Interview: Brian Schmetzer on the first day of training

Former Seattle Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani will join the club for its preseason trip to Tucson, Ariz., from Jan. 29 to Feb. 8.


Zakuani, 28, has been practicing with the team since late last season, and on Friday head coach Brian Schmetzer said “it’s fair” to say Zakuani is now somewhere between advanced training with the club and playing recreationally.


“I have a very open book with Steve,” Schmetzer said. “You have to put it out of your head, of what he was, and say, ‘Can he be a contributing member to any MLS team?’ He and I are in a good spot. He would tell me if he doesn’t think he can do it anymore, and I would tell him if I didn’t think he could do it anymore.


“We enjoy having him around training because he’s another guy who raises the level,” Schmetzer continued. “We’re just going to see what happens.”


The Sounders selected Zakuani with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, the club’s first in its MLS existence. He had two very productive years to begin his career before a leg injury six games into his third season cost him over 14 months. He then battled injuries for the next two seasons before joining the Portland Timbers in 2014. He made 17 appearances and then retired following the 2014 season at just 26 years old.


Zakuani finished his career with 17 goals and 17 assists in 97 regular-season matches. He has spent the past two years as a Sounders broadcast analyst.

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