TUKWILA, Wash. — As recently as a week ago, Marcus Hahnemann had basically come to grips with retirement.
After spending most of the past 13 years with some of England’s most decorated clubs and twice making the United States’ World Cup team, the Seattle native said he was more focused on fixing his house’s deck than on stopping shots.
A call from Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer caused the 40-year-old goalkeeper to put those plans on hold.
“It was something we thought slipped through our fingers and gone by the wayside, and all of a sudden it’s happening,” said Hahnemann, who had come close to signing with the Sounders last year. “It didn’t quite make sense. Adrian called me up on Friday and told me to come in and sign some stuff. You’re still not 100-percent sure if it’s going to happen. Everything just fell into place.”
While previous attempts to bring Hahnemann back to his native Seattle got hung up in the league’s allocation process, this time the Sounders were able to find a willing partner to make the deal work. With the league’s roster freeze deadline quickly approaching, the Sounders traded a conditional draft pick to Toronto FC for the top spot in the Allocation Ranking.
“[Toronto FC] could've gotten in the way of this,” Hanauer said. “But it was a good conversation, which was, 'Hey look, Marcus is here in Seattle, not going anywhere else, the guy grew up here, it's his hometown club – seems appropriate for him to end his career here.' And we were willing to make a trade in which obviously they were fine with the overall compensation, and it worked for us as well.”
Although Hanauer admitted that acquiring Hahnemann had a lot to do with his connections to the area, both wanted to make it clear this was not simply a public-relations move.
“Of course I want to play,” Hahnemann said. “I didn’t come here to make up numbers and be in training. That’s not why I’m a goalkeeper. I can tell you it’s not the money Adrian is paying me. I can tell you that for a fact. Adrian did tell me he was a little bit embarrassed what he was offering me. I said whatever is fine. It doesn’t matter. I just want to come out and whatever it is, it’s more than I was making two minutes ago.”
Hahnemann added that he hopes he can stick around for next season, but also acknowledged that a lot of that will depend on how this year goes. For the time being, he seems comfortable with getting back into shape and working up to being Michael Gspurning’s backup.
Gspurning seems just fine with that arrangement, too.
“I think we can have good work together,” said Gspurning, jokingly adding that at 31 years old he also feels much younger now. “Last week, I said every player who can help us is welcome. In this case it’s a goalkeeper, I say the same thing.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.