Staring down the home stretch of three competitions, Sounders FC made a personnel move for the short- and long term today, signing former U.S. youth national team forward Sammy Ochoa.
The Sounders acquired his MLS allocation rights by sending the Chicago Fire a third-round draft pick in the 2012 SuperDraft.
Ochoa, 24, is expected to join his new club Sunday.
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He played under Sounders coach Sigi Schmid with the U.S. under-20 team, has played with Estudiantes Tecos of the Mexican first division, and worked with the Sounders earlier this season. (Here's a blog post from Ochoa's trial here.)
"We’re happy to have Sammy join our team," Schmid said. "It gives us a little more depth at forward. I think he did well when he was here on his trial, so it’s just a matter of him just getting fit, getting his game legs, and he can possibly help us here. … He’s a good back-to-goal player. He’s a good finisher around the box. Those are qualities that he had. All his time in Mexico he was in and out of the lineup so much. But … probably in four years he probably had 12 head coaches, so it’s tough to establish a rhythm."
Hanauer said he doesn’t know how quickly Ochoa will be able to contribute.
“When Sammy came in and trialed with us, we liked him,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “Sigi knows him from his past, and he was a player that we thought could help us out – whether still this year, we don’t know. Whether it’s next year, but he’s a strong smart forward, good technical ability, hits the ball hard with both feet, has a quick release, good in the air. And we think will add depth at the forward position.”
Here's the release from the club:
Seattle Sounders FC has added former U.S. youth international forward Sammy Ochoa, 24, to the roster through Major League Soccer's allocation process, the team announced today. He is expected to join the team next week.
Seattle obtained the Chicago Fire's No. 4 position in the allocation order in exchange for its natural third-round pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.
Ochoa signed with MLS earlier this week after spending the past five years at Mexico's Estudiantes Tecos in Guadalajara. He had trained with Sounders FC in June, and scored the lone goal in a 1-0 Reserve League win over the L.A. Galaxy on June 13.
A member of Sigi Schmid's U.S. team at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Ochoa started three of the four matches in the tournament. He later was part of the U.S. U-23 National Team in the friendlies played prior to the 2008 Olympic Games.
"We're happy to have Sammy join our team because it gives us a little more depth at forward," said Schmid. "He did well when he was here on his trial. Now it's just a matter of getting him fit and getting his game legs and he could help us."
"He's a good back-to-goal player and a good finisher around the box," Schmid added. "Those are qualities that he's had. In all his time in Mexico he was in and out of the lineup because they had so many head coaches so it was tough to establish a rhythm."
Born in Mexico, Ochoa later moved to Riverside, Calif. and attended Riverside Poly High School. He is a U.S. citizen. Ochoa signed with Tecos in 2006. He made 27 appearances, scoring twice.
Jesus Ochoa, Sammy's older brother, played for Schmid while with the Galaxy. He later played for Chivas USA.
Sounders FC hosts the Columbus Crew on Saturday. First kick is 1 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
Birthplace: Morelia, Mexico
Hometown: Riverside, Calif.
Previous Clubs: Estudiantes Tecos (Mexico, 2006-2011)