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Reporters were greeted with a surprise Thursday. Instead of normal training outside at Starfire, practice was indoors.
Oh yeah, and it was Dodgeball Day (I captured some footage of the championship round above). The winning team consisted of Alvaro Fernandez, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Sammy Ochoa, Roger Levesque, Marc Burch and Andy Rose.
“We’ve talked about it and we said it’s been a long season and … we needed to incorporate some things to just have some fun sometimes. It’s something that we sort of concocted about three or four days ago. And I know (assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson) said, ‘Yeah, but we need to do something for our preparation for our reserve game.’ (laughs) The reserve game doesn’t matter to me, what matters for me is the following Tuesday.
“We organized it with our former dodgeball player Tom Dutra, who played in an adult league. He brought out his old uniform. [Ed note: Dutra, the team’s goalkeeper coach, is in white in the video.] We showed them the instructional video from the movie, so that they all had an idea. Then we found out that Flaco is actually very good at dodgeball. I think he’s thinking about starting a competitive league in Uruguay, with himself as commissioner. I think he feels good about it.
“You heard the laughing and stuff, the good-natured jousting and stuff. The guys had a good time, and that was the intention. They got a little bit of a workout in, as well. Guys broke a sweat, for sure. I don’t know how guys can hold a ball and still manage to get hit with the other ball … in private places. That was sort of interesting.”
Schmid indicated there will be more surprises later in the season:
“We’ve got some more things up our sleeve,” he said. “It used to be great when I coached at UCLA because all that you’d do is go down to the beach and have a beach training day. So it was sort of easy to do some things away from things at times. Here we have to be a little more creative. We thought this was a good one and we’ve got another one that we’re talking about doing with them. But the softball worked out well (last year). Watching (Erik) Friberg trying to catch a fly ball was interesting. I remember that. That was one of the highlights of that game.”
So would the Sounders have had a fun day of dodgeball if they lost to Atlanta in a U.S. Open Cup game Wednesday?
“We’d have done it either way, I think,” Schmid said. “We just needed to get that spirit. We thought we’ve been training so long that it had gotten a little bit stale; sometimes you get stale and you want to refresh things. We tried to do that in our training sessions, change some things around and so forth. It’s been good. You saw the spirit they played with last night, as well. The spirit they played with last night was good.”