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Originally published Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 1:15 PM

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Sounders FC's Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Blaise Nkufo, Steve Zakuani granted green cards

Sounders FC defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, forward Blaise Nkufo and midfielder Steve Zakuani have received their U.S. Green Cards, granting all three players permanent resident status in the United States.

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RENTON — Sounders FC defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, forward Blaise Nkufo and midfielder Steve Zakuani have received their U.S. Green Cards, granting all three players permanent resident status in the United States.

As residents, the Sounders FC players will no longer take an International Player slot on the Major League Soccer club's roster.

Hurtado, 26, a native of Colombia, was a finalist for 2009 MLS Defender of the Year and an MLS All-Star selection. He started nine of the first 10 matches in 2010 before suffering a season-ending injury.

Nkufo, 35, finished as the team's third-leading scorer after arriving at midseason. The former member of the Swiss World Cup team scored the first hat trick in club history Sept. 18 at Columbus.

Zakuani, 22, born in the Congo, ranks second on the club with 14 goals and 10 assists in two MLS seasons. He was a finalist for 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year, and more than doubled his production last year, scoring 10 goals with six assists.

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