It will take nine months, probably more, to learn how this Seattle Sounders season will end.
But now we know how it began: a drenched Saturday morning practice session with more than 100 Sounders supporters waving flags, singing songs and welcoming their club back for its eighth Major League Soccer season.
Sounders old and new spent about two hours on their grass training field at Starfire. And when it was done, coach Sigi Schmid said he was pleased with the start.
“I thought the guys came out and showed a lot of energy,” Schmid said. “We accomplished what we wanted to get accomplished in terms of getting a good workday in. They’re off (Sunday), and then Monday we’ll start with our testing and so forth. I never like to do testing the first day. I always like them to have a day of just touching the ball again because that’s what you want to do. And it was good. It was good to see obviously the draft choices and see those guys as well.”
Schmid declined to comment on what he saw from those rookies, saying that’s unfair after just a debut session.
Among those wearing the rave green for the first time were offseason acquisitions Joevin Jones, Michael Farfan and homegrown signee Jordan Schweitzer. However, the club’s higher-profile, homegrown addition — forward Jordan Morris — was in California at U.S. national team camp, along with captain Brad Evans.
The Sounders will train locally three more times before departing for Arizona, where the first friendly awaits Feb. 3 against Vancouver. Next comes the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Club America on Feb. 23 at CenturyLink Field, followed by the start of the 34-game MLS regular season on March 6 when Sporting Kansas City visits.
The initial training camp roster listed 34 players, not counting a few unidentified trialists. However, one of those was easy enough to identify: midfielder Nathan Sturgis, who played with the Sounders from 2009-10 and is out of contract after spending last season in Houston.
“He’s in a situation where he has an interest in coming back here,” Schmid said. “And we said, ‘Yeah, we want to definitely take a look at you and we’ll decide.’ ”
Also back on the pitch was 35-year-old defender Zach Scott, whose re-signing was announced the day before camp opened.
“It’s a situation that as we go into the Champions League that experience was important to us,” Schmid said. “We really have Roman Torres (still) injured at this point. We have Evans; we have (Chad) Marshall. But then we’re really looking at playing young centerbacks, and it was important for us to have cover, especially in the early season.”