Of all the players the Seattle Sounders signed since last season, it's probably safe to say that none of them were happier than Cam Weaver. The product of Kent, who grew up attending Sounders matches and even played a season for them in the USL, seems to have fulfilled what was almost literally a life-long dream when he officially joined the MLS club on Monday.
"I thought about coming here every year since I've been gone," Weaver said. "I've told my agent, I've talked to my wife [also a Pacific Northwest native] and said if we ever have the chance to come back here we would take it. I'm just happy I'm here now."
Prior to this offseason, bringing Weaver to Seattle hadn't really been an option. But coming off his fifth season with the Houston Dynamo in which he played just 709 minutes and was limited to two goals, he was released. Weaver then went unselected in the Re-Entry Draft, essentially clearing the way for him to pick from any team willing to give him a shot.
The Sounders, he says, were his obvious first choice.
"I wanted to give myself every opportunity to play here versus other options," he said. "I turned all of those down for a chance to play here. Whether it was a trial or a contract, I was going to do everything in my power to prove that this is where I wanted to be and where I wanted to play.
"I was going to be here until they basically kicked me out the door and said no chance, you can't come back. And maybe I would have left at that point."
Weaver's love affair with the Sounders started at a relatively young age. One his family friends was former NASL Sounder Billy Crook and one of his earliest soccer memories was of watching the Sounders win the 1995 A-League title at Memorial Stadium.
"That was an important moment in my life where I got to experience the Sounders and soccer atmosphere," Weaver said. "I don't know if that spurred me on the play soccer or not, but it's a very clear memory that I have from early professional Sounders days."
While that may have been the spark, Weaver's soccer career was more of a slow burn. He stopped playing club soccer at a relatively young age, admitting that he was burnt out. After graduating from Kentwood High School, he opted to walk on at Skagit Valley College before transferring to Seattle University and helping the Redhawks win the Division II national title.
Weaver wasn't picked in the MLS SuperDraft and opted to sign with the USL Sounders in 2006, where he promptly led the league scoring. Weaver parlayed his USL success into a three-year stint in Norway's top division where he scored 21 goals in 51 matches before returning to MLS. Although reasonably successful in MLS, he's perhaps best known for being the key component in the trade that sent Chris Wondolowski to the San Jose Earthquakes.
"I've had to claw and dig my way from behind my whole career," Weaver said.
That seems to be a mentality that served him well during his trial with the Sounders.
Although he was seemingly brought in with zero promises, he managed to out stay a host of other players and could now prove to be a useful piece in a larger puzzle.
"He's different than our other forwards in that he's a big target forward more in the mold of when Nate Jaqua was here," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. "He provides that for us. Depending how things go, he could be a valuable player off the bench or to use in other competitions as well."
At least for now, Weaver doesn't seem to be too worried about a role. He's home, after all.
"I'm super excited for the upcoming season," Weaver said. "I love this city. I love this area. I think this club has done great things already and I want to do whatever I can do to help them win championships."