Andreas Ivanschitz has known for years that he wanted to play in Major League Soccer at some point in his career. It was just a matter of finding the right fit at the right time.
When he heard of the opportunity to join Sounders FC, Ivanschitz needed a second opinion to confirm that Seattle was the MLS team for him. Thankfully for both him and the club, former Sounders goalkeeper and fellow Austrian Michael Gspurning happens to be a good friend of his.
“He had a great time here, he told me,” Ivanschitz told SoundersFC.com. “The facilities are great, and the team and the coach are great. I spoke with him many times, and he said it would be a very good choice to join the Sounders. It was very important for me to speak with somebody who lived here and played for the club, so that gave me a really good feeling.”
Ivanschitz signed with Sounders FC last week, joining the team with three months remaining in the regular season and most of the CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage still to be played. He arrived in Seattle over the weekend and will train with the full squad for the first time on Wednesday.
Although the idea didn’t come to fruition until this summer, Ivanschitz has been in discussions with Gspurning – as well as Seattle’s technical staff – ever since his final season with 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the German Bundesliga. The 31-year-old midfielder has kept tabs on the Sounders for the last couple of years, just as the club continued to scout him during his two seasons with Spanish side Levante UD.
Ivanschitz, who speaks perfect English, first became interested in MLS during a vacation he took to the United States many years ago.
“My family and I had a great time. So we decided that if we have the possibility of going to America, we should take it,” Ivanschitz said on Monday. “And when the offer came, we said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s try it.’ I heard a lot of good things about the club, the city and the people. So I think it’s a fantastic place for us to live and for me to play soccer.
“It was a dream to come to the U.S. and play in Major League Soccer. I had good times in Greece, Germany and Spain, so I thought it was maybe time to try to get to MLS…I’m very happy that we found a solution. I’m really happy to be here.”
Although he hasn’t played in a competitive match in two months, Ivanschitz stayed fit by training on his own this summer. The attacking midfielder hopes to make his Sounders debut on Sunday, when the Rave Green host Orlando City SC at CenturyLink Field.
“I can’t wait for that moment,” he said. “I need time to settle in of course, but I think it will be a great moment to wear the jersey and play in front of the fans. I can’t wait.”