Sounders FC refreshed after four-day break
The Sounders' return to practice Monday was greeted with a surprise as servicemen from Joint Base Lewis-McChord visited and participated in a skills competition.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TUKWILA — Making the most of a rare breather, the Sounders spanned the country during a four-day break from practice.
Fredy Montero, Alvaro Fernandez and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado went to Disneyland. Jeff Parke could be found poolside back home in the Philadelphia area. Brad Evans stayed in town to work out.
Whatever the activity, wherever the location, a reprieve from the day-to-day routine was welcomed warmly after the bustle of May.
"You need a break here and there to mentally get away from the game, just enjoy being with family and friends and kind of putting soccer on the back burner," said Parke, who's played every minute since the beginning of April. "It's important that you can kind of recharge, refocus and kind of get a fresh go at it instead of just being on the grind all the time."
Monday's return to practice was a light one as coach Sigi Schmid wanted the players to ease back into action, but it also featured some surprise visitors.
Servicemen from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord 46th Aviation Support Battalion, who had won an intramural soccer tournament on base, were invited guests at the Starfire Sports Campus. Two members, Specialists Alidou Ali and Chino Loredo, participated in a skills competition with the Sounders after practice.
Ali, coach and captain of the undefeated "Bellators," said the unit was very thankful for the opportunity and the support from the Sounders, who gave the visitors commemorative coins and team memorabilia.
"It's so surreal being here and watching them practice. ... I want to play," said a beaming Loredo.
Appreciation cut both ways.
"All our guys realize that there are a lot of facets of life, and we bring a little bit of entertainment to people, but these guys do a tremendous job of protecting our country and the service they give our country is outstanding," said Schmid.
• Defender Daniel Steres has joined the team after being acquired in last week's waiver draft. While the Sounders own his MLS rights, the 21-year-old still has to earn a roster spot. "I know ... nothing is given," said Steres, who trained with the team earlier this year. "It's an opportunity and I have to make what I can of it."
• Forward Dawyne Smith, who was also acquired in the waiver draft, was not with the team Monday. Schmid said Smith might be bound to his current team, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the third-division USL Pro, and that the Sounders are looking into the situation.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @joshuamayers