Last year when the Sounders FC was in Arizona for preseason training camp, second-year midfielder Mike Seamon started having difficulty with his right leg.
He couldn’t describe what he was feeling in the leg. It just didn’t feel normal. He hadn’t even done anything to it to cause the problems he was having – no turns of the ankle or twists of the knee. But he fought through it as long as he could.
Eventually, he developed a partially torn tendon in his foot because of the way he ran, compensating for the troublesome feeling. The foot injury, he could cope with using an insole. The other problem took much longer and several tests to clear.
Soon, he started taking nerve medication and when it worked, it was determined that he had suffered nerve damage.
Now fully healed, Seamon has undergone a transformation and is among the fitter players on the team, as evidenced by his third-place finish in the beep test last week.
“I didn’t realize how much it affected my play until I got better. That told me how injured I was because I was trying to play through it,” he said. “It was more frustrating than it was painful because I didn’t really understand why I couldn’t do some things. Now that I’m fully healed, I feel like a different person.”
After losing most of the season to the peculiar malady, Seamon refocused in the off-season, inspired in part by words from head coach Sigi Schmid.
He changed his workout routines, his diet and parts of his lifestyle, determined to show that he could earn playing time on a deep Sounders team.
“He decided to be serious about this and committed himself physically,” Schmid said. “He came in fitter than he’s ever been and from that standpoint, he’s made real strides and his soccer follows that.”
Now more fit and explosive, he is better able to fill the role of a box-to-box midfielder in the mold of Brad Evans.
And while he picked up three assists while playing all ten Sounders reserve league matches and played 926 minutes across all competitions in half a season as a rookie in 2010, he feels like he is more equipped to play the position now.
“The fitness level I’m at now makes me capable of filling that position. The last couple years, I could kind of do it, but not to the ability that I could now,” he said. “Now it’s just about the mental stuff and the touch. We’ll see if all that comes together.”
Schmid noted that he has the characteristics to play the role and now that his fitness has improved so much, he will be better able to capitalize on those strengths.
“He’s got good vision and decent quickness. Speed isn’t his best aspect, but he has decent quickness,” Schmid said. “By being fitter now, he’s going to be able to show those abilities more often.”
In training camp, Seamon is looking to show that he can fit in with the any group on the field, making a seamless transition when he enters the field. His motivation lies not just in getting more playing time, but in surviving as a professional.
“I’m fighting for a job here,” he said. “Nothing’s safe right now. I need to push to have a spot on this team.”