Sounders FC’s Babayele Sodade announced a big step in his recovery from an ACL tear recently on Twitter and I caught up with the rookie forward earlier this week for an update on his progress.
Here is the transcript of that conversation:
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(You mentioned on Twitter that you’ve made some significant progress in your recovery. Can you give an update on how you’re doing?) “Well, I’ve been limited a lot lately because, as you can imagine, an ACL tear takes a long time, usually six to nine months, but I’ve been trying to work hard. I just got done with my four-month mark. Usually you’re limiting in cutting, you can’t cut as much, and once you can start cutting, that’s when big jumps start happening. Your recovery period varies from player to player, so just depending on how hard I work I can be back to playing in a month or I can be back playing in another five months. I’m just going to keep working.
“On the board, like I said on Twitter, I jumped from red to blue. If you’re on red, you can barely practice. You just run around like I’ve been doing for the past three months. So jumping to blue is a big step. I’m tired of running without touching a ball. So now I can actually warm up with the team, like I’ve been doing for the past week. … It’s been fun. It gives me more motivation. The more progress I see, the more motivation I get waking up in the morning, saying, ‘Yes, I want to do this.’ The first couple months were tough because you don’t have much progress … but you’ve just got to keep pushing. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”
(So on Wednesday, when practice resumes, will you be doing more than you have been?) “I think. I’ve been doing the passing drills with the team, but once we get into open play and big games, I can’t really do that yet. Hopefully I can start shooting. That’s my next step. I’m trying to convince the trainer to get me into the shooting drills at the end of the practice.”
(Did you set goals in terms of playing time for later this season?) “Personal goals for me, when I talked to the doctor, Dr. Morris, he said maybe I could be back for the last reserve game, which is September 23, I believe. That’s my goal. But if not, I’m hoping we’ve already qualified for the next round of the Champions League and I could play the last (group-stage) game. Hopefully. That’s my goal. That’s what I’ve been shooting for, but you never know. I might not play this year. That’s fine as long as I keep working hard next year and come back ready.”
(You’ve still been able to go to meetings, watch games and things like that. Does it still feel like you’ve been able to get stuff out of this year even if you haven’t been playing?) “Oh yeah, definitely. Just watching the games from the press box at CenturyLink, it opens my eyes rather than just watching it on TV, like I’ve usually done in the past. I see how the players move and I see you have to be hungry in front of the net like Eddie has been. And now Fredy is starting to (heat up). It helps a lot being with the guys, doing passing drills with them recently and seeing how crisp and sharp they are and you have to be. I’m working hard and trying to soak in as much as I can even if I’m not playing.”
(How are things going on Twitter? It seems like you’re getting pretty popular with the fans?) “Naw, I’m just trying to make use of my time wisely. (laughs) … There wasn’t much I’ve been able to do. I don’t know what I’m doing; I’m just trying to have fun.”