Central defender Djimi Traore took part in his first training session as an official Sounder today. Afterward he met the media and said after a couple of days of training he should be ready to go … including as early as Saturday if asked.
Here’s some of the transcript (some quotes possibly not perfectly exact to a fairly heavy French accent) of the first local interview with new Sounders central defender:
On how the deal came together: A few week ago I got a phone call from my agent and he talked to me a bit about MLS and things like that. He said it was Seattle, and that was exciting because from Europe I know it is a very great club, you know, and I am so pleased to join the MLS.
On his fitness: I think I need like a few days or something like that. Staff and players help me a lot. I’ve been surprised by the (quality) of the players. I think it’s a great football club and some very great players.
On fitting in with the club: I didn’t know nobody … but during my career I’ve moved a lot and I know it is very important to connect with the people, to talk with the players, especially when you’re a new player because they don’t know me because I’m from Europe. It was easy because I speak English. And some of the (people here) make me feel like I’m home.
Why MLS at this stage of his career: In a few days I will be 33, so yes, I’m not come here to retire. I know that football club never wins MLS for example, so for me it is a target. It’s like I want to be part of the history of that club. I want to be part of the team that wins the first MLS Cup.
On helping younger players: Yes, from my knowledge from my career, from the way I play in Europe, especially in England and France, with my age now, yes, I have to help the young player. Like when I was young, when I played in Liverpool I was so young and the older players helped me a lot. I think it’s one of the reasons Seattle Sounders take me – for my experience – and help with the young players. And I will do it. That kind of thing I would like to do it.
On if he’s ready to play Saturday if called: I’m ready. Just talk to the manager. He knows me. … If I can help the team straight from the first game, why not?
Coach Sigi Schmid didn’t commit to that, however.
“He’s another one right now that we have to make sure of his fitness,” Schmid said. “He just flew in last night from Paris, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t do too much. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. Is he somebody who’s going to start the game against Montreal? Don’t know. Is he going to start the game in Tigres? Don’t know. We have to see. But right now with Ianni out we do think he’s somebody who can definitely get on the field for us. And he also offers us something different, because he’s a left-footed center back.”