think he’s going to be a great addition for our club.”

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