Christian Tiffert took to the training field at Starfire on Tuesday for the first time with his new teammates. Seattle’s newest Designated Player went through a full training session on his second day in town, and the German midfielder mixed well with the group.
“We want an adventure and I hope I can bring Seattle success,” Tiffert said after his first session. “I played 13 years in Germany. It was good for me. I had a good career. Now I can have a good career in the USA.”
Tiffert, 30, visited Seattle in June and watched the Sounders draw with Sporting Kansas City at CenturyLink Field, leaving impressed by the stadium and atmosphere.
Now, after a full preseason with Kaiserslautern, he feels ready to contribute for the Sounders, though he will not be eligible to play until he receives his P-1 Visa. While it could come any day, Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid did not anticipate that he will be available to play when the Sounders host the LA Galaxy on Sunday, but was pleased with his involvement in the first practice.
“It’s always different when you’re coming into a new team and trying to get used to your surroundings,” Schmid said. “He got through all the training and did some shooting at the end. It was good.”
In Tiffert, the Sounders add an attacking midfielder with big-club experience and leadership capabilities. With Red Bull Salzburg in Austria and Stuttgart in Germany, he earned berths in the UEFA Champions League, falling 1-0 to Chelsea in the knockout stage in 2004 with Stuttgart and in the group stage in 2006-2007 with Red Bull Salzburg.
He also twice reached the Round of 16 and twice made the Round of 32 in the UEFA Cup.
For the last two seasons, he was captain at Kaiserslautern, where he led the Bundesliga in assists with 17 in 2010-2011.
“He’s a midfielder who’s got some vision, he can see things going forward. He’s got a decent shot. He’s a good crosser of the ball because he played as a winger for a lot of years as well,” Schmid said. “Where we want to get better is maintaining possession in the opponent’s end of the field and keeping pressure on the opponent. If we can get a little better at making those final passes, it makes us more dangerous.”
The Sounders will meet Trinidad’s Caledonia AIA in the first match of the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday before hosting the LA Galaxy on Sunday at 6 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 877-MLS-GOAL.