Sutton brings expansion experience to Impact in 2012

MONTREAL – Greg Sutton knows all the ins and outs of signing with an expansion club. The veteran goalkeeper actually left the Montreal Impact to join Toronto FC when the Reds joined Major League Soccer in 2007.

Now, back with the Impact as the first Canadian player signed to their debut MLS roster for 2012, he is ready to take on another new challenge. 

“I’m excited,” Sutton told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “It’s always fun to be part of the process of an expansion team. These are the types of challenges that keep it interesting.”

Truthfully, Sutton had been hoping to join league’s 19th franchise ever since he was loaned to the Impact by the New York Red Bulls last summer.

“Part of the reason that I accepted the loan was the opportunity to play with the Impact next season,” he explained. 

The ex-Red Bulls player is now looking to use his past experiences as a way to help his new teammates next season.

“I’ve been through this [before] with Toronto,” the 34 year-old said. “This is going to give me the opportunity to help some of the guys with the ups and downs of going through an expansion process. It’s a long season, and we have to make sure that the guys are ready to handle it.”

Having already played with the Impact from 2001 to '06, Sutton admitted that he was happy to rekindle his relationship with the city and the club’s fanbase.

“It’s always been a great place,” he said. “The fan support here has been phenomenal in the past and it will only get better. We’re taking it to the next level.”

Sutton will join up with ‘keepers Donovan Ricketts and Evan Bush and said he was confident that they will a form a good partnership next season, with Ricketts presumed to be the starter after a few dominant, but injury-prone seasons with the LA Galaxy.

“Donovan is a quality keeper,” Sutton said. “Evan is a good, honest, hard-working ‘keeper, and it will be an honor to create a special trio with them.”

Making his transition even easier, the veteran is also very familiar with his coaching staff. Sutton noted that goalkeeper coach Preston Burpo followed a similar career path to his own and leaned on a similar goalkeeping style in his day as well.

Having played alongside Jesse Marsch with the Chicago Fire in 1999 as well, Sutton is confident that the Impact head coach has what it takes to lead his team to success in 2012.  

“I’ve known Jesse for a long time,” the Canadian said. “He’s been in some good coaching atmospheres in the past few years, and he’ll be ready for the challenge.”