There are a handful of Sounders who are yet to play a single minute this season in MLS, the U.S. Open Cup or CONCACAF Champions League, including Michael Seamon (top left), Michael Tetteh (top right) and Andrew Duran (bottom).
And while they have all seen time in the MLS Reserve League, it’s probably not enough to maximize their development as young players.
So how can the Sounders solve that? Well, one option is through loaning them out to lower-division team, which Seattle has done in the case of Duran.
Coach Sigi Schmid explained more about the process last week:
“When a player’s not getting a lot of games, sometimes maybe there’s a team in the second division — in the NASL or USL — that’s had an injury or something,” he said. “Their forward is out or their midfielder, so they use your player for a game. He’s then in a situation where he gets 90 minutes or close to it, gets a chance fitness-wise, gets in the rhythm of a game and then he rejoins your team after a game or two with them.”
Duran, a rookie defender, has been on an indefinite loan with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL since June 15. He has started the last six games and been getting time at right back — a position change from center back that Schmid had wanted to see. A positive move so far by all accounts.
With that in mind, I asked Schmid today why Tetteh (who played a few games for lower-league Orlando City last year) or Seamon haven’t gone out on loan this season.
“For some of the teams, it’s easier,” Schmid said, “because if you’re Philly and you’re loaning a guy to Harrisburg, it’s an hour drive up the highway. He plays a game, comes back, trains with you and goes a plays a game there. For us, loaning a player is a little more of a difficult situation because he actually has to go there. So some of the teams say, ‘Yeah, we’d love to (have him on loan), but can you pay for his airfare? Can you play for his hotel? Can you pay for his meals and his family coming here?’ And it just doesn’t work out sometimes. But obviously those guys getting games is important. We’re always looking for places and opportunities that they can maybe get a game or two, but it just hasn’t worked out.”
Goalkeeper Josh Ford and defender Daniel Steres are others I probably could have included in the question — it slipped my mind at the time. Rookie forward Babayele Sodade also hasn’t seen time this season, but he’s currently recovering from a long-term knee injury.
As was covered back during his MLS comeback, midfielder Steve Zakuani is another player the Sounders have discussed loaning out to get minutes, which would help facilitate a full recovery.
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What do you make of young players going out on loan?