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November 27, 2012 at 12:03 AM

Andrew Weber reflects on an up-and-down first season with Sounders FC

weber mug 2012.jpgNote: I did a few interviews late in the season with some Sounders who weren’t in the regular rotation. While they might not have been the most relevant during, say, the team’s playoff run, I felt they might prove worthwhile in the offseason. First up, goalkeeper Andrew Weber.

* * *

My very first interview with Andrew Weber was certainly a memorable one. It involved asking the question: “Are you going to be in the upcoming season of The Amazing Race?”

He hadn’t even earned a contract yet.

Weber’s side plot was over after a few episodes — he and his twin brother, Elliot, didn’t last long on the reality show — and then it became all about soccer. And while Weber actually saw the most playing time in his five-year MLS career this season, he ultimately spent much of it either as a backup behind starter Michael Gspurning or injured.

I asked him midway through the team’s playoff run to reflect on his first year in Seattle.

“I’ve been injured, and at the wrong times,” he said.

Here’s the rundown.

Weber first suffered a high ankle sprain in April against the Portland Timbers in an MLS Reserve League action, and that opened the door for Bryan Meredith to get playing time during Gspurning’s long absence with the hip strain.

Ten games later, following the Sounders’ 4-1 loss to Montreal, Weber was healthy enough to start, which he did for three MLS games and the team’s U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal win at San Jose. Then, during a June 30 road game at New England — you guessed it — he suffered another injury, this time to his adductor.

“Having to say that I can’t go anymore was another (crappy) deal,” said Weber, who would aggravate the injury again a couple months later.

“It’s just been frustrating, but I felt I’ve kept a level head and done well when I’ve played. I think the coaching staff still believes in me, and you can only control what you can control.”

Three games, three starts and 225 minutes were career bests.

But there was another event that affected Weber this season — the signing of veteran Marcus Hahnemann. It was a feel-good story of a Seattle native and former lower-league Sounder fulfilling a dream he thought was over, though it did have an impact on Weber, who eventually lost his spot as the backup.

So what did Weber think of the Hahnemann signing?

“They’re going to do what they’re going to do,” he said. “I think I’ve been training really well. I’ve spoken to them and said my piece. Marcus has played in the EPL; he’s played at a high level. It definitely was a shock to me that they wanted to go get a goalkeeper. There are probably other reasons why they grabbed him, as well. I don’t know. He’s a good goalie, and I don’t know how much time he’s got left, but it’s a decision they made and a decision that you just have to deal with. What are you going to do? You can talk until you’re blue in the face about it. It doesn’t change how I go about my daily routine, and what I’m going to do, and what I need to bring to the team. I keep fighting for my position and coaches will make decisions at the end of the day.”

Now about 2013.

Gspurning was one of the best goalkeepers in MLS this past season, so he’s set to return as the starter. Hahnemann gave multiple indications that he’ll be back, and one would think he’ll presumably continue as the backup. Meredith and Josh Ford are in the picture, as well.

So has Weber thought about if the best opportunity for him might be with another team next season?

“I haven’t put much thought into it yet,” he said. “I think I need to wait and see where I actually stand. I’m happy to be with the Sounders — it’s a great organization, a great team. I’m here for now, and when the time comes, if they decide to go a different route, then so be it. I’ll talk to my agent and we’ll go from there. Right now, I’m happy to be with Seattle and happy to be with the team. (The situation has been) unfortunate, but I can’t control it. I don’t think it has anything to do with my play or how I’ve played. I’d been the No. 2 when I wasn’t injured. It’s frustrating, but it’s a good learning tool, and you move forward. That’s all I can really say about that.”

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