The Sounders moved to the Seahawks indoor training facility in Renton today for the first of two fitness-measuring days.
Coach Sigi Schmid seemed pleased with the results.
“What we were most happy with was the overall level from the team,” he said. “As I told the team at the end, last year we had 24 guys go through the fitness test and nine were below the minimum mark that we sort of set. This year I think that we had 31 guys go through the fitness, and five of them were minimum mark and of those five were rookies.
“So we’re really pleased with the overall level of fitness. Some guys made some good jumps. We’re pleased that our overall base level of fitness is higher than it was last year.”
Schmid liked not only his team’s fitness level, but also what it implies.
“You see how much work the guys put in during the off-season,” he said. “You see it in the testing phase. … I think there’s a different level of commitment, which is something that we talked about. But it doesn’t matter what you talk about, it’s what they internalize and what they do. And you see them starting to put those things into action.”
Newcomer O’Brian White also showed that sometimes players can impress beyond what the mere numbers show.
“To be very honest, we didn’t expect O’Brian White to do as well in the fitness test as he did,” Schmid said. “And to be very candid I don’t know if he’s that fit. But it showed a tremendous mentality. Today I was talking to somebody and he was saying, ‘Well, it’s hard to predict who’s going to make it when you draft guys.’ And I said, ‘You know, talent is never the reason they don’t make it. It all deals with heart and mentality and can they think the game.’ … He showed me a lot of heart and a lot of mentality, and I was really happy with that.”
Finally, we also got a bit of clarification on the status of Taylor Graham. He is dealing with a calf injury, but is expected to be ready to go next week in Arizona.