In an attempt to get a candid analysis of Sounders FC’s rookie class, coach Sigi Schmid sought out the team’s veterans. They’d be sure to offer a harsh critique on newbies that weren’t up to the MLS standard.
“But when I talked to the older players, they said, ‘Practice is good no matter who we’re combined with. Everyone can play,’ ” Schmid said.
Of Seattle’s eight SuperDraft and supplemental draft picks, six rookies remain firmly in the mix for a roster spot. So impressed is Schmid that after a spirited morning of scrimmaging Wednesday, he addressed the first-year players at lunch about their encouraging start.
“You guys are making it very hard for the coaches,” he told them. “It’s very competitive, and our decisions are going to be very difficult.”
Defender Leone Cruz said the jump to the big leagues was daunting at first.
“I came from a small private school,” said the Southern Methodist product. “Then you come to the best organization in the MLS and you have some pretty big shoes to fill, you know?”
The welcome from Sounders FC fans and team officials has made the jump more manageable. Midfielder Servando Carrasco said teammates have been eager to help as well.
“It’s been an easy transition because the guys are so welcoming and so accepting,” said Carrasco, who has been rooming with star forward Fredy Montero in Arizona. “When you’re comfortable off the field it really translates on the field. It brings the best out of you.”
Other rookies in that impressive group include defender/midfielder Michael Tetteh (who is already signed with the league as a member of the Generation Adidas class); defender Corey Attaway; and a pair of goalkeepers, Bryan Meredith and Josh Ford.
A strong start, however, hardly guarantees a contract.
“There’s definitely a competitive feeling just around,” said Carrasco. “You have to fight for your position and earn the right to be here.”