Don’t forget about Pat Noonan.
Brought in during the 2010 season, the former New England regular started eight games last year and appeared in 12 overall for the Seattle Sounders last season, notching a goal and an assist.
Injuries hampered Noonan down the stretch, but offseason hip surgery—the same procedure former Sounders DP Freddie Ljungberg underwent—appears to have fixed his problems. The 30-year old forward/midfielder is ready to reclaim his spot on Sigi Schmid’s roster, and MLSsoccer.com’s Andrew Winner caught up with Noonan on Wednesday to talk about his health and expectations for 2011.
MLSsoccer.com: You were in full training today. Is that your first day back?
Noonan: Yeah, I’ve been working my way up to full training and game fitness. I felt good. Three days off helped. We had a good two weeks in Arizona and it feels good to get your legs back.
MLSsoccer.com: How did you feel today?
Noonan: It was much better. Obviously a little rusty the first day back, and you got to get mentally prepared to go to Bradenton. We have four games in a short amount of time, so it’s going to be good training and we have to be sharp. These next couple days are going to be important.
[inline_node:329088]MLSsoccer.com: Describe your injury and the rehabilitation progress.
Noonan: I had a labrum tear in the hip, as well as an impingement. They repaired that labrum and shaved down some of the bone so there wasn’t that impingement. It’s a longer process than I expected or would have hoped, but you can tell week-by-week that it slowly progresses and you get that strength back, and you stop compensating for it.
It’s been about four-and-a-half months and I’m feeling better by the week. But, I was hoping a month ago I’d be at this spot, so you have to be patient.
MLSsoccer.com: Any similarities to the procedure Freddie Ljungberg underwent?
Noonan: Same thing, same doctor. Having talked to him, he said he came back even stronger. He had some hamstring stuff going on and he said that his hamstrings felt stronger and all the muscles around it felt better. I’m looking to get to that same point. It’s good to hear from guys who have had the surgery and have recovered well.
MLSsoccer.com: Did you stick around Seattle during the offseason?
Noonan: Yeah, we were rehabbing here. We have a great staff that takes care of us in the offseason and are here for whatever we need. Dave Tenney was here for fitness and we have our trainers, (Chris) Cornish and Randy (Noteboom), here for the treatment. I was able to be in here every day except the weekends to get the treatment and build the strength. The offseason was spent here, but it was well worth it.
MLSsoccer.com: What do you see for the team this year and what’s the attitude?
Noonan: It’s good. There’s a lot of depth on this team. Guys are chippy, which is a good thing. You want that atmosphere going into the first game of the year so you have already had those games under your belt, and that rivalry where you’re battling for a position. It’s good to have that competitiveness in training every day and I think it’s going to help us to a good start to the season.