It’s no secret that Eddie Johnson‘s career revival with Sounders FC and the U.S. men’s national team is one of the stories of the year in American soccer.
It should also be no surprise, then, that his success — particularly after some adversity in recent seasons — would have him as a leading candidate for MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
Coach Sigi Schmid said as much earlier this week.
Even while Johnson isn’t coming back from an injury, would Comeback Player of the Year be meaningful for him?
“I mean yeah and no,” he said after Friday’s practice. “I’ve won the award before in Kansas City. Like you said, coming back from an injury is one thing, but being a veteran player — this being the 11th year in my career — and never having a serious injury, Comeback Player really doesn’t mean that much to me.
“MLS Cup? Yeah. That means a lot to me — and other goals. But Comeback Player, I guess it’s just (from) putting in hard work out here, and credit to my teammates for pushing me here in Seattle … (but) it’s no special award to me.”
Johnson indeed won MLS Comeback Player of the Year in 2007 while with the Kansas City Wizards. He also wasn’t technically “coming back” that year, according to this AP report:
The Kansas City forward is not coming off injury, but a 2006 season filled with inconsistent play and absences because of playing for the U.S. national team and suspension.
“I think I’m at an age in my career where you look back and you want to look at what you’ve done,” Johnson said. “This is a special year to me, 28 years old, a lot more mature as a soccer player, and like I said, I want to leave a legacy behind and be a part of a team that won something, did something special. I feel like we have an opportunity to do that here in Seattle, so my main motivation and my main focus has been approaching every game like it’s a playoff and getting something out of every game that’s going to help our team put ourselves in a position to keep going. That’s kind of been my mindset over the last couple months.”