Montero makes surprise appearance at Sounders practice
Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero stopped by practice Tuesday and expressed fond memories of the club before his expected transfer to Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TUKWILA — There was a surprise visitor at Sounders FC practice Tuesday: forward Fredy Montero, who has been on loan in Colombia since January.
“I just wanted to come by and say hi to my old friends and teammates,” he said in his first interview with local media since November.
In effect, Montero is also in Seattle to say goodbye.
The 25-year-old’s transfer to Sporting Lisbon of Portugal is expected to be completed in the near future, which would put a close to one of the great chapters in Sounders’ history. Montero is the franchise leader in several categories, including goals (47) and assists (34).
While the transfer is yet to be finalized, the expectation in Seattle, Colombia and Portugal is that it will go through. Montero said he is just waiting for it to be official and added a move to Europe would be “my dream coming true. ... I was waiting for this opportunity the past years, and it is here now.”
The feeling is shared by sporting director Chris Henderson, who scouted a young Montero in early 2008, a year before the Sounders first started playing in MLS.
“It’s good when you can see players have a chance to kind of fulfill their dreams,” Henderson said.
Seattle will remain a special place to Montero, even as he looks forward to advancing his career. He said the city is “always going to be my second home,” and his parents will continue to live in the area with other relatives.
Montero’s wife, Alexis, is also due to give birth to their first child here in late October or early November.
The Sounders fans have felt like family, too.
“I just want to thank all of them for their support,” Montero said. “Even when I was in Colombia, they would tweet me and send messages saying they support me no matter where I am.”
Montero, who reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with Sporting Lisbon, has followed the Sounders this season and kept in touch with friends on the team. This is where he said he developed both as a person and a player.
“I’m glad to have my past with this team,” Montero said.
And he’ll continue to be a fan in the future.
“I hope the Sounders can have the MLS Cup,” Montero said. “I know how bad they want it, and hopefully this is the year for them.”
Keller to help USMNT
In another Tuesday surprise, broadcaster Kasey Keller was working as an assistant goalkeepers coach in practice. Keller, Seattle’s goalkeeper and captain from 2009-11, said he has been asked by U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann to coach the position in the CONCACAF Gold Cup starting in the quarterfinals July 20.
U.S. goalkeepers coach Chris Woods left the federation this month for a job with Manchester United.
Keller, who helped coach the U.S. under-20 team earlier this year, said it was an honor to be asked: “I spent a lot of time with the national team and it’s nice to kind of give back a little bit.”
The Sounders will use a replacement broadcaster in the games Keller is forced to miss.
• Forward/midfielder Philip Lund posted on Twitter that he has torn a ligament in his right foot and will be out a “few weeks”.
• The summer transfer window in MLS opened Tuesday. For the next month, teams can sign players from around the world and add them to the active roster. Henderson said “it’s been like every window that opens: It’s really busy and the agents are pumping players your way. We have some guys that we’re looking at. We have some cash available to look for players, and we’re still ... really active, but we’ll see how it plays out.”
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.