TUKWILA, Wash. — Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei recently became an American citizen, just in time for him to play in Tuesday’s 3-1 win in Colorado, which also happened to be the Fourth of July. The club are helping Frei celebrate his accomplishment with a special halftime “element” during Saturday’s friendly at CenturyLink Field against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Frei said on Friday that even though obtaining citizenship was a “pretty private and special thing,” he’s happy that so many people want to celebrate with him. “I think it shows that there are a lot of people out there that are excited about it too and excited for me.” He said many people have reached out online and in person to commend him, and because “it means something to [fans], so it’s cool to share that with them.”
Many noted that Frei appeared emotional during the national anthem on Tuesday, and he spoke this week about the importance of respect regarding the anthem and the flag. But he said on Friday that it was actually the first match he played after becoming a citizen when it really hit him. “That was the first game where I was able to look at that flag from a different perspective.”
Even though his respect and reverence for the flag was still there in Colorado, he kind of wished he could be celebrating his first Independence Day at a barbecue with family and friends. “But,” he joked, “getting three points was fine. I’ll take that.” Frei might have missed the chance to celebrate the most American holiday in a more traditional manner, but he said he has plenty of time for that. “I’m looking forward to being an American and doing American things.”