It would appear that the Mauro Rosales-era with the Seattle Sounders is all but officially over. The Designated Player announced on Twitter that he would be leaving the Sounders. The announcement came just a few hours before the deadline to re-sign players ahead of Phase 1 of Thursday's Re-Entry Draft. Rosales was among five Sounders who were eligible for the draft.
Sad to announce that I'm leaving @SoundersFC Thanks a lot for everything!! Sounders fans you will be always in my heart , love you guys!— Mau Rosales (@mdr7) December 11, 2013
The fates of fellow Re-Entry Draft eligible players Steve Zakuani, Marc Burch, Josh Ford and Blair Gavin remain uncertain.
It was not immediately clear what this means for Rosales' career. He might just be taking his luck with the Re-Entry process or looking for work abroad. The soon-to-be 33-year-old has indicated he'd like to play for at least a couple more years.
Rosales leaves the Sounders having made a significant impact. After joining the team as a mysterious "trialist" before the 2011 season, he wound up breaking into the starting lineup and being arguably the team's best player. Despite playing on a minimum-salary, Rosales led MLS with 13 assists and added five goals. But his season was cut short by a knee injury that kept him from making a playoff appearance and limited him to one appearance in the final four regular-season matches.
That performance earned him a DP contract the following year. Rosales contributed three goals and 13 assists, but again saw his season cut short by injuries.
Rosales still managed to be relatively productive in 2013, but clearly was not the same player he once was. Perhaps in an attempt to limit his exposure to injuries, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid routinely removed him from games around the 70th minute. Although he set MLS career highs in appearances (33), starts (26) and minutes (2,175), he had just four goals and eight assists.
Off the field, Rosales was one of the team's more popular players, constantly making himself available to sign autographs and showing up at charity events. He was also one of the players willing to talk to the media after tough losses.
In a series of Tweets, Rosales made it clear that he will always have a special place in his heart for Seattle, the Sounders and the fans.
Once a Sounder always a Sounder!! I have no words to express my gratitude to all of you ,Thanks a lot! Good bye #10 pic.twitter.com/yZWtMu8jsE— Mau Rosales (@mdr7) December 11, 2013