We like to avoid clichés. But sometimes stories become clichés because they work. This is one of those times.
We assembled a gift guide for every player and first-team coach on the Seattle Sounders (we even included guys who are still free agents). Let us know what you think.
Seyi Adekoya: Through balls on which to run, and run, and run. No matter what you think of the rest of his game, the kid can run.
Tony Alfaro: A Tedco precision gyroscope. Might help with some of those awkward challenges.
Osvaldo Alonso: Entry into every “Retweet this to enter” contest by Funko. Would be a preferable use of his social-media time.
Will Bruin: A week job-shadowing Sebastian Stan on the set for the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War. We’ll let you figure that out.
Clint Dempsey: The Bass Cat Jaguar, a bass fishing boat capable of reaching 80 mph. He likes fishing.
Tommy Dutra: A boatload of promising young goalkeepers that he can mold into the next generation of expansion draft picks (Tyler Miller, we hardly knew ye).
Brad Evans: An Instant Pot. We know Brad considers himself a bit of a gourmand, but people seem to absolutely love the Instant Pot. It’s quickly becoming a must-have item for any home cook.
Oniel Fisher: More calls from the Jamaican National Team. Despite being in a bench role with limited playing time, he has one of the best attitudes on the team and should be rewarded.
Waylon Francis: A warm welcome.
Stefan Frei: A blissful vacation. If anyone on the Sounders deserves some time off, it’s Stefan. He’s been going virtually nonstop since reporting to USMNT training camp on Jan. 10. That was nearly two full weeks earlier than most of his teammates, but he never seemed bothered.
Aaron Kovar: A smile every once in a while. Look, we get that in the year of the lord 2017 that telling someone to “smile more” is ... problematic. But hear us out. Kovar seems to wear a perma-frown, but we think we know how to fix it: More playing time. He’s gotta earn it, but we hope to see that cultured left foot get an extended run out either here or somewhere else.
Garth Lagerwey: The green light to spend big on a transfer fee. The Sounders don’t seem to see a ton of value in paying massive salaries, which is fine. But if Atlanta United has shown us anything, it’s that opening the coffers on a transfer fee can pay both short- and long-term dividends.
Kelvin Leerdam: The recognition of being the best right back in MLS. We suspect this will be an easy one.
Nicolas Lodeiro: The Hoodie Neck Pillow. This guy has a lot of air miles to log in 2018 with Uruguay in the World Cup and the Sounders in CCL; sometimes you just want to sleep on the plane without everyone saying “Hey, that’s Nico Lodeiro!”
Chad Marshall: Tickets to the Bodyguard Musical. We all know that Chad is a big, big, big fan of Whitney Houston. What better gift could there be?
Zach Mathers: A chance to get onto the field. No, seriously. He was the only player who spent all year on the roster and failed to log a single regular-season minute for the first team. He did, however, lead S2 in scoring.
Bryan Meredith: Another year of not needing to play. We like Bryan, we really do. But if he’s not playing, that probably means Frei is healthy and performing well. This gift comes complete with a La-Z-Boy recliner for the bench and a tablet pre-loaded with Angry Birds.
Jordan Morris: Good health. You thought we were going to say a left foot, didn’t you!?!? Well, we think if Jordy can just stay healthy everything else will take care of itself.
Lamar Neagle: Our eternal love. Also, a nice paycheck from wherever he ends up next (could still be Seattle!)
Gonzalo Pineda: What do you get the man who has everything? Do not say a head coaching job somewhere else — them’s fighting words.
Victor Rodriguez: Stilts. Because he’s not very tall. Get it?
Cristian Roldan: A pizza pass that he can use for free pizza in every city in Washington, even Clark County.
Brian Schmetzer: Five minutes with every Sounders fan around the world. This is actually a gift to us, but we think he might actually enjoy it as long as he can get some of that Santa magic.
Harry Shipp: A freshly stocked refrigerator. As you may know, Harry got married a week after MLS Cup. We assume he’s now on his honeymoon. As anyone who’s left town for a week or more can attest, there’s nothing worse than coming home to an empty fridge or one full of inedible food. Hopefully he plans ahead.
Gustav Svensson: An IKEA gift card. He’s probably going to need some more furniture for year two. Well, that and it’s a cure for Swedish homesickness.
Nouhou: An ‘N’ scale model train, with plenty of room for more passengers to get on board.
Roman Torres: Shirts with images of shirts that have images of his face on them. He’s done meta; we think the next stage is more Escher-esque.
Djimi Traore: A Slip ‘N Slide, so he can relive his “slide tackle everyone” days without hurting himself.
Henry Wingo: A position. Henry was mostly a central midfielder in college, but played both as a right back and winger in his limited MLS minutes. Here’s hoping that he’s allowed to settle in at one spot. Encouraging news for him: there was another youngster whose name rhymes with Ristian Croldan who once had a similar problem...