In 2022, the Seattle Sounders made history as the first MLS club to win the Concacaf Champions League.
As a result of their unprecedented achievement, the Rave Green now have an opportunity to help write the future of North American soccer at the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco.
“I don’t think it’s pressure, it’s just excitement,” said winger Jordan Morris. “It’s potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of us. To go represent MLS at a tournament like this, to be the first team to do that, is something that’s so special. We don’t take it for granted.”
FIFA on Friday announced the draw for the tournament next month. The Sounders will face the winner of the Round One matchup between Auckland City (New Zealand) and Al Ahly SC (Egypt) in the Second Round on Saturday, February 4. The winner of the Round Two matchup will face European giants Real Madrid in the Semifinals on Wednesday, February 8.
While the revelation of the tournament table certainly generated enthusiasm around the squad – Head Coach Brian Schmetzer noted that the team’s WhatsApp thread was filled with excited messages – it only crystalized the team’s mentality heading into the competition
“At the end of the day, we want to compete for a trophy,” said midfielder Cristian Roldan. “We want to beat who’s in front of us. If it’s Auckland or Real Madrid or Flamengo, at the end of the day we want to get to the final. We have to take it game by game. The most important thing for us is win the first game.”
No MLS team has ever participated in the Club World Cup. Every player on the roster is eager to represent Seattle and the Sounders organization in front of a global audience.
“The players themselves are excited for this,” noted Schmetzer at the opening day of preseason. “They love the fact that they have an opportunity to be on a world stage.”
Veteran forward Fredy Montero echoed those sentiments. The 35-year-old striker, who scored the club’s first goal in MLS back in 2009 and recently re-signed for a ninth season in Rave Green, highlighted the importance of representing the Sounders at tournament of this magnitude.
“For those players that can’t play in a World Cup with national teams, this is something that is comparable,” said Montero. “I’m blessed to be part of this team and we are ready to make history once again with this club.”