Sounders FC exercises options on 11 players, declines on nine others

Sounders FC made its first moves of the offseason on Wednesday, exercising the contract options on 11 players and declining the options on nine others, including two who have been with the club since its first MLS season in 2009.

Reigning team Defender of the Year and goalkeeper Stefan Frei leads the group of players who saw their options exercised, along with veteran center back Chad Marshall, right back Tyrone Mears and midfielder Lamar Neagle. The club also exercised the options on goalkeeper Charlie Lyon, defenders Oniel Fisher, Damion Lowe, Jimmy Ockford and Dylan Remick, as well as midfielder Aaron Kovar and forward Vic Mansaray.

Ten players were already under contract for 2016: Defenders Brad Evans and Roman Torres, midfielders Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Andreas Ivanschitz and Cristian Roldan and forwards Clint Dempsey, Darwin Jones, Obafemi Martins and Nelson Valdez.

Defenders Zach Scott and Leo Gonzalez were both among the nine players who had their option declined.

Scott, 35, first joined the Sounders during the club’s USL days in 2002 and has appeared in 104 regular season games since the Sounders debuted in MLS in 2009, including 20 last season.

Gonzalez, 35, signed with the Sounders midway through the club’s inaugural season in MLS and has appeared in 137 regular season games over seven seasons in Seattle, including 16 last season.

The club also declined the option on midfielder Marco Pappa, who scored nine goals and added 11 assists over two seasons with the team from 2014-15, as well as Gonzalo Pineda, the 33-year-old Mexican international who joined the club ahead of the 2014 season and has appeared in 56 regular season games in two years in Seattle.

The club also declined the options on goalkeeper Troy Perkins, defender Andres Correa, midfielders Micheal Azira and Thomas and forward Chad Barrett.

Midfielder Andy Rose is currently out of contract for the 2016 season and has been offered a new agreement with the club, as has forward Andy Craven.

“In our league, keeping teams together is a consistent challenge under our roster restraints, and this season is no different,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “These types of decisions are never easy, and conversations with several players are ongoing. As we continue to shape our 2016 roster we’ll have additional announcements to share in the weeks ahead.”

Per Major League Soccer policy, the club has until Thursday, Dec. 10 to re-sign Re-Entry Draft-eligible players, including those players whose contracts were not exercised. The MLS Waiver Draft takes place on Dec. 9, followed by Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft on Dec. 11 and Stage Two on Dec. 17. 

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