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March 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid tells 950 KJR he’s “very, very encouraged” by Zakuani’s progress

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid has been making the rounds on the radio the past couple days, and Tuesday afternoon he was on 950 KJR-AM radio with Ian Furness in advance of tomorrow night’s big CONCACAF Champions League game.

Here’s a link to the interview that ran about 10 minutes. One of the topics covered was the progress of midfielder Steve Zakuani as he continues to recover from complications stemming from a broken leg suffered last year.

“He’s coming along,” Schmid told KJR. “When you’re coming back from an injury like he’s had, some people that haven’t had injuries, or if you’re outside of sports, they think every day you just do a little better and eventually you’re back. It’s really a situation of where you get better and you plateau for a while. Then you get better and then you plateau for a while. He’s on a little bit of a plateau now, but he made great strides from the beginning of preseason to now. We’re trying to keep him at that plateau for about another week and then we’re going to push him again. But I’m very, very encouraged that he’ll be able to make it back full-out. You see glimpses of it. Yesterday we played goals in tight, and I wasn’t watching, but my assistant coaches told me he scored a couple of fantastic goals. So the glimpses are definitely coming back and I think everyone wishes him all the best because that was a horrific injury last year.”

Furness then asked if Zakuani can regain his speed.

“I can’t say,” Schmid answered. “Every time you have an injury like that, do you ever get back to the same level of speed? I’m not sure. But the thing that Steve has that a lot of people didn’t maybe rate high enough is Steve is a very good passer of the ball. So he never made his existence purely by dribbling and speed. That was the thing that got the fans to the edge of their seats and had people standing and cheering, and the explosive part (was what) you loved and admired, but he’s also a very good passer. So even if he loses a little bit of speed, he’ll still be very effective because he’ll be able to maybe pass a little bit more, and people will see what an outstanding passer he is. But his sharpness, his quickness over the five to 10 yards is something I think he’ll be able to get back, too.”

* * *

What do you think of Schmid’s assessment of Zakuani, or the rest of the interview if you heard it?

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