Sounders FC will begin training for its fourth Major League Soccer season today with at least a dozen players who were not with the team last season.
The newest is Cordell Cato, a 19-year-old forward from Trinidad, whose signing was announced Wednesday.
Cato has played for the Trinidad & Tobago U-20 team, the Defence Force FC youth team and with San Juan Jabloteh FC. He trained with the Sounders last summer.
“Cordell provides us speed and versatility, as he can play on the flank and up front,” coach Sigi Schmid said in a release. “He’s a young player with a good future.”
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Cato joins a list of offseason veteran acquisitions, including goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, defenders Marc Burch and Adam Johansson, and midfielder Christian Sivebaek.
Other newcomers are defenders Andrew Duran, Tim Pontius and Wes Feighner, midfielders Jason Banton and Andy Rose, and forwards Abdul Aman and Babayele Sodade, all of whom came into the league in the recent MLS SuperDraft and Supplemental Draft.
The new faces will help fill in for the offseason losses of veteran Sounders such as goalkeeper Kasey Keller and defender Taylor Graham, who retired; forwards Nate Jaqua and Pat Noonan, who were lost in the re-entry draft; defender James Riley, who was taken in the expansion draft; defender Tyson Walk, who was traded; midfielder Erik Friberg, who transferred to Sweden; and midfielder Miguel Montano, whose loan expired.
However, most of the key contributors return from the 2011 club, which went 18-7-9, second best in MLS. Among them are forward Fredy Montero (12 goals); midfielders Mauro Rosales (13 assists), Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez and Brad Evans; and defenders Jeff Parke and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
The health status of midfielder Steve Zakuani (leg) is uncertain going into training camp, but forward O’Brian White (leg) is not expected to be immediately available.
The Sounders open camp this morning with separate sessions for newcomers and veterans at the Seattle Seahawks’ indoor training facility in Renton.
Parke, Evans and Johansson will miss the opening of camp due to commitments with their national teams. They are expected to join the club at then end of the month, when training shifts to Casa Grande, Ariz.
The Sounders’ first competitive game is March 7, at home against Santo Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer