Some highlights of that conversation:
On Ljunbgerg's legacy:"I think Freddie played a big part in helping us launch the franchise. It was a big signing in a roll out of a bunch of big announcements for this club, whether it was signing Kasey Keller or a partnership with Xbox or KING 5 or Kevin Calabro. There were a bunch of big announcements that helped us launch this franchise in a big way. Freddie was one of those. Did a good job in helping us make the playoffs last year. But now he plays for the enemy and our focus is on our team and how we beat Chicago on Saturday."
On how the relationship ended:"It’s hard to sugar-coat something and say whenever you trade a player or a player leaves that it’s positive. But it’s the reality of the business. It’s not negative, but it is what it is. Players come and go. I still have a good relationship with Freddie and wish him luck other than when he plays against Seattle."
On how the Ljungberg experience has or might affect singing other DPs in Seattle:"I think we’re always learning. I think it’s dangerous to extrapolate too much from individuals. I try not to create categories based on individuals: ‘All Swedes are like…’ or ‘All Colombians are like…’ People are individuals. But certainly you hope to learn things in all decisions we make, whether it’s on a designated player or on a minimum-salary player or coaches or trainers. We always want to be learning."
On the DPs fitting in with the team:"I think we have that conversation with every player. It’s a team game. There is no success with individuals acting as individuals. There is a huge separation of salaries in our league, although there is in every league. So, certainly it’s important for the guys earning the most money to realize that, take a leadership role, be sensitive to the situation that others are in. I’m not saying that Freddie didn’t do that. But whether it’s Freddie or a guy making half what Freddie did, there’s just always going to be a disparity and people have to be sensitive to that."
On Ljungberg's added off-the-field appeal as Arsenal star and Calvin Klein underwear model:"First and foremost it was about the soccer and how he could contribute on the pitch. But I think there’s a package with every player you sign. Alvaro Fernandez and Blaise Nkufo coming from the World Cup, that sort of experience. Certainly it’s not a pure marketing decision, but every player you sign you think, 'OK, how can they contribute on the field' and then 'Are there any additional benefits that come with this signing.' And certainly we realized there were some added benefits from bring a player of Freddie’s stature."
On how he will feel Saturday"It’s another big game we have to get three points out of. It’s not a whole lot different than when Stephen King came back to Seattle. I gave him and hug and wished him the best, but wanted to beat him and we couldn’t take care of business against D.C. when they came back into town and hopefully we can turn that around for Chicago."
On current Seattle DPs Blaise Nkufo and Alvaro Fernandez:"I think they’re doing fine. Time will tell. The integration process takes some time. You’ll see moments of brilliance and then maybe a little bit of confusion on the field. But ultimately I think we won’t know exactly how our decisions play out until five, six, seven, eight games from now and if we’re heading into the playoffs playing well, then I think we can say that our designated players have performed well. If we’re not, then we have to go back and regroup. It doesn’t only apply to designed players, it applies to everybody on the team, and we have to see who did well and who might not have pulled their weight."