Stefan Frei reflects on new contract and entering 50th anniversary season with Sounders

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Stefan Frei is poised to continue one of the most distinguished careers in Seattle Sounders history.

The longtime Rave Green backstop inked a new contract late in the 2023 season that will keep him between the posts as the club enters a new era following its 50th anniversary and 2024 move into the new state-of-the-art Longacres training facility.

For Frei, it’s all about helping the club maintain the winning standard that has taken hold over the last decade, which has resulted in a Supporters’ Shield, two MLS Cup titles (four appearances) and a historic Concacaf Champions League title – all of which occurred with Frei in net.

“I've been here now for 10 years and since the moment I arrived here, I felt that pressure of, there's a high standard here,” said Frei at Seattle’s end-of-season media availability at Longacres last week. “At that point it was a lot of US Open Cup trophies and I was excited to hopefully help keep that going and hopefully add some trophies to my own cabinet that way and I could have never imagined what we've been able to achieve in these 10 years."

Now 37 years old, the 2016 MLS Cup MVP was as good as ever in 2023, helping marshal a Sounders defense that conceded just 32 goals, tied for the fewest in MLS with Nashville SC.

Despite a narrow 1-0 loss to LAFC in the Western Conference Semifinals of the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs, Frei said he remains bullish on the club’s future prospects with forthcoming roster additions and the move to Longacres.

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“It gives us a great foundation and I wanted to part of that in the future and keep going,” he said. “Obviously we have an amazing facility coming up and I've had the luxury of going through a transition with Toronto as well, and I saw how much that could change a team. Trust me, players are professionals and they do everything they can, but when you have a state-of-the-art facility, it just adds a little something."

“Again, I wanted to be part of that. So, I'm super happy and I can't wait to get back on the pitch.”

Frei will remain one of the team’s unquestioned leaders, a status that was reinforced late in the 2023 season as he assumed team captain duties. 

Whether he sports the armband next year or not, Frei said he embraces that leadership role, be it on the pitch or mentoring younger players in the locker room.

“I tried to be a little bit more vocal because I realize that younger guys do look up to me," said Frei. And so I choose words wisely and make sure they have a positive impact."

“I'll try to lead any way I can, whether I wear the armband or not is besides the point. Lead by example, try to be the best professional, dedicate everything to becoming better every day and hopefully some young guys that are still green will follow suit.”



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