Sounders Insider

Sounders talk about MLS life on the road

My story on Sounders travel finally gets into the newspaper Thursday, building on my post from earlier this week.

However, even with that long Grant Clark interview and the story, a few other good quotes didn't get in. So I'll add those here.

SIGI SCHMID talking about travel in MLS: “I think, for the most part, every city you go into the hotels are good. Obviously having to fly commercial presents problems. When you can go direct it’s less of a problem. Still, you got a 9 o’clock flight and you have to be there two hours before take off with possible delays. You got to go through security. You got to wait for your bags to come out. So it’s not just a five hour flight. You’re looking at a five hour flight, two hours before makes it seven. At least an hour or an hour and a half once you get there. When you’re going back east it’s an eight and a half hour day. And that’s not counting time for a training session as well. Having a charter doesn’t shorten the travel time. It eliminates the two hours before and the one hour after.”

On whether MLS should restrict teams from flying charters -- as it does -- or if teams that want to pay the price should be allowed to: "It does offer a competitive advantage if one team can charter and the other team can't afford to charter. So then it's a question of do you want to just say, 'Hey, if you want to open up your pocket book, feel free.'? Or do you want to try to keep the playing field level. I think that's a decision the league is trying to make. ... Hopefully somewhere down the line it will be able to be improved. But for the most part the league tries to be very, very professional: the travel, the hotel, the bus service, the food, all of that stuff."

JAMES RILEY, Sounders union rep, on what it's like flying charter: "To be honest, it’s nothing crazy like on TV. It’s just a plane, a pretty regular plane with two seats (on one side of the aisle) and one seat (on the other). But there’s just massive leg room. It’s comfortable. You can get treatment and stuff if you’re injured, whereas in coach you (can’t). We’re not talking about a billion-dollar plane all tricked out and stuff. Just a regular plane with a bit more leg room."

FREDDIE LJUNGBERG on the difference from MLS travel and EPL travel: "Everything is different. I don’t know if you could compare (a Premier Legue club) to an NFL team. We would stay in whatever town it is we’d stay at the best hotels, and there were dinners all the time. There isn’t a per deim, how you call it, there there’s food all the time and we eat at the hotel. We’re not allowed to leave."

On if he likes being able to leave hotels when on the road in America: "You get recognized and people take photos, but it’s to a different degree maybe. How should I explain, like maybe in England there’s more of a passion for the game and fans can get angry and I believe there’s a bit of a security issue when we play away and they don’t want us to walk the street. Maybe the security issue that way, they’re not so passionate here where they’d do something."

On the quality of MLS hotels: "It’s different, but I knew when I signed so I’m not complaining. You asked, so I tell you."

BRIAN SCHMETZER, comparing travel in MLS to either USL-1 or the North American Soccer League: "It’s definitely a step up from the USL games. ... Back in the (NASL days) my most vivid memories of that were nice hotels. I don’t remember any charters ... but we stayed at nice hotels. I remember that. They were always the best four- or five-stars hotel."

(He added, however, that MLS hotels are just as good, and Riley and other Sounders agreed with that. ... And to see where they're staying this week, click here.)

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