After this morning’s announcement that forward Herculez Gomex has signed with the Sounders (see post below), this afternoon we got to hear from some of the key players: general manager Garth Lagerwey, coach Sigi Schmid and Gomez himself.
We’ll have a full story from all of that online later and in print tomorrow. Meanwhile, some highlight quotes:
On the signing) It’s a good deal for us. We’re able to add a really quality veteran playing in Herc, obviously with a pretty impressive pedigree, ties to the Sounders going back to the old days, and Toronto is on hook for the contract. Similar situation we were in with Kenny Cooper last year where when you waive a guy pretty late then he goes through a process where he’s available to anybody else, but the team he goes to is not going to be baring the majority of his salary, it still accrues to the team that released him. The shoe was on our foot last year and is on the other foot now. A good value acquision I would say for us. ... To be clear, all of our ability to sign a designated player and potentially even a player beyond that is still intact. It’s why I say it’s a good value signing for us, and a really good veteran.
On what he’s heard about his role here) Sigi’s been very honest with me, and that’s all any player can ask for with coaching and management, is just honesty. He said come in and work hard, if there are opportunities to bring you on, because he knows I can be dangerous in front of goal. If there are opportunities I’ll be there and if I can work hard and show there’s a place for me I’ll get an opportunity. And I think that’s amazing, that’s a great feeling to know that all you have to do is work hard and it’s up to you. I’m excited to get working. I’ve never been about talent, I’ve never been about luxury. I’ve been about hard word, and though that hard work I’ve been able to achieve a few things along my career, and so I’m excited.
On other opportunites) If I’m being quite honest, the situation with Toronto was difficult. I think it was poorly managed. They put me in a situation that was unfair. I think they’re great people, but poor mismanagement in the front office put me in a very hard spot. When I spoke to my agent he asked me where I’d potentially want to go. I knew I wanted to be on the West Coast, and initially I said Seattle just because I kind of felt it would be a great place to come back and play, hopefully be able to do something – but not knowing if there would be any interest. Seattle actually reached out. I don’t want to give too much away, but there was interest and not a whole lot of interest elsewhere. So it happened to be just a perfect fit.
On his 2003 loan to the Sounders) I remember not being old enough to go out. I remember it being an A League team – known around the city, but not quite the following it has today. Just to see how much they’ve grown as an organization and that they’ve been able to achieve, and how the city’s been able to embrace them: It’s incredible. And to be able be here and see it first hand – I was at the first game, and I did the March to the Match – it was amazing. Few teams around the world has that kind of support that Seattle has, and I’ve been fortunate enough to play for some good fan bases in my career, and Seattle is definitely up there with them.
On his own progress since then) I didn’t grow up with much. Opportunities were scarce where I came from. So if you would have told me back then that my career was going to play out like this, I probably would have laughed at you. I think it’s good to see how we’ve both grown and what we’ve been able to achieve. I still feel we could achieve a lot more – the team could achieve a lot more, I could achieve a lot more. I think that where we have something in common: It’s that hunger. I’m excited to be here. I want to help out in any way I can. For me it’s about getting my feet wet, hitting the ground running in any way I can help the team.
On his weekend goodbye tweet to Seattle) I knew (I’d be back). Social media is fun for me. You guys (media) do a really good job of giving your impressions of the personalities of the athletes to the fan base or just to people. But you guys are the middle man to me, and why use you when I can tell people who I am: no misconstrued words, I let people decide for themselves who you are, and I like to interact with the fan base.
On what Seattle represents at this stage of his career) They’ve just handed me a lifeline. It’s an opportunity for me. I don best, when I have a chip on my shoulder. That’s how I’ve done best throughout my career. I have a pretty big chip on my shoulder with how things ended in Toronto. It’s not sour grapes, but there’s just a way of going about things, and a way of threatening people. It wasn’t one of the ways I would have done things. So I’m eager to get to work. I have to prove a lot of people wrong. I have to prove that I belong. I’m excited to do that.
On what Gomez showed last week during trial) He’s a verteran player, so it gives us a little bit of that veteran influence coming off the bench. We know we have to look ahead a little bit as well and team-wise we could be missing guys in the summer with the Cope Centenario – especially our frontrunners – so it gives us a little cover and protection for that. He’s good about his work, he’s consistent about his work. He gets on the end of stuff. That’s always been his strength. He’s not afraid to pull the trigger.
Longer term plans) We’ll see. As things go along it will be better to answer. But right now I see a guy who can offer us some different options off the bench, gives us another center striker. We’ve been in situations a couple of games where Morris or Valdez fatigued a little bit, so that gives us different options that way.