After the Seattle Sounders announced on Thursday that longtime player Zach Scott would be retiring at the end of the 2016 season, the defender told the media that even though the club just announced it today, he’s known for some time that this would be his last season as a Sounder and professional soccer player. He spoke on how much the organization has changed since he first started playing for the club 15 years ago, what his plans are for the future, and the influence that head coach Brian Schmetzer has had on his career.
On missing the Sounders:
Of course I’ll miss it. It’s been 15 years of my life, yeah I’m gonna miss it. But soccer is always gonna be a part of my life. I’m not retiring from soccer, I might be retiring from professional soccer but soccer will always be a part of my kids and my family and now I’ll get the opportunity to be more a part of their games and coaching them and watching them grow as players.
On how much soccer in Seattle has changed since he started playing:
From a team standpoint, it’s amazing but you always knew that there was that underlying support for soccer in the Northwest. That’s one of my favorite things, just talking to people who have been around since NASL days and watched the team have success, and then disappear for awhile and then watch it struggle through minor leagues and find the joy of being a supporter of the MLS Sounders.
On if he has plans to return to the Sounders organization in a different capacity:
I never closed the door, but right now I don’t see that in my future. I’d love to be part of some of the stuff they’re doing off the field, the Rave Green Foundation and stuff they’re doing on the nonprofit side. I always thought that was pretty cool. The team will always have a special place in my heart, and I’d never not answer a call if they need help.
On what he remembers most about his first days and weeks as a Sounder:
It was a hectic time, I was in a process of graduating from college and going through student teaching and traveling on weekends on Friday after I had gotten done teaching and then coming back at 2 in the morning on Monday and sleeping for 4 hours and then going to a classroom again. That whole process was a very hectic time of my life but something I wouldn’t change at all because I wanted to make the jump so bad, knowing that it was there, especially in Seattle.
On his most memorable match for the Sounders:
Obviously the first [match] was unique because I don’t think any of us as players or any of us in the organization were quite ready for the way that the community embraced the team. Walking out of the tunnel and starting the first game and seeing 30,000+ fans with scarves up and cheering for us was again surreal, because we had on average 2,000-2,500 fans before that down here at Starfire. That definitely sticks in my mind, but every game that I’ve been given the opportunity to take my kids out on the field and kick the ball around, that’s a real joy in my opinion, those are the games that really stick with me.
On what he’ll miss the most about playing for the Sounders:
It’s cliche, but it’s just the guys. It’s a great group of guys. As much as we have turnover from year to year, we always seem to have personalities that are a lot of fun to hang out with. I’ll miss that, the locker room camaraderie, but the next step I’m excited for as well.
On Brian Schmetzer’s influence on his career:
[Schmetzer] has been instrumental in my development, to be frank. All the way from youth soccer on Maui up until now I’ve been blessed with great coaches, and Brian will be the first to tell you that there should never be a focus on the coach. His goal is to get his players ready, but I think when you’ve got a guy like him, who really is a player’s coach, he’s somebody you want to fight and battle for because he’s there for you the entire way. We’ve definitely butted heads in the past, but that’s because we’re very similar, stubborn personalities. I think I appreciate having a coach like that, and I think he appreciates having players like me.