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On Monday Sounders FC announced its signing of English defender Tyrone Mears, who has played in the Barclays Premier League for multiple clubs. Mears caught up with SoundersFC.com to discuss his move to Seattle.


What are your thoughts on joining Sounders FC and coming to play in Seattle?

"I’m really looking forward to this challenge. I’ve seen the support they get. It’s just like English fans, seeing it all the way through, and they pack the home stadium. That is certainly something I was really looking forward to. I also know quite a few players in Seattle. I’ve met them a few times, gotten a chance to play with Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. It’s great to join a really friendly club all the way through. It’s going to be a great experience."


How did you first become involved with the club? What were your impressions of the team and the city when you saw them over the summer?

"I was in LA training with Athletes’ Performance for a couple of weeks. I saw the opportunity to go train with the Seattle Sounders for a couple of weeks, just for fitness, really. And [Head Coach Sigi Schmid] was really looking forward to it. He was really welcoming. All the players were great; they couldn’t have been any more welcoming. I got a taste of Seattle. I got to see the training ground, I saw the stadium, and I trained for a week or two with the players. I was really impressed with the quality, because in the UK we don’t really get to see MLS. But I saw the quality in that Seattle team, and I got to see some of the games at the end of the season. So I’m really looking forward to playing in the league. I do have a few friends that play in the league as well, so I’m really excited."


What positions did you play in the past, and where do you see yourself contributing in 2015?

"I’m an attacking right fullback. But I have played left back, right midfield, and even central midfield, so there are quite a few positions that I can slot into. But obviously I am a fullback, so that’s the position I hope to be playing for the coming season."


What are some of the highlights of your 14-year career? How much longer do you hope to play professional soccer?

"I started at Manchester City, had so many great years there. I got to make my debut, which was one of the most memorable things in my life. I played in quite a few Championship Playoffs with Preston North End FC, but we didn’t manage to get promoted to the Premiership. Then I got my move to West Ham United in the Premiership, so that was a massive move. I got to play with Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano at the time. With Derby County FC, I had a great experience in the Premiership. Then I moved to Olympique de Marseille, and obviously it was a team playing in the Champions League. We got to the quarterfinals in UEFA Cup after getting knocked out of the Champions League by the winners, FC Shakhtar Donetsk, so that was a fantastic experience. I probably had my best season in the Premiership with Burnley FC. Unfortunately, we got relegated. But I played every minute of every game that season, and there was a lot of talk about me maybe getting the chance to play for England. I think it was for the World Cup that was coming up. But that didn’t happen. Again, I got to move to a stable club, Bolton Wanderers. I unfortunately broke my leg and we got relegated. So in terms of what’s next for me, it’s about getting my career back on track. I’m 31, but I’ve still got a lot of game time left in me. I expect to play until I’m 36, 37, even 38, because I am a very fit player. My game is about athleticism. I hope I can bring some experience to the younger players in the squad. I know that Seattle is all about looking to push the young players through. It’s good that they have a great mix of very experienced players and also those young players coming through."


How does the fan support in Seattle compare to other clubs you have played for? Is the city’s passion for soccer what makes you most excited about this move?

"It’s crazy because I didn’t know a lot about MLS, but then I saw the Seattle stadium, how packed it was and how positive the fans were all through the game. It was amazing. I think the game I watched, unfortunately the team lost. But throughout the game, the fans were behind the team in a way I had never seen before anywhere in the world. The positivity and the way the fans get behind you is amazing. If you could’ve named one team I would like to play for, it would’ve been Seattle straightaway."

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