Things were different at Sounders practice this morning as several hundred youth soccer summer campers watched from the the Qwest Field stands.
After training -- which included a short reserve game against the PDL Seattle Wolves -- the players addressed the crowd, saying a little something about themselves. Then the players handed out postcard-sized autographed pictures of themselves.
Here are some of the things the Sounders' told the crowd:
Taylor Graham: His favorite annimals are giraffes and sasquach.
Sanna Nyassi: "I love to sleep, man."
Fredy Montero (in English): "Hi everybody. I like Seattle. I like Sounders. I like dance."
Freddie Ljungberg: From Sweden and likes snowboarding.
Tyson Wahl: Favorite TV show is "The Bachelorette."
Stephen King: Plays guitar and belonged to a high school band.
Steve Zakuani: Likes playing Guitar Hero.
Sigi Schmid: Kasey Keller's favorite show is "Dancing with the Stars."
Afterward Schmid said everyone had a good time and that the organization probably made some new fans today.
"The players took their time signing autographs and giving out their autograph cards and stuff," he said. "It's a connection that you will always remember. Sometimes you don't know what that moment is. But, for a lot of kids, maybe that moment was today or at camp when they met a player. It's a moment that just gets them and they fall in love with soccer. That doesn't mean they are going to become a pro player but might mean they become a soccer fan or they work in the sport in some capacity. It definitely gives them the passion for the sport. The more people we can give that passion to the better it is."
He also said it was valuable to get some playing time for his reserves.
"It was good," Schmid said. "Having some people watching training always gets the guys a little more motivated. We wish we could've made it a little bit shorter but we had a certain workload we had in mind. We wanted to get the reserve guys who have not been playing in a lot of games at least 45 minutes of something that seemed a lot more game-like than they have faced and play somebody different. It was great having all of the campers out here. I think the success of the Sounders camps this year and the kids are just another aspect of what the Sounders are trying to do in this community."