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Originally published Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 6:27 PM

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Colombian Miguel Montano thrilled with opportunity to play for Sounders FC

Montano, an 18-year-old Colombian, debuted in Sounders FC training Wednesday at Qwest Field. Montano is signed with the club, pending international clearance. Coach Sigi Schmid said the teenager is more of a prospect to help the team's future.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Not even the cold wind and stinging rain could keep a wide smile off Miguel Montano's face.

The 18-year-old Colombian debuted in Sounders FC training Wednesday at Qwest Field, and he wasn't going to let a cold Pacific Northwest morning ruin his first day.

"The smile you see on my face is the happiness I have coming here to Seattle," Montano said through a translator. "It's a dream come true, and I am so happy to be here so I can't hide the happiness I have right now."

Montano is signed with the club, pending international clearance. Though earlier in the week, Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer said being "on loan" from Quilmes, a second-division club in Argentina, might be the best way to describe the situation.

Coach Sigi Schmid tempered immediate expectations for Montano and said the teenager is more of a prospect to help the team's future.

"We have to give him some time to settle, get his feet on the ground, and we'll see how he comes along," Schmid said. "And if he's ready, he'll play."

Schmid also reiterated a scouting report of the new signing from technical director Chris Henderson, who discovered Montano on a scouting trip to Argentina with Hanauer last month.

Henderson "felt he was skillful, had good pace, strikes the ball very well, seems pretty fluid with his touches and his movements," Schmid said.

Montano will likely be an outside midfielder for Seattle, but could also play forward.

Tall, athletic and with a familiar haircut to soccer fans, it's no surprise that Montano has been compared to Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Real Madrid.

"Ever since I was little, people said I looked like him," Montano said. "But everybody knows that Ronaldo is a unique player. He is one and only."

Montano is the third Colombian on the Sounders FC, and said country mates Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado have been very supportive. Encouragement, he said, has also come from home.

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"My mother has always been my guide through my whole life," Montano said. "Unfortunately, my father passed away when I was young, but my mother has always been there supporting me, telling me to keep my head up and keep pursuing my dreams."

Team makes roster moves

Lamar Neagle, Jamel Wallace, Kevin Souter and Ellis McLoughlin are no longer with the team, as Sounders FC trimmed its roster one week before the start of the MLS regular season.

None of the players were under contract.

"We had to move forward," Schmid said. "We had to cut our squad down a little bit."

Wallace, the team's fourth-round draft pick from San Diego State, and Neagle, along with Seattle trialists Derby Carillo and Tye Perdido, are expected to play for the Kitsap Pumas this season.

Notes

• Sounders FC captain Kasey Keller and two team representatives to the MLS players union, Taylor Graham and James Riley, have left the team to join meetings in Washington D.C., regarding the ongoing labor dispute.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com

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