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Adam Owen is Sounders’ new High Performance Director

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Damian Roden’s successor is another Welshman with European experience.

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Hans Steele / Sounders FC

Just in time to oversee full team training and prepare players for the MLS is Back Tournament, the Seattle Sounders have hired a new High Performance Director. Although it took a bit longer than expected, the Sounders announced the hiring of Adam Owen as the replacement for High Performance Director Damian Roden on Thursday. Owen, who has an impressive resume as a trainer, analyst and coach, will also carry the title of technical advisor.

The search for a new performance was underway when the club announced that Roden would be leaving last August, and coincidentally led them to another experienced professional from Wrexham, Wales, the hometown shared by both Roden and Owen. Adam Owen joins the Sounders with a wealth of experience throughout Europe, as well as a UEFA Pro license and a PhD in Exercise Science from Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1.

Owen’s most recent gig was as Performance Director at Hebei China Fortune Football Club of the Chinese Super League, where he served from May 2018 to August 2019, although he also serves as a “consultant coach educator” with both the English Football Association and the Football Association of Finland. Owen has also previously worked as the Performance Specialist and Fitness Coach for the Wales national team from 2009 to 2018.

Owen started his work as a “Sports Scientist and Fitness Coach” with Celtic FC, where he served from 2003 to 2006. Since then he has taken similar jobs with football clubs from around Europe, working as the Head of Sports Science and Fitness at Sheffield Wednesday from 2006 to 2007, then at Rangers of the Scottish Premier League from 2007 to 2013. He was the Head of Performance and Assistant Manager at Sheffield United from 2013 to 2014, then at Servette FC 1890 of the Swiss Super League from 2014 to 2017 before a spell as head coach of Lechia Gdańsk SA in the Ekstraklasa, Poland’s top-flight, from 2017 to 2018.

Owen’s work in the sport extends beyond coaching. In 2013 he accepted a role as a “Football Science Consultant” with Benfica LAB, Benfica’s effort to integrate technology and data science into fiber of the club. As a researcher with Benfica LAB, Owen has been published rather extensively. He has also written a book, “Football Conditioning: A Modern Scientific Approach.”

According to his LinkedIn page, Owen has been appointed in a “duel-role to oversee the implementation of a coaching science methodology & game model integration within the club.” The systems and methodologies that he develops will be implemented throughout the organization, from the first team to Defiance and the Academy, not only aiming to improve fitness and reduce injuries, but also maximizing performance and potentially helping to improve the development of young players. As Owen put it, “I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to Coach Schmetzer’s staff and helping Sounders players develop at all levels.”