RENTON, WASH. – The Seattle Sounders FC have signed Switzerland National Team forward Blaise Nkufo, it was announced today. The all-time scoring leader for Holland’s FC Twente, Nkufo will join Sounders FC on a free transfer after completing his commitments to Twente and the national team. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Nkufo, 34, has scored over 200 goals for club and country. Now in his seventh season with Twente, last August he became the club career scoring leader and now has 111 goals. He has nine league goals, with 13 in all competitions.Nkufo (pronounced Blehz KOOH-fo) has been capped 27 times by Switzerland, scoring seven goals. Five of those goals came during qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.“I am really motivated. It is a big challenge because as a player and as a man, I wish to settle and live in Seattle,” said Nkufo. “For now, I remain totally committed, totally focused on Twente, and doing whatever I can to help them win the league and the cup.”
Twente, located in Enschede, has lost only once in 25 matches and trails PSV Eindhoven by one point in the Eredivisie, Holland’s first division. Twente plays Feyenoord Rotterdam in a Dutch cup semifinal on March 24 and earlier reached the UEFA Europa League’s round of 32.“When I arrive in Seattle, I’m not just coming to play, I’m coming to succeed,” added Nkufo. “That is my goal. I feel I can contribute because of my experience, my spirit, my commitment and my goals. Of course, that’s the key, goals and assists. I’ve contributed that before and wish to do the same for the Sounders.”
“When I came last winter to visit,” he said, “I was impressed with the organization, the stadium and the training facilities. The Sounders showed that they want me and I have a very good feeling about our future.”“Blaise is a proven goal scorer who’s had a good run with the Swiss national team and a tremendous career at Twente,” said Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC coach. “He is a player that knows how to find space in the box at appropriate moments.”
“We’re obviously very excited because we’ve had our eyes on Blaise for quite a while now,” said Adrian Hanauer, Sounders FC general manager.“He’s a big, strong presence in the middle, and he gives us a slightly different look. He is also a player of tremendous character, and will contribute his knowledge and leadership to our team.”
Getting five goals from Nkufo during qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Switzerland will join Chile, Honduras and Spain in Group H. The Swiss open play on June 16 against Spain, the reigning European champion, in Durban, South Africa.
Nkufo has led Twente in scoring each of the past six years, with 21 or more in each of the last three seasons. He has scored 129 goals in 260 appearances for the club in all competitions. He previously played for clubs in Switzerland, Qatar and Germany.Twente, coached by former England manager Steve McClaren, has finished among the Eredivisie’s top four each of the last four seasons, finishing runner-up in both the league and Dutch cup.