In today's announcement the Seattle Sounders made it clear that Michael Gspurning (guh-SHPURN-ing) is not replacing Kasey Keller, but instead the team's new goalkeeper. Long having been rumored to sign with the club, Gspurning's signing is finally official. The Austrian earned 3 CAPs with the national team and 96 appearances in the Greek and Austrian top-flights, twice being named an All-Star in Greece.
Sigi Schmid notes his ability to play with the ball at his feet, "We like Michael's background and pedigree. We like his size. He's got good feet so we can play through him and he's very good on crosses, takes good angles and has good hands." For all of Keller's strengths in goal this is a different dimension that can be added to the team.
Gspurning's interest in Seattle came from two paths. The first is the on-field success and participation in multiple tournaments every year. The second, like so many players state, is the fans.
"There are many reasons I want to come to Seattle," said Gspurning. "It is a very good team that plays in many competitions and Seattle has the best fans in Major League Soccer. When I think about the task in the next year, I feel very confident to come over and have the opportunity to be the new number one, and have success with the Sounders."
Seattle now has three keepers on the roster as Gspurning joins Josh Ford and Bryan Meredith.
Full Release Follows;
Sounders FC Signs Austrian Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning
RENTON, WASH. - Seattle Sounders FC has signed Austrian goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, it was announced today. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms were not disclosed. Gspurning will be added to the roster pending receipt of his International Clearance.
Gspurning (pronounced guh-SHPURN-ing), 30, has been capped three times by Austria and played the past four seasons for Skoda Xanthi of Greece's top flight.
"First off, you don't replace Kasey Keller. What you're looking for is a new goalkeeper," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. "We like Michael's background and pedigree. We like his size. He's got good feet so we can play through him and he's very good on crosses, takes good angles and has good hands."
Gspurning has made 96 career appearances in the top leagues in Austria and Greece and was a two-time All-Star in Greece's Super League.
"There are many reasons I want to come to Seattle," said Gspurning. "It is a very good team that plays in many competitions and Seattle has the best fans in Major League Soccer. When I think about the task in the next year, I feel very confident to come over and have the opportunity to be the new number one, and have success with the Sounders.
"I like to keep goal in difficult situations and make saves. With my height I am good at crosses and a solid goalkeeper. I like to push the team in a positive way. I want to help the Sounders and all of my teammates to play better. I can't wait to come over to Seattle."
The six-foot, five-inch Gspurning played his first several seasons in Austria, beginning in Austria Wien's youth system and then DSV Leoben before joining ASKO Pasching of the Austrian Bundesliga in 2004. He was named the best goalkeeper in Austria's First Division (second-highest league) in 2003/04 and had several call-ins to the Austria U-21 National Team.
Gspurning joined Skoda Xanthi in 2007 and became the first-choice keeper, playing 89 matches in his four seasons, including a career-high 29 in 2009/10. He posted 16 shutouts in 26 matches in 2008/09 and currently holds the record in Greece's Super League for the longest road shutout streak at eight games. He was twice honored as the top foreign goalkeeper, playing in both All-Star games.
At Skoda Xanthi, Gspurning earned his first call-in to the Austria National Team. He made his international debut against Turkey in a 2008 friendly and started two World Cup qualifiers the following year, a 2-1 win over Romania and a 1-nil loss to eventual group-winners Serbia.
Gspurning will report to Seattle for preseason training camp in January.
Transaction: Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) - Signed GK Michael Gspurning
Place of Birth: Graz, Austria
Hometown (Citizenship): Graz (Austria)
Last Club: Skoda Xanthi FC (2007-11)
Previous Clubs (chronological): DSV Leoben (2001-04), ASKO Pasching (2004-06)