Newcomer Parsemain impresses Sounders FC

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comFebruary 19, 2014 

With at least four competitions to go, two players share the goal-scoring lead for Seattle Sounders FC this preseason.

One is no surprise: designated player Obafemi Martins.

However, the other is little-known training camp invitee Kevin Parsemain.

Each scored two goals as the Sounders went 3-0-1 during the Arizona portion of preseason training.

That fast start felt satisfying for Parsemain, a Martinique-born striker, but he realizes he has a long way to go.

“It’s the first time I am on a high-level team,” he said last week after training at Starfire Sports in Tukwila. “I did well on the two goals, but I have to be better because I didn’t play at this level. I have some difficulties at this level. But I enjoy playing with a lot of good players, and I have to learn a lot next to them.”

Parsemain once played in France with the Le Mans reserve team. But more recently he played for Riviere-Pilote, where he won the 2010-11 scoring title at the top level of soccer in Martinique.

However, he cautions that it isn’t a very high level.

“We are not professional, so we have to go to school, we have to go and work,” Parsemain said. “That’s the problem in Martinique: We don’t train enough, and the teams don’t have enough money to improve their facilities and the stadiums. There are not a lot of fans at the games.”

That made supporter interest one of the first differences Parsemain noticed in his jump from Martinique to Seattle.

“At the first training, I was so shocked to see a lot of fans – 100 fans – at the first training,” he said. “It’s unbelievable for me.”

While Parsemain has been impressed so far with the Sounders, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid also has been impressed with Parsemain.

“He’s technically very good,” Schmid said. “He’s pretty clean on the ball. And when he gets around the 18, he looks to beat people. He has a good ability to find himself a little bit of space and cause some problems and cause some dangers.”

Another player who routinely causes trouble for opposing defenses is Martins, who joined the Sounders last season and tied for second on the club with eight goals.

He got off to a fast start this preseason, scoring twice in the first half of the Sounders’ first training game: a 2-1 win over San Jose on Feb. 5.

“It’s good to start the preseason with my teammates,” Martins said. “I’m having fun with them. … We play as a team and now we have a lot of good players — like Marco Pappa — who can play as well. The young players as well, they’re good.”

The Sounders play again Saturday against the USL-Pro Charleston Battery, the first of three games in the 2014 Carolina Challenge Cup.

“Preseason is very important,” Martins said. “You’re playing with the team and getting to know your teammates. Like traveling to Arizona, training there 12 days, you get used to each other as well: not just playing, but as a family, as a team.”

ADDED TIME

The Sounders will travel to Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday. In addition to the Challenge Cup competition, the club also will play a friendly against the Charleston of Charleston on Sunday. Schmid indicated the Sounders are looking to line up another friendly while away. … Right back DeAndre Yedlin was held out of Tuesday training at Starfire Sports due to what Schmid indicated is a minor ankle injury.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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