When Cordell Cato's name appeared on the list of players reporting to Seattle Sounders training camp, hopes were raised that the young Trinidadian might work his way back into the team's plans. But as each day passed without Cato in camp, those hopes slowly faded. At one point, Cato even voiced his frustrations on Twitter.
All who follow me so MLS is set up so if a club releases a play they can still retain his rites and block him from going to another club?— Cordell Cato (@CordellMCato) January 24, 2013
The latest sign that Cato's time with the Sounders may actually be through came from head coach Sigi Schmid's Friday teleconference.
"I think he's probably looking at some options elsewhere, but there are certain things that I'm not quite sure (about)," Schmid said. "Cordell and I had a discussion at the end of the season, so he knew what his situation was. The opportunity to come back and join us in camp was there.
"He didn't really communicate in the period of time he was off. Then he communicated once we had started camp, saying he would like to come in at that stage. We had already made a couple of decisions, and obviously made the decision to trade for Lamar Neagle, so that impacted our abilities to possibly bring him back in. So right now it's a situation where we're not planning to bring him back in, but I don't know exactly where all the formalities lie at this moment."
On one hand, you can appreciate Cato's frustrations. Spending the better part of a year in a new country while riding the bench has to be frustrating, especially for a teenager. It doesn't help matters that MLS's roster rules are a wee bit Byzantine.
At the same time, he never seemed entirely happy here and it doesn't sound like he was bending over backward to get back into the Sounders' good graces. As promising as Cato seemed to be, someone like Neagle seems a much better option.
Hopefully, the Sounders and Cato are able to find a suitable solution for everyone. I'd imagine the Sounders won't be looking to reap a huge haul for his services (maybe a second-round draft pick), but I doubt they are going to let him walk for free.