TUCSON, Ariz. — When former Seattle Sounders High Performance Director Dave Tenney departed midway through the 2017 season, he left behind one final gift to the club for whom he spent nearly a decade working.
Tenney spoke with Sounders brass about a potential replacement for him named Damian Roden, a man with 15 years of experience in the English Premier League, and the Sounders listened.
Roden joins Seattle for the 2018 season most recently from the EPL’s Stoke City where he served as the Head of Sports Science since 2013. But after spending the majority of his life in England, Roden and his family were ready for a change, and Seattle was the perfect fit.
“I came over to the States about 20 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed my experience,” Roden said. “My family had been looking to move for the past two or three seasons to experience a new life, to experience a new league.”
Roden inherits one of the pioneering clubs in sports science anywhere in Major League Soccer and beyond, an effort largely led by his predecessor. Roden is hoping his vast experience working with some of the world’s best soccer players can continue the upstanding tradition that Tenney had helped construct.
“I’ve learned a lot about different types of players,” Roden said. “I’ve yet to learn about the altitude and the heat and all the external factors the players will have to deal with here, but I’ve got good theoretical knowledge. My forte is planning the training week and cycles. Once I get to know the players, I’ll know what the best type of training is for each and every one of them.”
Roden leaving the EPL for MLS, not unlike any major player signing recently, probably doesn’t happen five years ago. The way the league has grown played an immense factor in his excitement and willingness to be a part of it.
“I think it’s a major league now,” he said. “Not that it wasn’t before, but the fact that the coverage is on major television channels overseas speaks volumes…Year over year I’ve seen the standard improve.
“Seattle has a very good reputation worldwide, so it was a simple choice.”