Sounders Insider

How Ethopians don't celebrate goals, and more

I'll have more from Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer in a new post soon. But for now, here's a wonderful answer from Sigi Schmid, when I asked him if a roster assembled from so many nationalities adds additional coaching challenges.

"It’s a challenge for a coach because you have to deal with people that have different approaches and different mentalities and interpret the game maybe in a different way,": he said. "That’s not to say one way’s right and one way’s wrong: It’s just a different way. But on the other hand for me as a coach, it’s something I’ve been used to. As a player when I came to UCLA I was one of two Americans on the team. We had guys from Colombia, Mexico, Germany, England, Ethiopia, all over the place. So I’ve always dealt with various cultures. And that was definitely a learning experience.

"I remember when one of our guys scored a goal – an Ethopian guy – and I slapped him on the butt after he scored the goal and he almost turned around and killed me. And he kind of explained to me that in their culture that wasn’t acceptable behavior. So I realized, 'OK, we don’t celebrate like that.' So you kind of learn these things.

"And when I came to MLS right away I had teams with … players that came from Latin backgrounds and different cultures and it’s a challenge, but it’s not insurmountable. And if you can merge those different views and those talents – and it takes maybe a little bit longer or it’s a little bit harder sometimes --- once you merge it, it ends up being a better game, it ends up being a more attractive game for fans."

And a couple of other leftovers:

“In the United States there are all kinds of opportunities to see soccer games: there’s MLS, there are all kinds of game opportunities. But when the Mexican team comes where, the Latinos are really focused on those games.” – former Mexican national team goalkeeper Jorge Campos

“In the locker room, nationality doesn’t really seem to be a factor. I feel great, and I feel friendly with all of the Latinos that are here. But really, it’s not the nationality; it’s the team that we play for and the uniform that we put on that unites us.” – Sounders forward Fredy Montero