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Sounders FC

Daily coverage of Seattle Sounders FC, MLS and world soccer.

March 8, 2012 at 11:52 PM

A stop and chat with Sounders FC goalkeeper coach Tom Dutra

dutra mug 2012.jpgI had a chance to catch up with Sounders FC goalkeeper coach Tom Dutra earlier this week. This came on the heels of Andrew Weber’s signing and the news that the team will carry four goalkeepers at the start of the season.

Wednesday’s game answered one of the questions I had, as Weber served as a the backup to Michael Gspurning, but here’s the rest of the conversation with Dutra, an Olympia native:

* * *

(It’s official now. Andrew Weber is a Sounder. What do you like about him?) “He’s very daring. He’s good on crosses. He’s very athletic. He comes with age; he’s 28, so he’s coming into his own as a ‘keeper. He provides experience, both in Champions League and Open Cup games, as well.”

(How do you weigh experience, in years or games, as you try to determine your backup?) “Getting games is what gives you experience. There’s nothing that can replicate games. That’s the toughest thing: do you take a young goalkeeper and hope that he gets better (with games) or do you take somebody that’s older and is more mature and hope to get him games so he can keep growing.”

(If game experience is similar among your backups, do you notice Weber having more years of professional training?) “Yeah, exactly. For sure. He’s been a pro longer, so he’s not as naive in the position. He’s been around longer. So for sure that experience helps him.”

(Was Weber someone you’d had an eye on?) “Yeah. I remember him when he was at Montreal in the USL days. I also watched him in reserve games against us. You’re always thinking about who might become available and who is available. You’re always trying to look at who can fill that role as a backup goalkeeper, a guy that can come in and play if he needs to play. I’m always looking at stuff like that. That’s the nature of the position.”

(Do you ever really need to name a backup goalkeeper? Can that be a position that remains in flux throughout the year? Is there a benefit to having some stability?) “For me, I’m always evaluating every day who’s going to be the backup. Every day. If our No. 1 goes down, that guy has to be ready to come in and play. It can’t be, ‘Well, he may not play, so why don’t we reward this guy?’ No. They have to earn it every day. Some teams may do it differently, but that’s the way we do it here. Every day I evaluate them and say, ‘Who’s ahead? Who’s not ahead?’ and take that into account.”

(Were you glad to see the team commit to carrying four goalkeepers at the start of the year, even with Josh Ford’s injury?) “Absolutely. I’m really happy. I like the progress that Josh made last year. When he came in and played in the reserve game last year I was very happy. Josh has a very good future, but unfortunately his knee is not where it needs it to be. Bryan grew last year. Bryan needed those games with the Pumas and he needed to train with us every day to keep growing, and I was very happy with his progress. He’s done very well this year. He came in fit and he did the things we asked him to do in the offseason, so he’s pushing. He’s knocking on the door every day right now and I’m very happy with his progress — a little surprised, to be honest with you.”

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