The way Sounders FC's three draft picks looked last week, the first week of the team's preseason training camp, the biggest challenge they might have had was getting out of their hotel in the morning in time to catch the shuttle van to Starfire Sports Complex.
Rookies David Estrada, Mike Seamon and Jamel Wallace seemed to blend right into the mix of players competing for roster spots. Seamon won't be in the mix now that he's going back to college at Villanova to finish his education, but he got a good review from coach Sigi Schmid.
The rookies' level of play makes it that much more of a challenge to veterans who are also trying to make the team.
"All the rookies have fit in. They don't stand out in any negative sense at all. Sometimes plays don't come off, but they also make plays as well," Schmid said last week. "From that standpoint, everybody realized, 'Wait a second, there's competition here,' so everybody's putting forth their best foot."
Estrada, a forward from UCLA, is no doubt one of the most fit players on the team and reported to Seattle in very good shape. He had the top mark in the team's "beep" test, a measurement of conditioning in which a player runs a short distance, stops and runs some more, as if in a soccer game. Seamon, an attacking midfielder who perhaps was used to being the go-to guy in college, might have tried too hard in his week with the team to make big plays, but Schmid said he is happy with what he saw. Wallace, from San Diego State, is proving to be a versatile player who got a look at outside defender last Friday in the team's 11-on-11 scrimmage.
© Seattle Times