Sounders FC

Chicago defender has Seattle future at UW

A few more months and Brandon Prideaux will switch from red to purple.

On Saturday, Prideaux will be in uniform as a defender with the Chicago Fire in a Major League Soccer match against Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field.

But come January, Prideaux will return to his alma mater as an assistant soccer coach at the University of Washington.

“I’ve been playing 12 years now and it has been a great time,” Prideaux said Thursday in a phone interview. “I’ve had a blast, but it wears on your body a little bit, to be honest with you; and the timing was just right for my family as well. It’s a chance for us to get up to Seattle. Everything just came together and it just made sense. … I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life.”

Prideaux, who is from Renton, was captain of what might be the best team UW ever put on a pitch: the 1996 Huskies, who were the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament before falling in the second round. He was named third-team academic All-America after his senior season in 1997. He got his professional start with the USL Sounders and then moved on MLS in 1999.

He has logged almost 20,000 minutes along the back line with Kansas City, D.C. United, Colorado and Chicago in MLS. He has appeared in seven games this season and started five.

Prideaux already has been part of two MLS Cup championships: with the Wizards in 2000, and with United in 2004. Naturally, the Hollywood ending would involve winning another in his the final MLS season, and he thinks the Eastern Conference-leading Fire (7-3-7) has a chance to make that real.

“We’ve got a good mix of veteran players and up-and-coming players,” Prideaux said. “We’re a good team and excited about the last half of the season. We expect to be in the mix at the end of the year, and we’re looking forward to the playoff run and the playoffs and see if we can win this thing.”

Then he’ll trade his boots for a coaching whistle and begin the next phase of his career under UW head coach Dean Wurzberger, who sees coaching material in his former star.

“He was a captain when he played for me, and that shows you he’s a leader,” Wurzberger said. “He can maintain a high level of play and worry about the affairs of others, which is a hard thing to do for some. He’s very thoughtful about the best interest of the group.”

Once Prideaux starts his new job in January, he said he might also begin rooting for the team he’ll try to help defeat Saturday.

“(The Sounders) are becoming a model franchise,” he said. “It’s a testament to the organization. I’m sure they’ve worked tirelessly to have the success. It’s great for soccer.

“I’m looking forward to getting up there next year and going to some games.”

Montero disputes report

No one needed a translation Thursday as Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero disputed an English newspaper report that quoted him as saying he expects to leave Seattle for Fulham soon: “Incorrecto,” he said.

Then, with the help of a translator, the All-Star rookie said he is happy to be with the Sounders, that he is letting others deal with any other career opportunities, and that his focus is on the current MLS season.

D.C. takes offense

D.C United president Kevin Payne has expressed his unhappiness over comments by Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer questioning the process that awarded the U.S. Open Cup final to RFK Stadium rather than Qwest Field.

Responding in a Washington Post soccer blog, Payne opened by saying he is “surprised and disappointed and offended” by the comments.

He concluded by saying “Adrian doesn’t know what he is talking about (regarding our finances.) … I just think it is a little out of bounds in your first year to throw stones the way they have.”

The Sounders and D.C. United will play the Open Cup final on Sept. 2.

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com

blogs.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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