He gave what was (as far as I know) his first interview in English to Sounders media today:
On how he learned English: I studied. A teach here in Seattle and I learn from my teammates. I learn from TV too.
On if it helps with his teammates: Yeah, in the locker room, it helps me a lot.
On playing every minute this season: I play like 15 games in a row. I am very happy. I am healthy and can play many, many, many more games.
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On if he needs rest: No. My mind is play, play. That’s it. ... I feel good. I did good preseason this year. I’m going to be healthy.
On playing with so many different midfielders this season: I think every player has the potential for playing the midfield around me, so I prepare to play (with) any guy close to me.
On deciding when to shoot from distance: I think in the last part of the field, I have space, I see the goalkeeper, I try to shoot. But sometimes its difficult (so then) I like to get the ball to a teammate."
We asked coach Sigi Schmid about Alonso, both in terms of his usefulness on the pitch, and the usefulness of his improved English.
Alonso's playing: He’s an important player to our team. His durability is vital. But he’s if not the best, certainly I can’ think of another two or three who are better than him at recovering the ball in midfield. He’s a tremendous competition. He’s a tremendous finder of the ball when you’ve lost the ball. He knows how to close people down. He’s a good tackler – the kind of guy who can tackle without committing fouls. He allows us to be able to recover the ball in the midfield area that a lot of people can’t accomplish.
Alonso's English) "Everybody talks to each other. Certainly you always revert into your native language. It’s the same thing if I talk to my dad on the phone: We’re going to talk German just because that’s what he’s more comfortable in. I’ve used Ossie a lot more of late to translate to somebody: to translate to Flaco, to translate to Montano – the guys whose English is maybe a little bit behind. I think that’s helped him as well with his English as well. But the guys, they all laugh at the same jokes, whether they’re told in English. Not everybody laughs at the Spanish jokes, but in the locker room everybody gets along well."
(Schmid then told us a German joke. I regret to inform you that I cannot share it here."