Player Profiles: Ford, Weber & Hahnemann

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Our 2012 Player Profiles will be in reverse order from the nearly 500 votes on the Community Rankings. The three goalkeepers who received the least amount of playing time ranked Nos. 29, 28 and 27.

Backup goalkeepers have the toughest job in all of soccer. It’s a thankless job predicated on the hurry-up-and-wait principle — always be physically and mentally prepared to go into the game, but don’t expect to get much playing time in competitive matches.

Of Seattle Sounders FC’s whopping five goalkeepers on the roster, three saw little to no time for various reasons.

Player Name: Josh Ford National Affiliation: United States
Position: Goalkeeper
Community Rank: 29

MLS (Playoff) Stats: N/A
Non-League Stats:
N/A
Reserve League Stats:
4 matches (4 starts), 360 minutes, 10 goals conceded, 2.50 GAA, 0 shutouts.

Josh Ford was one goalkeeper in Seattle that got hit by the injury bug. Since setting the NCAA Division I record for career shutouts at 50 in 2010, he hasn’t played a competitive match. This season provided a new challenge for him, as he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right knee in preseason, and he didn’t even make a Reserve League appearance until June.

Technical Ability (Handling, Footwork, Shot Stopping): In a word: outstanding. This is likely the reason the Sounders have shown so much patience with Ford. His shot-stopping ability is among the best in the league, and he has a tremendous upside in this regard.

Tactical Understanding (Decision Making): Because goalkeeping is an experience position, Ford’s decision making can only get better with the more games he gets. He was a four-year starter at University of Connecticut, a perennial tournament team, but the jump between college and MLS is always larger than most fans realize.

Leadership: Leadership will also come with experience. Ford has a laid-back personality, so his leadership style may not end up being as vocal as Michael Gspurning’s or Kasey Keller’s.

Physical Skills: See "Technical Ability." Ford’s physical attributes are what make him stand out.

Best Case for 2013: By failing to pick up Weber and Meredith’s contract options, Sounders management has shown that Ford is their goalkeeper for the future. He will spend another season in the No. 3 spot, learning from Gspurning and Hahnemann.

Player Name: Andrew Weber National Affiliation: United States
Position:
Goalkeeper
Community Rank: 28

MLS (Playoff) Stats: 3 matches (3 starts), 225 minutes, 4 goals conceded, 1.60 GAA, 0 shutouts
CONCACAF Champions League Stats:
1 match (1 start), 90 minutes, 1 goal conceded, 1.00 GAA, 0 shutouts
U.S. Open Cup Stats:
1 match (1 start), 90 minutes, 0 goals conceded, 0.00 GAA, 1 shutout
Reserve League Stats:
3 matches (3 starts), 204 minutes, 4 goals conceded, 1.76 GAA, 1 shutout

Signed as a trialist out of training camp in 2012, Weber was somewhat of a wild card pickup for the Sounders. After one year with D.C. United after college, he played three seasons with the Montreal Impact of USL and two with the San Jose Earthquakes. Had it not been for a string of unfortunate luck with injuries, it would have been Weber and not Meredith starting when Gspurning was out injured.

Technical Ability (Handling, Footwork, Shot Stopping): Weber’s experience shows in all that he does, including the way he handles shots. He is calm and calculated in goal.

Tactical Understanding (Decision Making): Weber’s calm also applies to the manner in which he makes decisions. However, he showed some rust in the first match away to the Portland Timbers, particularly in his distribution.

Leadership: Goalkeepers on the bench and injured players, of which Weber was both, are some of the best players to talk to during the season. They have a different perspective on the way things develop, and it benefits the team in the moment and those players moving forward in their careers. He will be better off for a rough 2012 season.

Physical Skills: He may not be the largest of goalkeepers, but the fact that he is on the shorter end of the goalkeeping spectrum has never prevented Weber from making his stamp on a game by stopping shots and commanding his penalty area.

Best Case for 2013: Weber will catch on somewhere. If he doesn’t sign with an MLS or NASL club, he will find a club in a lower league overseas.

Player Name: Marcus Hahnemann National Affiliation: United States
Position: Goalkeeper
Community Rank: 27

MLS (Playoff) Stats: N/A
CONCACAF Champions League Stats:
1 match (1 start), 90 minutes, 1 goal conceded, 1.00 GAA, 0 shutouts
U.S. Open Cup Stats:
N/A
Reserve League Stats:
N/A

Seattle fans have heard this story before: A goalkeeper close to retirement returns to his hometown to finish his career with the Sounders. Unlike Keller, Hahnemann signed late in the season, and he was already semi-retired when general manager Adrian Hanauer came calling. As such, he wasn’t prepared to step in and contribute right away.

Technical Ability (Handling, Footwork, Shot Stopping): During an extended break, technique is the first aspect to recede. It only takes a couple weeks to get the hands back, but it takes a bit longer to get back up to speed in game situations.

Tactical Understanding (Decision Making): With a dozen years of experience in England’s top two divisions, Hahnemann’s thought process is more than adequate for MLS. The main tendency he will have to adjust is his adopted English propensity to launch the ball long out of the back at every opportunity.

Leadership: Again, with his experience, Hahnemann’s voice is already respected in the locker room. He and Gspurning get along well also, and Hahnemann has a way of relating to the younger players with his sense of humor.

Physical Skills: As long as he works off the beers from his first retirement by the time preseason camp opens, Hahnemann will be in fine physical condition come First Kick 2013.

Best Case for 2013: Gspurning is the undisputed starter for 2013, but Hahnemann will find minutes in the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League. If Gspurning gets injured again, the Sounders will have a capable, experienced stand-in.

Yes, we've added another writer. Welcome Liviu to Sounder at Heart.

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