With only eight players in Seattle Sounders FC training camp with more than a single season with the club the amount of change is dramatic. Brad Evans said today after practice that it was time to make those changes and that he sees a stronger lockerroom because of them.
"Like you said, a bunch of new faces," he said. "Obviously some familiar faces though, guys who you've played with and that everybody knows throughout the league. It was a year that we had to make some changes. To be honest with you it's a better lockerroom right now than it was in the past."
Chemistry on its own does not win games. Plenty of teams have had poor clubhouse environments and won. Others were tight knit and lost. Evans knows that, but sees hope for 2014.
"It doesn't guarantee results, but it might push us through the tough times throughout the season. When we might find ourselves in a little bit of a rut and maybe instead of seven or eight games where we are kind of commiserating we find ourselves lifted after two or three games or something like that. It's a little bit different, a little bit different attitude around here and hopefully that translates into a good result."
Sounders FC lost star power in making those changes. Eddie Johnson, Mauro Rosales, Michael Gspurning, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni are a touch more well known than Kenny Cooper, Marco Pappa, Chad Marshall, Tristan Bowen, Chad Barrett and Stefan Frei.
"You get a certain amount of time with a certain group of players and if you don't win you have to change it. Most of the time it is going to be your star players you try to change. And bring them in [replace them] with well known players from around the league that's just the nature of the game, that's the business part of it. So it kind of is what it is and we did lose some big names and some very good players but I think we've also brought in some great players as well to fill in those shoes," Brad expanded. "I think the group is a little bit stronger."
Evans is now the Captain. He ended the season wearing the armband and will wear it again this season. He knows that how the guys get along is important, but does not ensure success. And he does not know for certain how they will react when they go through an inevitable losing streak.
"I think the lockerroom is extremely important.... Like I said it doesn't guarantee results or anything but you always want to go to a place where you're comfortable and the guys around you their spirits are always lifted. We haven't lost any games yet so it's tough to tell if this group is going to stick together or if it is not," Brad stated, "but the first judgments coming in, this is my first full day of training with the guys, first impressions are that it is a good bunch of guys and a bunch of hardworkers. It doesn't guarantee anything but it might bring us closer in certain situations."
The reboot is underway. In less than four weeks we will begin to answer whether the reboot has cleansed some of last season's errors—or introduced new ones.