The Year In Stories: Recovery & Return
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
A look back at some of Matt Gaschk's favorite and most difficult stories behind the Sounders FC in 2011.
Part three of my favorite stories of 2011 details tales of redemption – as two Sounders battle back from injuries, another helps his mother fight breast cancer and a fourth climbs the ladder from the PDL ranks to appear in a Champions League match.
To see the determination in these players when they are all driven by different forces is pretty inspiring. It's always something that I enjoy and it's also something that makes me the most nervous about publishing because I want to do the player - and, more importantly, the person - justice.
Steve Zakuani suffered one of the more horrendous injuries you’ll ever see against the Colorado Rapids in April. His leg fracture healed just fine, but he revealed after the season that the fracture wasn’t the only thing he had to contend with – compartment syndrome left him without sensation in his lower leg. He went into greater detail about his perilous year in 2011 in “Compartment Syndrome Hindered Zakuani’s Early Return” (11/7).
UPDATE: Just before leaving on vacation to the Bahamas, Zakuani posted this on his blog: “The most popular question people ask me is this: when will you play again? My response is the same now as it was the day after the injury… I am not setting any specific dates, I’ll just work myself back into shape, and when my body allows me to compete again, I will. Let me add this though, I’m getting close to that very final hurdle which we always knew would be the hardest one. It’s an exciting time and I’m ready for that final push.”
Meanwhile, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado spent the better part of the 2010 season battling back from a torn ACL. He found his form this year and finished a great 2011 season alongside Jeff Parke for a strong pairing in the central defense. He talked about his recovery and his adjustment to living in America in “A Future Presidente” (7/4).
Servando Carrasco came to the Sounders in the second round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and made his first start against the New York Red Bulls in the club’s second match of the season at Red Bull Arena. As the club recognized Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, Carrasco had the chance to pay homage to his mother, who was weeks away from her five-year check-up. He talked about that relationship in “Inspiration From Home” 10/12.
UPDATE: Carrasco’s mother was given a clean bill of health in her November appointment and is now cancer free.
Bryan Meredith also came to the Sounders FC in the second round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, but wound up playing with the Kitsap Pumas in the PDL while training with the Sounders during the season. After winning the PDL title with the Pumas, he returned home to New Jersey, only to be called back weeks later to rejoin the Sounders when Terry Boss suffered a concussion. He talked about that crazy time and playing against Monterrey in “Won’t Back Down” (10/19)