“Not every day is going to be perfect,” Andrew Weber smiles, lifting a right arm that is more tattoo than bare skin to anxiously scratch the back of his neck. “But I have the best job in the world and not many people get to do that.”
Weber has hardly had a storybook career so far. Now, after seven years as a professional – four of which were spent in MLS – he is looking to write the next chapter in his story with the Sounders FC.
Vying for a goalkeeper spot alongside starter Michael Gspurning, Weber can weave quite the tale about perseverance – staring down adversity and coming out smiling on the other side.
After starting his career with DC United in 2005 out of the University of New Mexico, Weber was faced with a difficult decision when he was cut after the first season, having never seen a minute of action.
Sitting in the same city that he was informed that he would not continue his career with DC United, he laughs at the next step he took in his pro career.
“I drove up and down the east coast in my car trying out for teams,” he said. “I was young and just threw my stuff in my car … it was a cool experience. I enjoyed it.”
After unsuccessful tryouts with the Charleston Battery and Atlanta Silverbacks, he finally found a team willing to take a chance in the Montreal Impact, where he would back up three-time defending USL Goalkeeper of the Year Greg Sutton.
After playing in a backup role for much of his first season, he finally got the call to start a road match against the Toronto Lynx. When he picked up the phone, he was laid up in his hotel room with a 104 degree temperature.
He couldn’t pass up his first chance to start as a professional though and walked out the next night a 1-0 victory.
He went on to make 29 starts in league play in three seasons. That included a 3-0-0 record against the Sounders in the USL.
In 2009, he got another shot at the MLS with the San Jose Earthquakes where he would backup Joe Cannon. Late in the season, he got two starts, getting a win over DC United and a draw against Chivas USA, both on the road.
However, those would be the last MLS matches he would play with San Jose, though he stuck with the team through the 2011 season.
When Kasey Keller and Terry Boss retired after the 2011 season and Gspurning was the only player signed to replace them, the Sounders brought in the veteran Weber to compete with Josh Ford and Bryan Meredith, both of whom were 2011 draft picks for Seattle.
To Weber, it was the perfect opportunity.
“It’s the biggest team in the league. This is the best team to play for. Everybody wants to come and play for Seattle,” said Weber, 28. “I played against them in the USL days and it just wasn’t the same. When you come to CenturyLink now, it’s a whole nother world. That’s what professional soccer feels like. It’s a bigger stage. It’s a bigger atmosphere.”
The atmosphere on gameday is one thing. The environment around the training facility is another. The city of Seattle – with its majestic beauty – is another altogether. The place in the standings, though, is another key selling point to players seeking opportunities in MLS.
“This team has something special about it that they can win championships,” Weber said. “They have the winning tradition here. That’s appealing. I love the northwest. It’s a beautiful city and hopefully if things go well, I’ll learn a lot more about it.”
With five games in the next ten days, he’ll have ample time to prove himself, starting Monday against Orlando City SC in a 1 pm Pacific Time kickoff with live blog coverage on SoundersFC.com.