During a panel with reporters for Sounders FC Media Day at CenturyLink Field on Thursday, Sounders FC General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey broke a bit of news about the state of the team.
“We haven’t said this out loud yet, but Nico Lodeiro is going to be our captain this year,” he said. “And to have a person of his extraordinary character and work ethic is something truly meaningful for us as a club, and I think it’s a great reflection of our culture.”
Lagerwey waxed lyrical about the Uruguayan midfielder, speaking at length about how his disposition and temperament as a person surpasses his immense talent on the pitch.
“I want Nico representing the Sounders anywhere in the world, and I’m very, very proud to call him our captain,” added Lagerwey. “The things that he embodies, on and off the field, with his character and his work ethic.
“He’s a great player. There are lots of great players. But Nico’s a great person, and we’re really proud of that. I think that’s a sign of how we’re going to go forward as a club.”
Lagerwey addresses the assembled journalists during Sounders FC Media Day | Charis Wilson
Head Coach Brian Schmetzer remarked that, while there were plenty of viable candidates to assume the captaincy, Lodeiro’s tenure in Seattle made the choice to hand him the armband relatively simple.
“The decision to make him captain is certainly a big one,” said Schmetzer. “I think Nico has the respect of all the players, and it was a fairly easy decision for me to make. He had already been captain on numerous occasions when Ozzie [Alonso] was down… Nico embodies a lot of the qualities that I feel are important to be captain.”
Schmetzer also revealed that the club, based up on the suggestion of Assistant Coach Djimi Traore, allowed the players to vote on the vice-captain, with long-time goalkeeper Stefan Frei receiving the endorsement from his teammates.
Frei speaking to the media after training at CenturyLink Field | Mike Fiechtner
As a player that’s traversed the world playing for some of the biggest clubs in South America and Europe, Lodeiro hopes to imbue some of the lessons he’s learned from great leaders throughout his career.
“I want to be a good leader inside the locker room, inside the field, outside the field, in my life,” said Lodeiro. “I want to show for the young players or senior players my best [attributes]. I don’t have [just] one leader that I admire, I learned from a lot of leaders throughout my career – at Boca, at Corinthians, at Ajax – so I have a lot of experience that I want to show for my team.”
Now that he’s ascended to the role of captain, Lodeiro isn’t likely to rest on his laurels. His time spent in the Pacific Northwest has instilled a great admiration for the community, and he wants that affection to show on the pitch.
“Seattle is my life,” he said. “I am happy here with the fans, with the people. Everywhere people say, ‘Hey Nico, I love you’. This is a good thing for me. I’m very happy here, so I want to show my best because the fans deserve a good team.”