I'm in California ... but Northern California with the Huskies, not Southern California with the Sounders.
Still, I do plan on catching the San Jose Earthquakes training session tomorrow and try to get something Sounders/MLS related out of that.
Meanwhile, here's the Thursday report from the Sounders, including a couple of player additions:
The following players participated: Osvaldo Alonso, Nicola Andelic*, Evan Brown, Ryan Caugherty*, Jeff Clark*, Ben Dragavon, Brad Evans, Chris Eylander, Taylor Graham, Patrick Ianni, Danny Jackson, Nate Jaqua, Kasey Keller, Stephen King, Quavas Kirk*, Sebastien Le Toux, Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero, Sanna Nyassi, Leighton O'Brien, Vini Oliviera*, Ryan Pore*, James Riley, Zach Scott, Kyle Schmid*, Khano Smith, Nathan Sturgis, Tyson Wahl, Adam West, Steve Zakuani.
*players who did not practice with team first week in Renton
Two new faces at camp today: M/F Lamar Neagle, a Federal Way native, Thomas Jefferson HS graduate, and senior at UNLV, had his first day of training with the club. Kevin Guppy, a graduate of Cal State Northridge, joined the training camp roster as the fourth goalkeeper. GK Jordan King is no longer training with the team.
The following players were not present: Mandou Bojang (will rejoin team in Seattle on Feb. 18), Michael Fucito (hamstring), Freddie Ljungberg (rehabbing in Sweden), Jarrod Smith (hip flexor, rehabbing in Seattle), and Peter Vagenas (recovering from arthroscopic surgery). Vagenas did arrive for lunch at the hotel today to greet the team.
DAY FOUR AT OXNARD
Heavy rain. Recovery day; one practice.
Today was fun and games. After some brief running and stretching, players teamed up for 'soccer tennis': a soccer version of volleyball. Two flags with a net just above waist high. One touch per player back-and-forth inside the cones. After six games per team, two teams played for the 'crown'. It was between the team of Taylor Graham and Roger Levesque and the team of Brad Evans and Tyson Wahl. The first to eleven wins and you have to win by two. A fight to the finish, Evans and Wahl's team prevailed in extra time after some incredible rallies, 14-12.
Practice concluded with the coaches and trainers sending crosses for headers in front of the net. Fredy Montero had a diving header to get past Ben Dragovan. Kasey Keller congratulated the 19-year old after the impressive shot.
Jared Karkas did not participate in practice due to a hamstring injury.
SIGI SCHMID SAYS:
On the laid-back session: "You want guys to have some fun. Soccer tennis is always a game I think the players enjoy and you saw some good competition. Guys are competitive at it as well. It was good that way. And we did a little bit of skill with it. It was good because guys will get a little bit of shut eye tonight, and it allows us to get back to hard work tomorrow."
Progress update: "Everything has been going great. Obviously we are still looking for players. We're still evaluating people. We're still making decisions. We're trying to build our fitness program out. Things have gone as we would hope they have gone. We've stayed pretty clear of guys taking injuries, and that's important as well."
On attending UCLA's basketball win over USC on Wednesday: "I was at UCLA so many years. Being there 20 years, you have old friends you end up seeing. Being able to huddle with Coach (John) Wooden on his way in is always a great experience. Saw my old secretary at UCLA. A lot of people I coached with for a lot of years. Saw Rick Neuheisel trying to get the team fired up for football season. It was a good game. What I like about the basketball team is Ben Howland is a coach with a lot of intensity. That's always what you want from your teams. That's something we'll have from our team as well."
On receiving an ovation at the game: "I'm just lucky that I had a lot of great players. I know when I got inducted into the hall of fame, when you look at some of the names that are up there on that wall, and to be part of that group is something I'll forever be proud of. It's a unique situation."