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Any Sounder at Heart (h/t) can close their eyes and relive the sight and hear the sound of the excruciating injury that sidelined Steve Zakuani for the remainder of the 2011 campaign. Several months removed from that horrifying day, and Sounders nation was delighted when they saw or read that Zakuani had participated in the first few days of training.
While we are all eager and excited for Steve to return to the pitch, it’s important to understand that he has only taken a few hundred steps on a long journey of recovery. Steve has admitted as much that he has no set timeline for a return, taking it one step at a time, and that he is willing to accept that he may not be the same player when he finally does come back.
All the major regional and a few national outlets jumped on this compelling story, and here is a (hopefully) complete rundown of them. If you get a chance, it’s always very satisfying to catch up on some reading, right?
—- Mostly everyone was accounted for and appeared to be in good shape. Certain guys like Marc Burch, who’s coming off foot surgery, took it a little easier. O’Brian White was not around and he’s still got a ways to go before joining the group. Others that weren’t around, but are in transit are forward/midfielder Cordell Cato and Supplemental Draft pick Jason Banton. Wes Feighner is expected to be in that boat, as well, but I didn’t get full confirmation on that.
—- Steve Zakuani went “all out” in practice, according to coach Sigi Schmid. He was a full participant in a scrimmage and took part in a conditioning drill at the end. He’s not 100-percent back, by any stretch, and will likely take it easy Saturday, but being a full participant is definite progress. More on him to come later.
—- Some invitees were in camp, perhaps the most notable is goalkeeper Andrew Weber, 28, who played for San Jose last season. He appeared to be in great shape and I think he could contend for a roster spot. Others: goalkeeper Tyrel Lacey (free agent, last played for Lyn in Norway), midfielder Alex Caskey (a 2011 SuperDraft pick that didn’t make the team), forward Darwin Jones (a Sounders Academy alum) and midfielder Jonathan Prieto (a 2011 trialist that didn’t make the team).
—- There were a few other players in camp that weren’t listed on the training roster, so I’ll work on uncovering them. As was the case with Mauro Rosales, sometimes the team won’t name them until they’ve determined whether or not to add them to the discovery list.
—- Not in camp were the two Hondurans, Ever Alvarado and Harlinton Gutierres, as expected. They could join later.
—- Fitness coach Dave Tenney had a big hand in the day’s activities, as you might expect earlier in camp.
—- I count five goalkeepers in camp: Michael Gspurning (he’s every inch of 6-5), Bryan Meredith, Josh Ford, Andrew Weber and Tyrel Lacy. I expect the three from the roster to come from the first four.
—- Goal scorers: Babayele Sodade apparently had a curving strike to the upper 90 I missed, Osvaldo Alonso fired a right-footed blast by Gspruning at one point, Zakuani ended the scrimmage with a nice finish on a breakaway.
—- Sodade told us he’s on the 30-man preliminary roster for Canada’s Olympic qualifying team.
(Joshua Mayers, Seattle Times)