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Calum Mallace “ecstatic” to join Sounders

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The club’s newest signing hopes to use his talents as a box-to-box midfielder to add to “quality” Sounders squad

TUKWILA, Wash. — It came as quite a surprise to Seattle Sounders fans as the club announced the last-minute trade with Montreal Impact for midfielder Calum Mallace this week. Sporting director Chris Henderson said on Thursday that it was truly a last minute move, and Mallace himself confirmed it on Friday—mere minutes after he touched down in Seattle. Mallace said he was told “right before the deadline. The technical director in Montreal gave me a call and gave me the news.”

While few are jumping for joy at this trade, Mallace’s first interview with Seattle media on Friday showed a player eager to start over at a new club and impress coaches, teammates, and fans alike. When Mallace got the news, he said “I was ecstatic. What a club, what a city. As soon as I found out the news, I was smiling from ear to ear. I’m just happy to be here.” He had only been to Seattle a couple of times when playing with the Impact, but Mallace said the city has always impressed him and his family. “My dad used to travel here for work all the time, and he says it’s one of his favorite cities in North America.”

Just like Lamar Neagle said earlier this week after he (re-)signed with the Sounders, Mallace has tempered his expectations—but assured that he’ll do all he can to get himself into the Seattle lineup. “I’m here to play, no one likes sitting on the bench or sitting out,” Mallace said. “Obviously this is a high quality team with high quality players. I’m just going to put in the work and see what goes from there.” The chance to play with players like Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris is also big for Mallace, and he hopes to be a boost to a squad he already finds impressive. “Just the whole team in general, they’ve built a quality team from the ground up, I’m excited to be a part of it.”

When Henderson spoke of Mallace on Thursday, he praised the midfielder’s passing ability and strength in the center of the pitch. Mallace agreed with that assessment, saying that he believes his best position to be as a box-to-box midfielder, where he can use his passing ability and strength to stop opposing attacks and kick off counters for his own team. “I think my engine, as I said being a box-to-box midfielder I can get up and down for 90+ minutes per game without a problem,” Mallace said. “With my bigger frame, I like getting stuck in and putting my body around in the midfield and not making it easy for teams in there. And distribution of the ball, I think I have good vision.”

Even though it was clear that the trade was made between the Sounders and Impact, Mallace was pleased about coming to Seattle not only because of the quality of the team, but because he has multiple former teammates and friends here. Harry Shipp, who played just a season in Montreal, was one of the first to know about Mallace’s trade. “I texted [Shipp] right away when I found out. He was really excited, he’s already helping me get settled in here, find a place to live, and things like that.” Mallace is also friends with fellow new arrival Lamar Neagle, who played for the Impact in 2012, the same year Mallace was drafted. “I played with Lamar in Montreal and we’ve kept in touch over the years. It’s good to have a few friends on the team from the start.”