Victor Rodriguez’s arrival in Seattle is almost one of happenstance.
Sounders Vice President of Soccer & Sporting Director Chris Henderson was scouting other players in La Liga, and in each instance, Rodriguez was playing. It happened when he was at Elche, Getafe and Sporting Gijón. Every time Henderson saw Rodriguez over the course of two to three years, Henderson became more and more impressed.
“I noticed his technique was good, he kept the ball, he moved in a style I see our team playing in,” said Henderson of Rodriguez, who signed with the Sounders on Wednesday. “He’s comfortable on the ball. He’s not afraid to get between the lines in the little gaps where it’s crowded and you need to be sharp and technique has to be sharp.”
Rodriguez did not need much convincing to come to Seattle. His wife is still in Spain and expecting a child soon, but he is excited for the football atmosphere in Seattle and the opportunity to compete for a title on a yearly basis.
Henderson expects Rodriguez to shore up depth in the attacking midfield in Head Coach Brian Schmetzer’s 4-2-3-1 formation. Rodriguez has played all three positions throughout his nine-year professional career and is comfortable wherever Schmetzer and the coaching staff employ him.
“I consider myself pretty easy on the ball,” Rodriguez said through a translator. “I like to be on the ball and think I can bring forward a lot of assists for the team and hopefully a few goals as well.”
Schmetzer is not trying to rush Rodriguez’s impact on the team. He is more concerned with making sure Rodriguez settles in and acclimates to his new city and new teammates before throwing him into the mixer. Some of team’s Spanish-speakers — Nicolas Lodeiro, Osvaldo Alonso and Roman Torres — have been helping Rodriguez adjust, and Schmetzer knows Rodriguez will be far more valuable in the long run when he feels more comfortable.
“He’s coming into a good squad,” Schmetzer said. “I don’t want to put any undue pressure on him. I want him to grow within the group and see where his strengths are and where we can use him.”
Added Rodriguez: “I’m 28 years old now, which on one side, it helps that I know where my strengths and my weaknesses lie, but at the same time, I’m young enough that I can still improve on those things.”