I’m actually supposed to be on vacation these next couple weeks, so here is Sounders FC’s press release on Osvaldo Alonso signing a new deal that makes him a designated player. The team’s three DPs are Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Alonso. Mauro Rosales could still return for 2014, but he would no longer be a DP.
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Sounders FC Release
Seattle Sounders FC has signed midfielder Osvaldo Alonso to a multi-year contract, the club announced today. Alonso will occupy one of Seattle’s Designated Player spots.
“Ozzie is the ultimate competitor who has given everything to Sounders FC,” said Sounders FC Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer. “His passion for the game of soccer and his drive to be the best are validated by being named team MVP four-consecutive seasons by his teammates. Ozzie is a key building block for our club and we are happy to sign him to a long-term contract extension.”
Alonso, 28, has been a steady presence in Seattle’s midfield since signing with the club on January 27, 2009. He is a three-time MLS-All Star and was named Sounders FC MVP for four consecutive seasons. Alonso continued to establish himself this season as one of the league’s premier defensive midfielders while leading MLS in passing accuracy (88.58).
“Alonso is the model of consistency for us in central midfield,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “His on-field leadership and tenacious play make him one of the top holding midfielders in the league.”
Alonso made 26 starts in the 2013 regular season, logging 2,179 minutes, becoming the first player in club history to make 110 starts, 120 appearances and play 10,000 minutes. Overall, Alonso leads Sounders FC in games played (139), games started (135), minutes (11,839) and ranks second in shots (180). He is also tied-fifth with 12 assists, tied-10th with six goals and his two postseason goals are second-most in club history.
“I am excited for the contract Seattle gave me,” said Alonso. “I am very happy for the confidence they placed in me to play several more years here. I hope I can help bring an MLS Cup to Seattle.”
In addition to his three-straight All-Star selections, Alonso was also named to the MLS Best XI and earned U.S. Open Cup Player of the Tournament honors in 2012, helping lead Sounders FC to its first-ever Western Conference Championship series. In February of 2011, Alonso signed a contract extension with Sounders FC through the 2014 season. He set career highs in 2011 with 33 appearances, 32 starts, 2,891 minutes and three goals with three assists.
In 2010, Alonso was instrumental in Sounders FC compiling the best record in MLS over the second half of the season, returning from a seven-game absence due to injury to lead Seattle to a 9-2-2 record. He also helped the defense to nine of its 11 shutouts. In his first season in MLS, Alonso made 27 appearances in 2009, scoring one goal and three assists.
A native of Cuba, Alonso defected during the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Houston. He made 17 international appearances for Cuba, scoring twice. Earlier he served as captain of the U-23 national team during qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games. Alonso was granted full U.S. citizenship on June 16, 2012.
Alonso played three years (2005-07) for FC Pinar del Rio, winner of the Cuban championship in 2006.
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Here are some additional quotes from Alonso sent out by the team:
(On signing a new contract…) “For me, it was a good thing that Seattle gave to me and I hope to pay them back and keep playing like I did the last couple of years.”
(On having stability after starting his career with so much uncertainty…) “I look back on six years and I can’t imagine this has happened to me – playing professionally and being a citizen in the United States. For me, it’s unbelievable. Playing here, being in Seattle with the fans. When I look back to when I defected and to be playing right now, it’s amazing for me. I never imagined it would be like it is now.”
(On how his new contract compares to other moments in his life…) “This contract is different. I have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders now. I have to keep going and play my game and play the best for the team. Signing this contract is going to be a good challenge for me.”