After bone marrow ordeal, Seitz returns in fighting shape

FRISCO, Texas – No one would have questioned Chris Seitz for taking a long offseason.

Forced to the sidelines for the final two months of the 2012 campaign after his well-documented bone marrow donation, Seitz was nearing a return to full fitness in mid-November, but the season was over and there was no one to practice with.

Rather than pack it up and wait for January, however, Seitz got to work at the north Dallas-based Michael Johnson Performance Center.

“The thing that I could use that surgery for was as my offseason,” Seitz told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “I had a good five or six weeks until I was fully ready to go, so that’s a good length of time to use to rest your body.

“It’s tough to go from that to then have an extended offseason and it would’ve killed me to just sit there. MJ’s was huge for me. Jonny Wright, our strength and conditioning coach, took me in and we definitely got to work early. I definitely feel like I’m feeling good because of it.”

READ: FCD defender John on track for season opener

And his coach is certainly taking notice of the new and improved Chris Seitz. Despite adding Peruvian national team goalkeeper Raúl Fernández in the offseason, it’s Seitz who has stolen the show. The Maryland graduate dropped nearly ten pounds this off-season and looks in the best shape of his career.

“I’ve been extremely impressed with Chris,” Hyndman told reporters. “I think Chris is having his best year since he left University of Maryland. He’s fit. He’s extremely focused. Everyone on the team can tell you there seems to have been a huge step up in maturity, focus and confidence.”

Though it feels like Seitz has been in the league for quite some time, the reality is that time is still very much on his side. Still just 25 years old, he’s hardly entered his prime as a goalkeeper and judging by this preseason, the best could be yet to come from the man who has backed up Kevin Hartman for the last two years in Frisco.

“It’s definitely been one of those things where it’s been really fun getting back into it,” Seitz said. “Coming back ready to roll was definitely part of my goal to just continue moving and getting better each and every day throughout the preseason.”

READ: U-20 test awaits FCD's Top, young MLS stars

Seitz enters 2013 with his best chance to earn a starting spot since joining FCD. Despite adding a CONMEBOL international in Fernandez, the battle for the No. 1 goalkeeper job on FC Dallas has been the most hotly contested one on the roster this pre-season and a friendly fight that will go all the way to the wire.

“We both come in with an opportunity to prove that we’re the one,” Seitz said. “As a goalkeeper that’s all you can really ask for. We’ve both been sharp and it’s been a good pre-season for both of us. We’re excited and each day we come in and battle.”