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March 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM

A stop and chat with two new Sounders

The Sounders roster is a step closer to completion after the signings of draft picks Andrew Duran and Babayele Sodade on Thursday. The two rookies will help fill in Seattle’s depth, but have all the tools to develop into contributors.

Reporters caught up with the pair after Thursday’s intersquad scrimmage down at Starfire and here are the transcripts of those conversations:

* * *

ANDREW DURAN, defender

(How’s it feel?) “I’m super excited. I’ve been training here for a month and a half now, so I’ve kind of got a feel for the guys on the team. I’m just really overjoyed to be here and be a part of this program. The opening game yesterday and 11,000 fans there — that’s more fans than I’ve ever seen. I’m really excited to see the big crowds.”

(Did being in front of a crowd help it sink in?) “The first time we ran out it was surreal almost with those fans there — before the game even, for the warm-ups. I was talking to Brad Evans about how many people were going to be there and he said five or six thousand. (The actual crowd was) double that number. It should be even better when we walk out for the first time against Santos Laguna.”

(When did you find out and were you always comfortable it was coming?) “I found out officially I think a couple days ago. You’re here all preseason on a whim and a hope, and you’ve just got to play that way — just play like you’re on the team. I mean I wasn’t overly confident, but you have to play with some confidence to make the team. I think that’s what helped me out.”

(What has the last six weeks been like in terms of your soccer progression?) “I’ve gotten a lot better, I’d have to say. You jump in with these pros and it takes a week or two to get accustomed to the speed of play, but once you get that down it’s about trying to improve every day. The first team, when you play with them you’re just at a different level. I think getting to that last step is where it’s at now.”

(What are you going to buy first?) “I don’t know. An apartment. Somewhere to live instead of a hotel.”


(How’s it feel?) “It feels great. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. It’s every soccer player’s dream growing up. You see everyone on TV (and you’re) like: ‘I want to be just like them.’ Now I get to be one of those guys that kids look up to now and think, ‘I want to be just like him.’ So, it feels great. It feels amazing.”

(You’d talked about possible involvement with the Canadian Olympic team. Any updates on that front?) “I’m actually going out to Fort Lauderdale on the 13th. We have a Canadian camp, so I’ll be gone from the 13th until the 20th and try to make the team. It’s just a camp, and we have a 20-man roster after that. Hopefully I have a good showing at the camp and then hopefully play in Nashville against the U.S., Cuba and El Salvador in one of the groups.”

(Does this give you a little momentum going in there?) “It gives me a little head-start. I’ve been training for two months now. It feels good (having been) training with top-class players.”

(Who’s helped you out the past several weeks?) “Everyone. Everyone’s helped me out. I’ll get little advice from defenders, goalkeepers, midfielders — everyone’s been great trying to help me transition. The coaching staff has helped me out a lot. I used to do things in college that now I can’t do as much because everyone’s bigger and everyone’s stronger, so I have to adjust real quickly.”

(What kind of adjustments have you made?) “You have to be smarter and you have to think two steps ahead. I’m still in the transition, it’s not complete — I’m still learning. Once that comes, I think I’ll be ready to make a contribution.”

(And the goals ascend from here?) “That’s how it is for everyone. Try to make the team first. Then make the team and build your way up. That’s the nature of life, even in work positions. It’s like a job. I just have to work hard every day and hopefully my hard work pays off.”

(A job where you get to play in front of thousands of people…) “It’s not bad, too! It’s a fun job. I can’t complain.”


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