When Freddie Ljungberg signed with the Sounders FC on October 28, it sent a pulse of optimism through the fans.
Now, over four months later, those same fans have ridden the roller coaster of emotions from disheartened by news that Seattle’s Designated Player would go under the knife for hip surgery to enthused at the scoring prowess of the team that took the field in his absence.
Friday, Ljungberg will again be a part of that fervor when he makes his long awaited return to Seattle and joins the team upon their arrival from 10 days of training camp in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“I am looking forward to this Friday when I arrive in my new hometown Seattle,” Ljungberg said. “Also, I feel very eager to get together with the boys in the team and start training.”
The former Arsenal and West Ham United midfielder has been split time between London, England and his native Sweden while rehabbing from his December 19 hip surgery.
At the time of the surgery, owner/GM Adrian Hanauer said, “The objective of this surgery is to eliminate the nagging injuries and to ensure that Freddie has the explosiveness necessary to be a major contributor for Sounders FC every time he steps on the pitch.”
The former Swedish national team captain underwent the surgery at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado and has been projected for an ahead-of-schedule return in the weeks following the surgery.
“The medical team are extremely pleased with these two past months of rehab. I feel very strong,” Ljungberg said. “(It’s) been a lot of long days and hard work of rehab but it looks like it’s paying off.”
Ljungberg will be joining a team that has had a successful, though rain-soaked, training trip to South America that saw them go 2-1-1 to improve their preseason record to 7-2-1. The highlight has been the attacking style that has resulted in 16 goals from the forward tandem of Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua.
The team has continued to grow into a cohesive unit throughout training camp in preparation for the season opener March 19 against the New York Red Bulls.