A frenzied few weeks for Marco Pappa will finally find some order on Monday when he participates in his first training session with Sounders FC.
Unhappy with his club in Holland, Pappa and Heerenveen mutually agreed to terminate his contract, making him free to return to MLS, where he played with the Chicago Fire from 2008-2012. The highly-sought midfielder waited at his home in Guatemala while on vacation with his family, awaiting the call that would tell him where he would land after rejoining the league through allocation. On Friday, it was announced that Seattle would be that destination and by Saturday afternoon he had joined the team in Tucson, Ariz., for training camp.
“I was in doubt about what was going on with me, but I’m really excited to be with the Sounders and I hope I can bring good things to the team,” Pappa said. “I’m really excited about the new challenge for my career. Seattle has great fans and they give a lot of support and that’s very important as a player.”
Pappa is a two-time MLS All-Star, starting in the 2010 All-Star Game. In his two All-Star seasons, he had seven goals and five assists in 25 games in 2010 and six goals and five assists in 22 games in 2012 before his August transfer to Heerenveen. Overall with Chicago, he had 26 goals and 16 assists in 112 MLS matches.
His two other full seasons were strong too, notching five goals and four assists in 30 matches in 2009 and eight goals and two assists in 29 matches, including a late-season hat trick against Real Salt Lake, in 2011.
“I’m the kind of player who likes to play good football,” Pappa said. “I always think about the team. If I can score, I will and if I can give some assists, I also like to give some assists. I’m going to give 100-percent for sure.”
A fierce competitor in Chicago, Pappa played two years alongside Jalil Anibaba, who was acquired from the Fire in a January trade.
With the Fire, Anibaba saw firsthand how Pappa can impact a team and looks forward to having him again as a teammate in Seattle, knowing that he can add a needed quality to the attack from his favored left side.
“Marco’s the type of player that can play the final ball. He has that extra bit of skill that maybe some guys don’t have. But he’s also a fighter,” Anibaba said. “I think he can bring a lot to this team.”
He also has many former opponents on Seattle’s roster and former Columbus Crew center back Chad Marshall is among those who are glad to share a locker room with Pappa now.
“We had a lot of battles back with Columbus and Chicago,” Marshall said. “It’s a nice addition. Not only can he score goals, but with his left foot, he’ll create a lot for others. I’m glad to have him on my side.”
Pappa joins a midfield that already features Osvaldo Alonso, Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans, forming a dangerous combination in Seattle's attack.
Seattle is in the midst of training camp in Tucson, Ariz., and will play its first preseason match on Wednesday against the San Jose Earthquakes.