Alex Caskey wasn’t good enough in 2011. Drafted by Seattle in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft, he went unsigned in training camp and ended up playing for the Charleston Battery in USL PRO.
But his Sounders story didn’t end there.
He came back the next preseason, made the team in 2012 and has worked himself into a regular contributor. Games started the past 12 months have included last year’s U.S. Open Cup final, a Western Conference semifinal game and both CONCACAF Champions League semifinal legs. The Dunwoody, Ga., native has also featured in five of the first six MLS games this season.
“It’s nice to be trusted to come in, play in big games, be able to play a role and do what I can to help the team,” he said earlier this month. “I think getting quality time last year made them feel more comfortable playing me earlier in the season this year.”
Caskey said he was pleasantly surprised he was able to make 20 league appearances last year (his four assists were tied for third on the team). The goal for 2013 was to keep progressing and play as much or more.
When coach Sigi Schmid was asked what he likes about Caskey, he praised the midfielder for being an someone who “always gives you an honest effort” and boasts great versatility, a dangerous shot from distance, quick feet and good ball skills.
And has Caskey had a chance to reflect on how far he’s come in such a short time?
“I have,” he said. “I think I had a chance over the offseason to kind on reflect on it — coming from not making the team two years ago to playing a significant role last year. I was happy about it, but in our career path, you can’t be satisfied with anything, you know? That’s when you become complacent and other people pass you and whatnot. I just have to keep looking forward and keep trying to get better.”