Sounders Insider

Quotes from Blaise Nkufo press conference

Here are some quotes from the Sounders' press conference today announcing the signing of forward Blaise Nkufo:

ADRIAN HANAUEROpening statement) “We’re here today to announce the signing of Blaise Nkufo. To back up a little bit, about two years ago we talked a lot about the type of team we wanted to build and the type of players that we wanted in Seattle, and at the base of that was character, which is overstated in sports these days. Everything is about character and it seems as though you hear people talk about character no matter who the player is, or what issues that player may have had in the past. It’s just overused. But for me in this particular case, this is a man who to me sort of symbolizes what sport in the game is about. An unbelievably good man. A family man. A smart man. Very interested in the world, in sport, in doing the right things for community, in doing the right things for team. So that is the base of why I’m so excited today about this announcement. The second thing is we talked a lot about the playing characteristics, the attacking mentality, goal scoring, speed, creativity, technical ability, passion, bravery – those were some of the words that we used in talking about the players we wanted to sign for this team. And again in my mind Blaise checks all the boxes and will be an unbelievable addition to an already very good and very attack minded team. Blaise was brought to our attention probably six months ago that he might be available by his L.A. based agent Oliver Wyss, who I think is on the phone with us here listening in. Then Chris (Henderson) and I and Sigi (Schmid) and Kurt (Schmid) among others started the process of exploration and just making sure we all did our due diligence, and at the same time Blaise was doing the same thing. We spent some time together here in Seattle in December. I saw Blaise in Enschede in Holland in February. I think both sides, he and his family, and we and our family – the Sounders – got very, very comfortable and very excited about this signing. And in terms of the timing there was obviously a lot of speculation and some rumors out there, we in respect for the manager of Twente, Steve MacClaren, the team, Blaise’s teammates at Twente and the fans at Enschede, who are obviously very, very passionate about Blaise and their team. We wanted to get this announcement behind us so that Blaise can focus one hundred percent of his energy on Twente, who are one point behind PSV in the race for the Eredivisie in Holland. They are also in the semifinals of the Dutch Cup. Unfortunately, were just eliminated in UEFA Cup play in the round of 32. Obviously has a very important last few months in Holland and then a very important summer with the World Cup coming up, and hopefully playing a big role in the Swiss National Team run. So Blaise will join us in the summer, depending on the World Cup, the timing may change a little bit, but our transfer window opens July 15th. We have a game on July 15th in D.C. There is a chance that Blaise could play in that game, but again it will depend on the World Cup. Hopefully Switzerland will be deep in the World Cup and Blaise will be scoring goals for them. With that, we are so, so excited and this city is in for a very special treat and a very good player, good man coming to Seattle.”

BLAISE NKUFOOpening statement) “Thanks Adrian. I have a lot of admission because for me it is not just coming for playing, but like I said to Adrian when we met for the first time, I want to settle and also live in Seattle. That’s my wish.”

On playing style and strengths) “My strengths I think I show that I’m a player that can keep the ball, scoring goals, make assists, and also one of my strengths is giving everything for the team. I’m a team player and my character.”

On quality of play in MLS compared to Dutch league) “What I can say about MLS is it’s a league…It’s growing. Today they have 16 teams and next year two more teams will train. It’s a physical league. But more than that because every league, every competition has its specific skills, my concern is to adapt quickly with my new team players and that will be the key for me.”

On first hearing about Seattle Sounders FC) “One year ago I took the decision to immigrate. I would have liked first to come last summer in Seattle, but I didn’t find the time. I had Oliver (Wyss), my manager, contact with the Sounders. I really enjoyed meeting Adrian (Hanauer) and Gary (Wright). I also saw the facilities, the organization and it gave me a really good feeling about this club. I’m really happy that we have made the deal.”

On the city of Seattle) “I think it is similar to Vancouver. I will have time when I’m there to discover, to look around. But again, I think sometimes you have to go with your feeling. And what I saw in the 24 hours I spent there I had a really good feeling. The city looks great. And again, the people I’ve met give me a lot of confidence for the future.”

On the chronology of moving from Africa to Europe) “I left my country when I was seven… I still have family there, but I’ve spent more time in Europe than my country. I’ve built my family, my friends, my contacts. That’s my story.”

On jumping into MLS season without a break) “The last years I’ve proved that I can play a lot of games in Europe. I do believe I can do that. Of course I think I will need time to adapt maybe for the first games, but it should be not a problem.”

On how long to keep playing) “I’ve signed almost a two year contract. I’m focused on that with this length right now.”

On the Seattle Sounders FC fans) “What I saw is that they’re great fans. They almost have 30,000 fans average. The expectations are very high and they really support the team. For me, also, it was a key. That’s why I decided to come. The ambition of the club also gave me a lot of confidence.”

On conversations with Sigi Schmid and Kasey Keller) “When I came in the winter I had the chance to talk with Kasey Keller, and I also spoke with Sigi. It was really nice to talk to him…He’s one of the most successful coaches. He knows the European soccer player and I think we’ll do a good job.”