Former Seattle Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani has joined the Tacoma Stars as an assistant coach for the coming Major Arena Soccer League season.
Zakuani was the Sounders’ first college draft pick before their expansion season, and he played with the club through 2013. After spending 2014 with the Portland Timbers he announced the end of his playing career, which was shortened by a series of health problems following a dangerous tackle by Colorado’s Brian Mullan in 2011.
Since then, he has appeared as an analyst on Sounders broadcasts and now has decided to add coaching duties.
“I’m excited to continue my involvement with soccer in the region,” Zakuani said in the Stars’ announcement. “Working with young players is a huge passion of mine and this is a great chance for me to learn from (head coach Darren Sawatzky) in a professional environment as I try to give back to a sport that gave me so much.”
Zakuani was raised in London, played with the Arsenal Youth Academy and went on to the University of Akron before becoming the first overall pick of Major League Soccer’s 2009 SuperDraft. Since retirement, he also has established Kingdom Hope, a charity that provides scholarships to young athletes in the region.
“Adding Steve to our coaching staff is incredible for the young players looking to work their way up the professional ladder,” Sawatzky said. “He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience from the highest level that you only gain by playing there.”
The Stars will begin their MASL season Oct. 24 at Dallas. Their home opener will be Nov. 6 against the Sacramento Surge at ShoWare Center in Kent.
Sounders central defender Chad Marshall was taken from Starfire Sports Complex by ambulance Wednesday after suffering an undetermined injury during training.
“He fell, hit his head. We’re obviously taking all the precautions,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “… You’re always going to err on the side of being conservative in a situation like that — any time it’s a head or a neck — and that’s what we’ve done, and we’ll know more later.”
Marshall is the reigning MLS defensive player of the year, an award he has won three times. He joined Seattle in 2014 after 10 seasons with the Columbus Crew.
At about 8:30 p.m., Marshall tweeted his own update: “Thank you everyone for the messages and well wishes. Really means a lot. Scans went well, and I'm doing all right.”
The Sounders’ top remaining options at central defense are Brad Evans and Zach Scott.
The Sounders have an off day Thursday. They will return Friday, preparing for their Sunday home match against the league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy.
Seattle already has lost starting central defender Roman Torres for the season following a knee injury Sept. 12 at San Jose.