The Sounders have officially announced that Fredy Montero has signed a contract extension and has become the club’s third designated player.
Here’s the release from the club.
And here are some quotes from today’s press conference:
On the signing) “Of course we are very excited today. This young man has been a very important part of our franchise from day one, on and off the field. His production speaks for itself. He’s becoming one of the best players in our league. I think he can be the best player in our league bar none. In the past, Fredy was on loan to us. We, the Sounders, with Major League Soccer have transferred his rights and in conjunction with that have done a long-term contract. As is usual, we are not going to disclose very many details about the contract. He’s certainly earned a raise so he’ll get some more money and we’re happy about that. We would love to have Fredy here in Seattle as long as possible but we also understand that soccer is a sport where there is a lot of movement and it’s not just an American game. The movement is global. The game is global. Again, we communicate very well and very regularly with Fredy and if at any time there is an opportunity that is the right opportunity for Fredy and the right opportunity for the Sounders and the league we will sit down and talk about it like we have in the past. For now, we are very, very happy that Fredy is going to be here for some number of years and we hope he can evolve into a leader for our team as well and help us win more championships.”
On Montero becoming a Designated Player) “There was a change in the rights so that was part of the equation. One of the things we didn’t mention that I think is in the release is that this deal does make Fredy a Designated Player. Again, we are not going to talk very much about the specifics of the contract, maybe the union will release some of that information, sometimes they do. In our world, basically there is a threshold over which a player becomes a designated player and it can be a combination of salary, transfer fee, loan fees and not to be specific about that but certainly that threshold has been crossed with Fredy. The interesting thing for us from a cap management standpoint is that Fredy was actually hitting our salary cap a little bit harder last year as a non- DP than he will be this year, just a small amount because it was the combination of salary and loan.”
On reaching the DP limit) “We now have three Designated Players so that means that we currently cannot go shopping for another Designated Player.”
On how this signing affects other offseason moves) “This will not keep us from signing Kasey [Keller]. We thoroughly anticipate Kasey being back and hopefully we have got some I’s to dot and some T’s to cross to get that finalized. [. . .] We are cap constrained, certainly. [. . .] Probably it would be more of role players, players who can fill in obviously for our losses in [Nathan] Sturgis and Sanna [Nyassi]. We think we have found another good player in O’Brian White who can challenge and fight for minutes on our team. We will keep looking.”
Opening statement — in English) “I just want to say thank you Adrian, thank you Sounders and thanks to all of the fans for supporting me. I’m very happy because this is an honor to be with the Sounders for many years. And I want to win many championships for the team, for my friends, for my family, for everybody who likes the Sounders.”
On staying in Seattle — through interpreter) “I arrived here as a virtual unknown to the Sounders and through the seasons and over the course of many games I have endeared myself to the fans and I love the fans. I am glad that I am going to be able to play a bigger role for the Sounders.”
On younger designated players in MLS — through interpreter) “For us [Montero and Alvaro Fernandez] it’s a great opportunity. We are playing at a very good level and although there are players coming into the league from Europe, the Sounders are relying on us. They are putting their faith in us and I don’t think we need to change it. We need to keep doing what we are doing.”
Meanwhile, we also got some good time with general manager Adrian Hanauer talking about off-season personnel issues and some off-the-pitch issues as well. I’ll be posting those next in a new item above.